Monday, 6 October 2008

A happy ending



How many of you watched "Tess" last night? How many of you watched "Tess" last night knowing the inevitable outcome and still wishing for a happy ending? I watched in spite of myself. hoping that the ending I'd read and seen before had been untrue that somehow the Beeb would magic up the ending that we all wanted ... I cry at most things and my family have got use to watching me blub just as my parents use to watch me sob at the end of every episode of "The Waltons" or "Little House on the Prairie". I now have another crying partner - Big Sister. We sat watching as the bleak inevitable heartbreaking ending unfurled and crumpled. An hour later when I went to bed still thinking of "what might have been" Big Sister was still crying in her bed. Some stories just haunt you, I don't think that crying is a bad thing. I don't think that reading stories that don't have the happy ending is a bad thing. Some of the most beautiful books I have ever read have not ended the way that the romantic in me wanted and perhaps that's what makes them so beautiful and great and haunting.



I was lucky enough to find another copy of this book this weekend. This was one of the first Persephone books I read and I wrote about it here. Again this book haunts me, it is harrowing, achingly sad and yet gripping from start to finish. Even Mr Ragged Roses has agreed to dip his toes into Persephone waters by agreeing to read this one. If you would like to win this copy of the book, please let me know and leave a comment. It is a secondhand copy but still in good condition. I shall put names into a hat, I think a pretty, frivolous bonnet would be best to add some levity to the matter.


The Persephone book I am reading at the moment "The Fortnight in September" (which I did intend to finish in September) will I hope provide me with a good gentle happy ending. I am really loving this book (look at the dahlias on the endpapers and bookmark, aren't they delicious). It seems to be so lovingly written, telling the story of a family off on their annual fortnight's holiday to Bognor Regis on the coast. I am lost in the details and descriptions and go to bed each night reading of beach huts, ginger ale, walks on the Downs, ordinary people living ordinary lives, nothing dramatic but very entertaining. There's only so much blubbing this girl can take!

62 comments:

Heidi said...

Well thank goodness that I was not the only one reduced to tears! I never read "Tess" but know that Hardy's novels are always full of sadness. So I boohoo'd with you and Big Sister!

I would love to enter your drawing as I do not have that book. The book "The Fortnight in September" sounds really good too. I like books that tell of ordinary things and people which make them then seem unordinary.

Hugs ~
Heidi

MelMel said...

Even tho i have read the book, i think the way the actors played the parts made it....when she said to Angel.....I've murdered him and now we can be together....i burst into tears...its the innocence of Tess brought to life so wonderfully that made it so real.
Angel at the end waiting for the black flag to go up....tragic!
May have to buy the DVD.....xxx

Pondside said...

You're definitly not alone in the crying room when it comes to sad movies - no matter that I know the ending, I still cry too.
I'd like to enter your draw. Ever since reading about the Persephone books on your blog I've been badgering the bookstores over here to carry them - alas, no luck so far.

Gingham and Flowers said...

I have to admit that we watched the first episode of Tess and were so depressed by the end of it that we decided it just wasn't good Sunday night viewing when we tend to feel a bit 'Sundayish' as we call it, anyway, and need cheering up. So we resolved not to watch any further episodes. I'm sure I would have been crying anyway. Would love to win a copy of the book. I love Persephone.

MaryPoppins said...

Ohoo yes I love a good cry and would to do into the draw please :)
I have bought The Diary Of A Provincial Lady it has the most beautiful CK cover, have you read it, I have been meaning to begin reading it for a couple of days now, though i have been flittering from one thing to another and have yet to curl up with a cup of tea and delve into the deightful pages :) X

MrsL said...

I saw teh first Tess, but mised the subsequent ones; I haven't read the book, about the only Hardy I haven't read, so need to get a shake on and find out what happens, although all your comments don't auger well :(
I was recently loaned the Home-maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher, which I had already read, but read most fo again, and enjoyed it. Grim in parts, though. It's a Persephone one; I really must look out for some more.

Enjoying your blog, by the way.

MrsL

A Time for Stitching said...

I only watched the first episode of Tess but somehow missed the rest and I have the book in my pile of yet-to-read books. Please enter me in your draw. I've heard so much about Persephone books in blogland and would love to try one for myself.

thriftymrs said...

I couldn't bring myself to watch Tess. Everytime I have read that book it makes me sob out loud. The worst was when I sobbed the whole way from Ely to Cambridge with a trainful of people looking at me.

