I'm 50 pages into Tess and it's not as bad as I had feared. Not a rousing endorsement, I realize, but after two of my closest friends (including you) shuddered and said, "Ugh. The Victorians" when I mentioned this book, I was nervous. The language is a bit thick, but it's actually been a quick read so far. (Which is saying something for me, as I am not that fast of a reader!)
The groundwork is laid: Tess's peasant father stumbles upon a parson who tells him he is actually descended from royalty, but it doesn't do him any good, as there is no land or wealth to inherit, so he's stuck with his lot in life. He only hears the part about "royalty" and decides to party it up, even though, as the parson mentioned, there is nothing of value tied to the line anymore. He seems like a dufus.
Meanwhile, Tess is dancing at some town square May Day-style shindig (there is way more detail about this, but that's the gist of it) and some guy dances with another girl, but then notices Tess with interest on his way out. Perhaps we will see more of him in the future? (I would hope. Otherwise, this is a useless path we've gone down).
Back at the ranch (where "ranch" = "poverty-stricken hovel"), her father is hungover, so Tess and has to drive their cart to market. She leaves the house at 1am and ends up falling asleep at the reins. The resulting accident kills their family's horse and Tess takes full responsibility for the misfortune. Guilt-ridden, she agrees to the plan her father has hatched: visit a distant d'Urberville relation in hopes of ingratiating herself to them and... perhaps get married off to nobility? Tess abhors the idea of this, but wants to make up for killing the horse.
And that's where I've left off.
Huh. More has happened than I realized -- maybe this "writing about books" thing is going to be really good for me!
Meanwhile, I'll tell you right now that I am dreading what is going to happen to Tess. The blurb on the back says she is "victimized by lust, poverty, and hypocrisy" and I'm nervous that "victimized by lust" is a euphemism for "rape." I'm going to be super pissed off at this book if Tess gets raped. Of course, given the Roman Polanski movie connection... yeah. That doesn't bode well.
On a lighter note... I found a Treasure From the Past in this book (I also found one in the last book -- a Post-it note with my full name from high school written on it in a hand I do not recognize as well as "9L". I have no idea what that meant.)
This one is way better than that and Kaesea wants to show it to you:
Hey, Kaesea, let's get a closer look at that -- is that a... boarding pass stub?
Why, yes! It is!
My thoughts when I found this:
"Wow. There's no year on this. Wonder when it's from. But, oh, hey -- it's from 28FEB of that year. That's cool, because I have to have this book done by Feb 28! I wonder where my grandpa was going... looks like probably Detroit Metro to La Guardia. Probably a connection, since he did a lot of overseas travel... Hey... wait a minute... what does that say... ?"
Holy wow. It's difficult to remember a time when people were allowed to smoke on planes, but here's the proof! Nuts, eh?
(It also makes a good bookmark. Don't need bookmarks for Kindle books, but then you also don't find relics from the past wedged in the Kindle, either. Heh.)