Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte: Review

If the Bronte sisters were shoes, Anne would be the pair of sensible black pumps sitting in your closet. While her sisters, Charlotte and Emily, wrote gothic tales with brooding heroes, Anne had both feet firmly on the ground and wrote more realistic stories.

Agnes Grey is the story of a young woman who decides to become a governess after her family loses a lot of money. Agnes sets off, rather naively, with big hopes of influencing her young charges. Instead, she finds herself alone and friendless with a bunch of unmanageable maniacs.

With that experience under her belt, Agnes moves on to a family with two teenaged daughters. Though the experience is somewhat different, the girls give her a hard time in their own unique ways. Rosalie flirts shamelessly with every man who walks by, including the curate Mr Weston who Agnes has an eye on herself.

From what I read in Governess, Agnes's experience was fairly common and I suspect there is a lot of Anne in Agnes- minus the happy ending. I thought Agnes Grey had a lot of potential but in the end I was disappointed. At times it was rather preachy. I was hoping for a little passion from Agnes but mostly she moped around. She was awkward with the man she is in love with and I was underwhelmed by the ending.

It's really too bad because I had high hopes for Agnes Grey. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is one of my favorite books. You should read that one first. It's not that Agnes Grey doesn't have flashes of brilliance. The writing is superb and beautifully descriptive. It's also a quick read at only about 190 pages.

I read this for my Classic book club and we won't be discussing the end until next week. I'm curious as to what the rest of the group will make of it.

I read the free download from Girlebooks on my ebook reader.

Recommended for Bronte fans.


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