am 16. August 1999
The story of a lonely woman caught between love and propriety, self-sacrifice and self-interest, "Two on a Tower" is one of the saddest novels I've read. I kept hoping for a description of a blissful-but-brief interlude for Viviette, but it never materialized. Instead, unhappiness dogged her to the novel's cruel end. Yes, cruel. The final event in the book was an unnecessary stroke. Also, while I usually accept a character's actions, I cannot believe that Viviette NEVER anticipated becoming pregnant. The possibility certainly haunted ME from the moment her secret marriage took place. For all of it's sadness, however, the story is engaging and provides a criticism of the unforgiving social conventions of Hardy's time.