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The Trumpet-Major


Anne Garland, who lives with her widowed mother in a mill owned by Miller Loveday, has three suitors: the local squire's nephew Festus and the miller?s two sons, Robert and John. While Festus? aggressive pursuit deters the young woman from considering him as a husband, the indecisive Anne wavers between light-hearted Bob and gentle, steadfast John. But as their Wessex village prepares for possible invasion by Napoleon's fleet, all find their destinies increasingly tangled with the events of history. The Loveday brothers, one a sailor and one a soldier, must wrestle with their commitments to their country and their feelings for Anne. Lyrical and light-hearted, yet shot through with irony, The Trumpet-Major (1880) is one of Hardy?s most unusual novels and a fascinating tale of love and desire.


Against the larger-than-life backdrop of England's conflict with Napoleon, young Anne Garland is courted by three suitors: the trumpet-major John Loveday, his sailor-brother Bob, and Festus Derriman of the yeomanry cavalry.

For Hardy, the loves and sorrows of ordinary characters are as much the material of history as any record of emperors and generals. The present tale is founded largely on testimony; the external incidents of the plot reproduce the recollections of elders known to Hardy in his childhood. If wholly transcribed, their recollections would have filled a volume thrice the length of The Trumpet-Major.

Instead, Hardy offers a complex weave of historical fact and fiction, a genre of his own that explores the subversive effects of ordinary human desires on systematized versions of history.


The Trumpet-Major is a picturesque tale by Thomas Hardy. The protagonist, Ann Garland who likes men in uniform, is pursued by three suitors in the backdrop of Napoleonic Wars. Harper's New Monthly wrote that its scenes "abound in the picturesque descriptions of scenery and still-life, and the subtle delineations of widely contrasted character and manner, that are the characteristic charms of his style and methods."


Hardy has presented a poignant love-story in "The Trumpet-Major". In the backdrop of Napoleonic Wars, this narrative of desire and sacrifice unfolds and captivates the readers. The female protagonist is being pursued by three suitors. It is the amalgamation of the tug-of-war between them and violence in the background that's unique. Marvellous!

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Tags: picturesque, Trumpet, Major, subtle, delineations, picturesque, Major