The Mayor of Casterbridge
By Thomas Hardy
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Regarded as a towering figure in nineteenth-century British literature, Thomas Hardy ranks among the most acclaimed of the Victorian realists. Though he achieved more popular success for works such as Far From the Madding Crowd and Tess of the d'Urbervilles, most critics now see The Mayor of Casterbridge as Harding's crowning accomplishment. This novel traces the ascension of Michael Henchard from a hardscrabble manual laborer to a pillar of his community. But will the shameful secret that haunts him come to light and undermine his new-found prominence?