The novel centers around a young woman who struggles to find her place in society. When it is discovered that the low-class Durbeyfield family is in reality the d'Urbervilles, the last of a famous bloodline that dates back hundreds of years, the mother sends her eldest daughter, Tess, to beg money from relations with the obvious desire that Tess wed the rich Mr. d'Urberville. Thus begins a tale of woe in which a wealthy man cruelly mistreats a poor girl. Tess is taken advantage of by Mr. d'Urberville and leaves his house, returning home to have their child, who subsequently dies. Throughout the rest of this fascinating novel, Tess is tormented by guilt at the thought of her impurity and vows to never marry. She is tested when she meets Angel, the clever son of a priest, and falls in love with him. After days of pleading, Tess gives in to Angel and consents to marry him. Angel deserts Tess when he finds the innocent country girl he fell in love with is not so pure.
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