Beautiful flowers by the way.

April said...

I'm terrible for blubbing over books and films - hubby despairs of me and c has started doing it too! I loved Tess!

Please enter me in your draw

April xx

driftwood said...

I couldn't watch it, I knew it would make me cry....

mary said...

I'd love to enter your draw; William is the Persephone book I've been most wanting to read - as they're a bit expensive, I try to pick them up at Oxfam shops but haven't found any for ages (and the frustrating thing, of course, is that the lovely bookmark is usually missing!).
I've always thought that the tragedy of Tess was that Angel Clare was such a big girl's blouse ... but it's years since I last read it.

Fancy Elastic said...

Ooh, count me in. I love a good cry and I am actually finding time to read at the moment too.

x

Jitterbug said...

Well for me it was a first time seeing Tess after only every reading it whilst helping my son with his GCSE course work two years ago. A boy let me tell you was that a chore!! Trying to get a boy interested in a doomed love affair!! But blub last night I did!

I have not read any of Thomas Hardy's books before Tess and am definitely going to be looking at reading some more of them.
I would also love the opportunity of reading a Persephone books so would appreciate you putting me in the draw - fingers crossed I get pulled out of the hat.

Sal said...

Ooohh Persephone books!
I have 'Miss Pettigrew...' and absolutely loved it!! ;-)

Suzie Sews said...

Oh thats exactly what I did, I watched it and was soooo hoping that it would be a different ending knowing though that it would be so wrong of the adaptation to change it so...Sometimes though a good cry does you good...I did think Tommy Steel must have had a son!!!

Petticoat Lane said...

I have all the episodes taped and intend to retreat to front room on my own during a rainy, cold summer with the fire roaring and watch them all back to back...Obviously finished off with a glass of wine to help ease the pain of the sad ending!!
I'd love to enter your draw please. I also love the sound of 'The Fortnight in September'. I shall add it to my ever growing Christmas List!
Jane. x

Anonymous said...

I just returned from a fantastic holiday in England and fell in love with your country. We did watch one episode of "Tess" while we were over, but missed the rest. I did see that our library carries it so we could watch the remainder although I am not good with depressing movies:(
We also watched part of Larkrise to Candleford and loved it!....now hoping I can find that one here!
Thanks for your lovely blog,
Joanne in Canada

Greentwinsmummy said...

gosh a chance of winning that lovely book! :o)
I only caught the first Tess,its too late for generally exhausted me lol but I am sure one day in the not too distant future I will spend a rainy sunday afternoon curled up with 2 slightly older grown up smalls & we shall all watch it togethr & have a good weep I am sure
x x x x
GTM

Elizabethd said...

Oh dear....boo hoo! It is so hard to know the ending is going to be sad, and yes, it is even sadder than one remembers.
I would love you to enter me for the draw, that sounds an interesting book.

mollycupcakes said...

I'd love to be entered into the prize draw. I'm still reading the wonderful Lovely Bones and I just can't get enough of it. I am a very slow reader but this one justy calls to me at bedtime and I get through a chapter each night. It has made me cry twice but laugh as well. It is a very sad book but also brings home the feeling so of what heaven could be like. I hoe it's like that and we all can choose to sit and watch our loved ones and meet them all again.
Thank you for telling us about it. I also got her other book called Lucky, so I'll be reading that next.
Didn't see Tess but will look out for the book now.
Many hugs,
Catherine x

Primrose Corner said...

Tess of the D'Ubervilles gets me every time. It makes me sad and it makes me angry ... 'cos life has often been like that for women. I've a book of Women's poetry that is guaranteed to make me weep. It's such an appaling waste of human life in a sea of double standards. Please pop my name in your hat just in case - a good cry is good for you sometimes.

aromatic said...

I could not continue watching Tess to the end last night, my emotions were getting the better of me.. I felt intense anger at how she was treated, felt her desperation and oh dear it was far too much for me to cope with and so I switched the televison off.....
I have heard so much about the Persephone books, but have never being able to purchase one. If its okay I would really love to be entered into your draw.

Jane xxx

Andy said...

I love a good cry (I have even been known to cry at adverts!). I missed last night's episode and am planning to watch it on reply tomorrow. I was full of trepidation before the series started as it is one of my most read books, and I often don't like tv adaptations of books as they never match the images I have in my head when reading them. This one was really good though and I am looking forward to getting the hankies out tomorrow night.
Please add me to the hat for the book - I love a good Persephone!
Cathy XX

Amanda said...

