The Well-Beloved: A Sketch of a Temperament is a novel by Thomas Hardy, serialized in 1892, and published as a book in 1897.
The main setting of the novel, the Isle of Slingers, is based on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, southern England.
Many of Hardy's novels were set in Dorset. The Well Beloved is one of Hardy's last novels. It was first published in three-part serial form in 1892, and then revised and re-published as a book in 1897, after Hardy's last novel Jude the Obscure (1895). The novel tells the story of the sculptor Jocelyn Pierston's search for the ideal woman, through three generations of a Portland family.
A cottage housing what is now Portland Museum, on the Isle of Portland, founded by Marie Stopes, a friend of Hardy and his wife, was an inspiration for the book. The cottage acted as the home of Avice, the novel's heroine.