Trees, trees, trees. These characters live where there are trees.
Influenced by the French impressionists, the novel is more dreamlike and impressionistic than normal for Hardy. It focuses on the group and not the individual. It lacks the normal urgency and clarity and drive of a Hardy novel and the sense of everything driving relentlessly towards a tragic conclusion. It is perhaps more ironical than normal and everywhere there are trees.
Still, it is a Hardy novel, and well worth reading. Good, but not one of his best. His wry insights into human nature, as always, make you think and see the world anew.