The Mayor of Casterbridge might be Hardy's best novel, but Far from the Madding Crowd undoubtedly is the best-known one. Does it not appear on every compulsory reading list in high school? Has it not recently been turned into a film with the most dashing Flemish actor of the moment? Yet it is the charming and compelling female protagonist which has made this book as famous as it is. Young, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene is romantically involved with three very different men, naturally leading to a lot of drama, conflict and heart ache against the backdrop of the beautiful English countryside. The book has often been acknowledged as a proto-feminist text, with countless readers looking up to Bathsheba's bold attempts to break free from society's expectations.