"The Mayor of Casterbridge" may not be quite as powerful as Hardy's "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" but it's still a classic which deserves to be read. It has a strong plot (although a bit too reliant on coincidences - not unusual for the author) and I really like the symbolism Hardy uses. The characters -the titular character in particular- are complex and interesting. Hardy's prose is beautiful and not too difficult, but you'll have to be able to stomach quite a bit of pessimism. I happen to like a fair share of gloom in my literature, so Hardy is definitely among my favourite 19th century authors. "The Mayor of Casterbridge" didn't disappoint.
Author: Thomas Hardy
Title: The Mayor of Casterbridge
Publisher: OUP, Oxford
Year: 2008 (orig. 1886)
Number of pages: lxi + 364 p.