Smart and educated, Miss Everdene enchants one man after the other, sheep farmer, well-to-do bachelor, and a broken-hearted young sergeant. She denies her feelings, rejects the safety a marriage would bring and maintains independence in order to keep managing the farm she has saved from ruin. But she is never alone. Hardy lets us know the politics of being a woman in 1870 England through his characters' actions, opinions and privileges. Life, it seems, is never easy, but once in a while it is fun.