The distant cousin, Alec D'Urberville, cannot control himself because of Tess' beauty and he is a constant torment to her throughout the book. In fact, at the end, Tess takes matters into her own hands (a little too late) and the ending is fast and shocking.
I still can get caught up in the description of the countryside and the lifestyle. Some sentences cause me to pause and think. e.g. "It was a typical summer evening in June, the atmosphere being in such delicate equilibrium and so transmissive that inanimate objects seemed endowed with two or three senses, if not five."
Hardy loved this book and many people have also loved it since then. It made a lot of money for him. He had been writing for twenty years at this point. But his first three tries to get "Tess" published in serial form were unsuccessful. Finally, he bowdlerized it and it was accepted.
When the novel was published in three books the next year, the missing parts were replaced.
Once again Hardy gave the book a subtitle that was problematic to the public. "Tess of the D'Urbervilles: a pure woman".