"O delivery my heart from this fearful gloom and loneliness," prays the passionate Eustacia Vye, who detests her life amid the dreary environs of Egdon Heath. With the return of Clym Yeobright from Paris, her escape for the heath and its brooding isolation appears to be at hand. Clym finds in Eustacia the same dark mystery of his native heath, and his irresistible attraction to them both leads to a clash of idealism and realism. Thomas Hardy's timeless tale of a romantic misalliance embodies his view of character as fate and underscores the tragic nature of ordinary human lives. Despite his grim outlook Hardy charms readers with the warmth and vitality of his characters, his loving portraits of the English countryside, and his realistic re-creations of local dialect. Shakespearean in its intricate plotting and deft irony, The Return of the Native ranks among the author's greatest works.