I purchased this book at Thomas Hardy's Cottage in Dorset, which was the inspiration and location for Tranter Dewey's cottage. I love Thomas Hardy's work, in particular his descriptions and understanding the countryside around him. The man at the cottage kiosk where I bought this book from said it was Hardy's most optimistic piece of work and he's not wrong.
The novel begins with the news that the church choir made up of musicians from the village is to be replaced by a spanking new organ. This causes unrest from the colourful villagers. The main part of the novel though is almost like a romantic comedy as young Dick Dewey falls for a flirty teacher called Fancy Day (surely one of the best literary names ever?!) Dick is not the only one after Fancy though and a humorous relationship plays out between them - as well as a couple of Fancy's other suitors!
Under The Greenwood Tree is a light-hearted look at village life and romance which fans of Stella Gibbons will love. Hurrah a Hardy novel that does not make you feel depressed!