Thomas Hardy's second published novel, "Under the Greenwood Tree", was published in 1872 by Tinsley Brothers in two volumes bound in green cloth. Like "Desperate Remedies", it was published anonymously, but this time Tinsley recognised the value of the novel and offered Hardy 30 pounds for the copyright. In 1873, the novel was published in the United States by Holt & Williams with Hardy's name.
"Under the Greenwood Tree", set in the small village of Mellstock in Thomas Hardy’s fictional Wessex, is both a love story and a nostalgic study into the disappearance of old traditions and a move towards a more modern way of life. The book is divided into five sections, one for each of the four seasons of the year plus a final concluding section.
"Under the Greenwood Tree" is the story of the romantic entanglement between church musician, Dick Dewey, and the attractive new school mistress, Fancy Day.
A pleasant romantic tale set in the Victorian era, this work is one of Thomas Hardy's most gentle and pastoral novels.