Goodreads Monday: Agnes Grey

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme where we randomly select a book from our Goodreads To Be Read list and share it with the world. It’s been hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners, but I’m not sure if that blog is active anymore. Please enjoy this preview of what I want to read in the future!

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
251 pages
First published in December, 1847

From Goodreads: Drawing heavily from personal experience, Anne Brontë wrote Agnes Grey in an effort to represent the many 19th Century women who worked as governesses and suffered daily abuse as a result of their position.

Having lost the family savings on risky investments, Richard Grey removes himself from family life and suffers a bout of depression. Feeling helpless and frustrated, his youngest daughter, Agnes, applies for a job as a governess to the children of a wealthy, upper-class, English family.

Ecstatic at the thought that she has finally gained control and freedom over her own life, Agnes arrives at the Bloomfield mansion armed with confidence and purpose. The cruelty with which the family treat her however, slowly but surely strips the heroine of all dignity and belief in humanity.

A tale of female bravery in the face of isolation and subjugation, Agnes Grey is a masterpiece claimed by Irish writer, George Moore, to be possessed of all the qualities and style of a Jane Austen title. Its simple prosaic style propels the narrative forward in a gentle yet rhythmic manner which continuously leaves the listener wanting to know more.

Anne Brontë, the somewhat lesser known sister, was in fact the first to finish and publish Agnes Grey under the pseudonym of Acton Bell. Charlotte and Emily followed shortly after with Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.

As Anne passed away from what is now known to be pulmonary tuberculosis at the age of just 29, she only published one further title; The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. As feminist in nature as Agnes Grey, Anne’s brave voice resonates and permeates during one of the most prejudiced and patriarchal times of English history.

I recently read and loved Anne Brontë’s other book, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. It felt so modern and yet like such a product of its time. Anne’s writing is less florid than her sister Charlotte’s, and even though I adore Jane Eyre. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall might just edge it out in the ranks of favorite books. I’ll have to re-read it to see. But in the meantime, I want to read Anne’s other book, Agnes Grey, to get more of her writing.

5 thoughts on “Goodreads Monday: Agnes Grey

  1. I’ve read something from the other sisters, in fact, the books mentioned, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. But I’ve yet to read either of Anne’s books. I’ll add these to the list of classics I’m trying to get to. So many great books were written so long ago.

  2. I agree! There are so many wonderful books from centuries past. I don’t understand it when people say that classics are boring. I know the writing is a bit different in style, but that’s not so hard to get used to, and once you do, there’s a whole new world of stories waiting for you.

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