I listened to the Penguin Classics audiobook version of Far From the Maddening Crowd narrated by Olivia Vinall after sampling a few different narrators on iBooks. Narrators really make or break audiobooks. I highly recommend it. I did this a little backward and watched the 2015 version film version of this story before reading the book and enough time had passed that by the time I read the book I’d forgotten some major plot points. So, it all worked out.
Definitely forgot how cringy Boldwood is. YIKES. Bathsheba remains an amazingly complex and flawed heroine and I’m continually surprised how Hardy manages to write women during a time when they were largely presented in one of two tropes. Angel virgin or fallen woman. You’ll be frustrated and at the same time hoping she figures out what the hell she wants in life. If you prefer more perfect heroines, maybe read something else. You might be yelling at the book, but it’s never boring.