Instead of writing a review of this book, I'd like to provide a few excerpts that particularly had an effect on me. I will offer no context so I don't spoil the story. Instead, here is the text, the simple, unadorned, unanalyzed text, offered in the spirit of a New Critic. It can truly stand on its own.
I should also mention that this book was tragic but beautiful (now that I've read four Hardy novels, I'm not surprised). So yes, I recommend it.
"I don't--know about ghosts," she was saying. "But I do know that our souls can be made to go outside our bodies when we are alive."
"What--really now? And is it so, maidy?" he said.
"A very easy way to feel 'em go," continued Tess, "is to lie on the grass at night, and look straight up at some big bright star; and by fixing your mind upon it you will soon find that you are hundreds and hundreds o' miles away from your body, which you don't seem to want at all."
Her affection for him was now the breath and light of Tess's being: it enveloped her as a photosphere, irradiated her into forgetfulness of her past sorrows, keeping back the gloomy spectres that would persist in their attempts to touch her--doubt, fear, moodiness, care, shame. She knew that they were waiting like wolves just outside the circumscribing light, but she had long spells of power to keep them in hungry subjection there.
They stood, fixed, their baffled hearts looking out of their eyes with a joylessness painful to see. Both seemed to implore something to shelther them from reality.
"Ah--it is my fault!" said Clare.
But he could not get on. Speech was as inexpressive as silence.