I agree that crying can be good - but too much not so good! I think a nice, gentle ending is just what you need :o) I missed Tess and have never read it, even though I have meant to because I remember an English teacher at school (who I respected) mentioning how good it was. Maybe I should get onto finding a copy!

Kitschen Pink said...

Can't bear inevitable unhappy endings. Life is just too tricksy without adding fictional unhappiness! I like a sloppy happy resoundingly joyful happy ever after ending every time - and still I cry! HA! Figure that!
t.xx

twiggypeasticks said...

I watched it thinking exactly the same. I read the book for the first time a couple of months ago. I had a good sniffle and blamed my teary eyes on my cold ;)
Twiggy x

Thimbleanna said...

Ack! You had Tess on TV? I'm so envious!!! I LOVE that story which is precisely why Thomas Hardy's cottage was at the top of our visit list while in England. We came home from our trip and had to buy a version of the movie on DVD!

Charmingdesigns said...

Oh my goodness you have a lovely blog. Your pictures of everything are just breathtaking! I would love to win your book,if you mail to the states. I'll be back!! Laurie

Gina said...

Haven't seen Tess, guess I better put it on the list and grab the tissue box.

kristina said...

Oh yes, please do enter me in the draw! I loved 'Fortnight in September'. As you said, a really nice gentle read. And sometimes a quiet read is just the thing. I was only sorry I didn't think to bring it with us to Aldeburgh in September. It would have been perfect! K x

French Knots said...

I cry at so many things on tv, my shameful secret is that I watch a ghastlyAmerican program called Extreme Makeover, Home Edition where deserving people with falling down houses have a wonderful new home built, it always makes me cry.
I've got Tess taped, all the episdoes, ad am hoping for a bit of peace to watch them, with tissues at the ready!
Would love to be in your draw. x

Cowboys and Custard said...

Oh I wholeheartedly agree.. books or films that moves me to tears and provokes great emotion are simply the best. It is a good thing to be in touch with one's emotions.. One of my heartbreaking books is After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farell.. so heartwrenchingly sad but beautifully written as are all her books.
I am reading an equally sad book these days called "The Outcast' by Sadie Jones.. I will pass it on.
Please can I put my hand up for your Persephone book.. I could do with a good sob!
Dx

Tracy said...

"Tess" and "Jude the Obscure" are my fave Hardy tales...So heartbreakingly sad, but so well written. I hope they show "Tess" on tv here before long...we often to get see all the great English dramas here on telly in Norway. Happy Days ((HUGS))

Country Bliss said...

I missed Tess on Sunday but will watch the repeat on Saturday, obviously with a box of tissues nearby. I'd loved to be entered into your draw I haven't read that book yet.
Yvonne x

Kim McBirnie said...

I watched the first episode of Tess, but having read the book years ago - and being prone to breaking down in front of the TV - I decided not to watch the rest! Did you see the programme on Thomas Hardy the Sunday before it started? Very interesting, I've always loved his poetry best.
I can't believe you're giving books away! Your are braver then me!
Kim xx

Gina said...

I watched Tess too, knowing the ending yet wishing for what might have been. All too sad! I would love to enter your draw - I'm a fan of Persephone books but haven't read that one.

Lavender hearts said...

It's so tragic Tess isn't it? Makes you wonder what Hardy must have gone through to write so many heart-wrenching books! I would love to enter your draw, I'm always looking for new books to read! :-)

meggie said...

I do so love your posts.

The Wilkes Week said...

I love "Tess" In fact I love the story so much I named my fourth child Tess (the name actually means the fourth child) One of my favorite stories.

I also have the Persephone book - "Miss Pettigrew" sitting by my bed waiting for me. I love their books and would love to receive another one!
Leigh Anne @ www.yourhomebasedmom.com

Rhondi said...

Hi Kim
I've never read Tess, but I know that Hardy novels are filled with sadness.
I love to read and would like to read those books you mentioned.
Hope you have a good week.
Hugs, Rhondi

Simone said...

I read 'Tess' and watched it on TV. I was a blubbering mess by the end of it! I must say though that I was rather taken with Alec and didn't much fancy Angel at all! Please count me in for a chance to win the book!

Elizabeth said...

I didn't watch the BBC version of 'Tess of d'Urbervilles', but I love the book and, yes, I find the ending unbearably sad every time I read it.

JackieM said...

