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Main page » Fiction literature » The Hand of Ethelberta by Thomas Hardy

The Hand of Ethelberta by Thomas Hardy


At the beginning of the book, we are told that Ethelberta was raised in humble circumstances but, through her work as a governess, married well at the age of eighteen. Her husband died two weeks after the wedding and, now twenty-one, Ethelberta lives with her mother-in-law, Lady Petherwin. In the three years that have elapsed since the deaths of both her husband and father-in-law, Ethelberta has been treated to foreign travel and further privilege by her benefactress, but restricted from seeing her poor family.
The events of the story concern Ethelberta's career as a famous poetess and storyteller as she struggles to support her family and conceal her secret -- that her father is a butler. Beautiful, clever, and rational, she easily attracts four very persistent suitors (Mr Julian, Mr Neigh, Mr Ladywell, and Lord Mountclere), but is reluctant to give her much-coveted hand.

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Tags: Ethelberta, husband, family, story, concern, Thomas, foreign, travel