The Return of the Native
by Thomas Hardy
Analysis: Steaminess Rating
Exactly how steamy is this story?
As with most Victorian-era novels, this novel doesn't have a lot of overt sex in it. Those Victorians were all about repression, after all. It's worth nothing, though, that a lot of Victorian novels weren't so much repressing the sex as they were concealing it. So it's there if you know to look for it. Return of the Native definitely has a lot of hints at sex and at scandal. Eustacia's semi-scandalous relationship with Damon, Thomasin's definitely scandalous failed elopement. Basically any time a young man or woman were alone together in this period, alarms went off and lightning bolts struck them from the sky. OK, not really. The morality police that was Victorian society acted that way, though. Which may be part of why Mrs. Yeobright was so upset with her son over his relationship with Eustacia. We get definite hints that these two aren't meeting up to play chess. Eustacia lets him hold her ungloved hand and the two even kiss before they are married, which was mildly scandalous for the Victorian public – even if everyone did it, no one talked about it.