Hi Kim, what a lovely giveaway. I'm so glad you mentioned a Fortnight In September when you bought it for a friend a while back as I absolutely loved it. I hate to say this but I studied Tess for A level and it put me off it for life. Sorry! Jackie M x

colleen said...

Couldn't watch Tess. Unbearably sad. You might like to try Mary Webb's "Golden Arrow" if you can get hold of a copy.

Willow said...

I have loved Tess since I studied the book for A Level, many moons ago. It's so very tragic, but so beautifully written at the same time. I thought the actors did a great job - my daughter is now in love with Angel! Lol! I'm new to blogging, so just want to say how much I enjoy yours!
Willow x

Mary-Laure said...

Oh, Tess! It's one of my favorite books!

Un Peu Loufoque said...

I would love to enter your book draw please!!! Thomas Hardy is a real tear jerker, do you like his poetry too? I popped over to say the draw for my give away of christmas goodies on http://glazedexpression.blogspot.com/
is tomorrow so good luck with that!!!!!

Garden Girl said...

Oh dear, I am guilty of crying at EVERYTHING at the moment...best leave me out of your generous giveaway, me thinks! although I am keen to start reading a lot more of the Persephone books. I had one for my birthday and intend to keep going until I can build up a beautiful collection.
I agree with Cowboys- After You'd Gone made me sob and sob...Maggie O Farrel writes a great tear jerker..sniff.x

Sea Angels said...

Hi Kim, you did me a super favour when last you recommended Persephone books, I just love them, everything about them, and if I win the lottery I'm having the lot!!
I would have loved to have seen Tess (no telly) but I would have only cried again, so I'm glad to miss it really.
Hugs Lynn xx

Here, There, Elsewhere... and more said...

Oh, Tess! It's most definately one of my favorite books...
If I'd had the opportunity to watch it, it would most definately have made me cry..:)

Isabelle said...

Well, I think after 50 comments you ought to aim for 100, so this is me starting the next 50.

I meant to watch "Tess" but somehow never felt strong enough. I like happy endings.

BeachysCapeCodCupboard said...

Well now I KNOW I'll have to purchase "Tess" for our collection when it comes out over here! "The Duchess of Duke Street" is next on out "to buy" list, so that's what we'll be watching this fall-winter. =)

Stacey said...

You have such a delightful blog! I have really enjoyed meeting you through your blog. I'm rather new to the UK, and you have added a bright spot! Thank you! I would love to enter your giveaway. Thank you for sharing... and I want to learn more about the books of which you are speaking. Thank Heavens for books! :-) Stacey

Greedy Nan said...

Like many others, I also found the end of 'Tess' extremely moving but in the strangest of ways. I felt a huge lump come into my chest and move upwards towards my throat till I simply couldn't breathe. Tears were streaming down my face without stopping and I sat, almost absolutely broken for about 10 minutes after. I felt dreadful for her and that horrid man just so deserved to die. I wonder if Angel and Tess' sister got together and how happy they would have been.
On a different note, I would be really pleased to win a copy of the book. It sounds just my sort of read.

Shirl said...

Tess was just so, so sad. I'd love to win your beautiful book, so please enter me into your draw ... :0)

Mrs. T. Potts said...

Kim
I've been lurking for a year, but a Persephone book will tempt me out of lurkdom to comment. I have four so far that I had shipped across the pond and they are a delight visually(those endpapers are scrumptious) and to read.Please include me in the drawing. And, I met a "neighbor" only one state away from me from your blog comments. She said something about you and mashed potatoes.
Wendy

summerfete said...

all I could think whilst watching Tess was 'lips'
If I ever have a daughter my fav name for her is Cicely!
Clare x

Alison Boon said...

I remember throwing Mill on the Floss across the room because of the ending, and I am always hoping for a happy ending even when I know it's not going to happy.

dottycookie said...

I'm afraid I wimped out of watching the end of Tess - I read it years and years ago and it was hard enough seeing the story unfold in my head let alone in glorous technicolour. It was a beautiful production though.

I think Persephone could publish shopping lists with those endpapers and I'd still want a shelf full!

Gill at Lucy Locket said...

I missed Tess but I'm sure I would have cried too, sadly I even cry watching X-Factor,when they call their families to tell them they've got through to the live rounds! I'd love to be entered into your draw if it's not too late, I always enjoy your book reviews and this sounds like a good read.

Anonymous said...

Finally finally Milly.. I have got hold of a copy of this book.. this very day! I will start it tonight and hopefully cover the tracks you have already trodden...

Dottie x

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