I have read about a dozen of Hardy's books and this is arguably the worst, but Hardy at his worst is still pretty good. The book is lighter and more of a pot-boiler than would expect, although it is still very much a Hardy work. It explores themes of class, progress, love and the nature of women, so very much a Hardy work, but it feels a little half formed and lighter than normal. The main character is good, but not as interesting as many of Hardy's heroines, but still really well done. The coincidences, while mild for Hardy, somehow feel more objectionable. The main villain of Dare, who is Hardy's attempt at exploring undermotivated villainy does not really come off.
Only for the diehard Hardy fan, however I feel that everyone should be a diehard Hardy fan, so take from that what you want.