The Trumpet Major has all Hardy's usual themes, but it is much more satirical than normal for him. Once again people continually make disastrous relationship choices, but this time it is set against the background of the Napoleonic wars. Instead of lamenting these choices, Hardy has more of a tendency to make fun of them than normal for him. The Trumpet Major is a candidate for Hardy's most obscure novel. It doesn't deserve to be that and is middling within the body of his work. It is certainly Hardy light, but of course that is not really all that light.
I found it enjoyable, although it is really for the die hard Hardy fan. Less fanatical readers than myself have several better choices.