I didn't like this book quite as much as Jude the Obscure but it was still quite good. Hardy has such a poetic style to his writing (not at all a surprise, of course) and a lyrical way of describing the English countryside. Everyone is so artistically flawed!
I must add, there are a few twists in the story I never expected; it's hardly predictable. Definitely worth your time.
From Amazon.com: Like Ibsen's THE DOLL HOUSE, TESS speaks to feminist issues that reverberate from Victorian times to today. The heroine, a pretty country lass with spirit and intelligence, falls under the perfidious influence of a randy kinsman from whom only murder can extricate her. The gloom of the English Midlands mirrors the sad history of an essentially good woman struggling against the mores of her time.
A wonderful classic. You'll have to get out your dictionary for some of it! Hardy's style is captivating and your heart will go out to poor Tess and the difficult life she leads. Great character portrayal.