A Pair of Blue Eyes describes the love triangle between a young woman and her two suitors. One is the socially inferior, but upwardly striving young man who adores her and connects her with her country past, while the other is the respectable, established, older man who represents London society. The heroine is caught between multiple expectations (those of the men, her parents, and society)and the desires of her own heart, which she does not always seem to know. The story is told lightly, however, never burying the reader with a gloomy shroud (until the very end). This is a good read for someone who enjoys Hardy and wants to sample his early works. This novel is of special interest because of the strong autobiographical parallels between the characters and circumstances of Stephen Smith and Elfride Swancourt and those of Hardy and his first wife Emma Gifford. This was the third of Hardy's novels to be published and the first to bear his name.
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