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Agnes Grey: Illustrated Platinum Edition (Free Audiobook Included)

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How is this book unique? 15 Illustrations are included Short Biography is also included Original & Unabridged Edition Tablet and e-reader formatted Best fiction books of all time One of the best books to read Classic historical fiction books Bestselling Fiction Agnes Grey is the debut novel of English author Anne Brontë (writing under the penname of Acton Bell How is this book unique? 15 Illustrations are included Short Biography is also included Original & Unabridged Edition Tablet and e-reader formatted Best fiction books of all time One of the best books to read Classic historical fiction books Bestselling Fiction Agnes Grey is the debut novel of English author Anne Brontë (writing under the penname of Acton Bell), first published in December 1847, and republished in a second edition in 1850. The novel follows Agnes Grey, a governess, as she works within families of the English gentry. Scholarship and comments by Anne's sister Charlotte Brontë suggest the novel is largely based on Anne Brontë's own experiences as a governess for five years. Like her sister Charlotte's novel Jane Eyre, it addresses what the precarious position of governess entailed and how it affected a young woman. The choice of central character allows Anne to deal with issues of oppression and abuse of women and governesses, isolation and ideas of empathy. An additional theme is the fair treatment of animals. Agnes Grey also mimics some of the stylistic approaches of bildungsromans, employing ideas of personal growth and coming to age, but representing a character who in fact does not gain in virtue. The Irish novelist George Moore praised Agnes Grey as "the most perfect prose narrative in English letters," and went so far as to compare Anne's prose to that of Jane Austen. Modern critics have made more subdued claims admiring Agnes Grey with a less overt praise of Brontë's work than Moore.


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How is this book unique? 15 Illustrations are included Short Biography is also included Original & Unabridged Edition Tablet and e-reader formatted Best fiction books of all time One of the best books to read Classic historical fiction books Bestselling Fiction Agnes Grey is the debut novel of English author Anne Brontë (writing under the penname of Acton Bell How is this book unique? 15 Illustrations are included Short Biography is also included Original & Unabridged Edition Tablet and e-reader formatted Best fiction books of all time One of the best books to read Classic historical fiction books Bestselling Fiction Agnes Grey is the debut novel of English author Anne Brontë (writing under the penname of Acton Bell), first published in December 1847, and republished in a second edition in 1850. The novel follows Agnes Grey, a governess, as she works within families of the English gentry. Scholarship and comments by Anne's sister Charlotte Brontë suggest the novel is largely based on Anne Brontë's own experiences as a governess for five years. Like her sister Charlotte's novel Jane Eyre, it addresses what the precarious position of governess entailed and how it affected a young woman. The choice of central character allows Anne to deal with issues of oppression and abuse of women and governesses, isolation and ideas of empathy. An additional theme is the fair treatment of animals. Agnes Grey also mimics some of the stylistic approaches of bildungsromans, employing ideas of personal growth and coming to age, but representing a character who in fact does not gain in virtue. The Irish novelist George Moore praised Agnes Grey as "the most perfect prose narrative in English letters," and went so far as to compare Anne's prose to that of Jane Austen. Modern critics have made more subdued claims admiring Agnes Grey with a less overt praise of Brontë's work than Moore.

30 review for Agnes Grey: Illustrated Platinum Edition (Free Audiobook Included)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    Out of all Bronte books Agnes Grey is definitely the one that reads as if written by a pastor's daughter. There is just a very familiar quality to it, a mix of self-righteousness, martyrdom and judgment, characteristic of "Christian" romances (yes, I have read a couple back in the day). Not even once during the course of the novel does Agnes make a mistake and therefore she doesn't evolve, change. She is just the most perfectest creature ever who is mistreated by everyone around her. The beginni Out of all Bronte books Agnes Grey is definitely the one that reads as if written by a pastor's daughter. There is just a very familiar quality to it, a mix of self-righteousness, martyrdom and judgment, characteristic of "Christian" romances (yes, I have read a couple back in the day). Not even once during the course of the novel does Agnes make a mistake and therefore she doesn't evolve, change. She is just the most perfectest creature ever who is mistreated by everyone around her. The beginning part of the novel is particularly jarring in this respect - her never-ending complaints about the family she works for as a governess are annoying. Yes, the kids are spoiled and the parents are ignorant, but Agnes herself has absolutely no experience with kids or teaching and in a dire need of Supernanny's advice. The things are not much better once Agnes moves to her second place of employment. Here, of course, everyone is bad too. (Except the love interest, who is a minister, naturally.) It seems to be Agnes' main purpose to observe and document everyone's follies - from her employees' to fellow servants'. I say enough already. In spite of the whiny voice of the main character and continuous moralizing, the novel is not a complete loss however. Anne Brontë's talent for social critic reveals itself in the latter part of the novel. Her portrayal of naughty Murray sisters is delicious. Dare I say, you can hear the voice of Jane Austen in some of the passages? And how about those spoiled kids who act as if they are serial killers in the making? I can't not give the author credit for writing about that. On the other hand, the romance is a bit of a disappointment. It is nothing like twisted and complex relationships in Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. It is a tepid affair, culminating in a "passionate" elbow touching. Oh well, it's not a bad first effort. I know The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is much better.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    In 1847, Charlotte Bronte's novel, Jane Eyre, was published, her sister Emily's, book also , Wuthering Heights and finally the 3rd sister, Anne's, Agnes Grey . The first two became classics, the other one, until recently, almost forgotten. An autobiographical novel with a simple plot. Poor clergyman's daughter, becomes a governess, to rich snobs, in order not to be a burden to her family. The father, Richard, lost his money in a bad investment, his ship didn't come in, it sank, worse yet, he owe In 1847, Charlotte Bronte's novel, Jane Eyre, was published, her sister Emily's, book also , Wuthering Heights and finally the 3rd sister, Anne's, Agnes Grey . The first two became classics, the other one, until recently, almost forgotten. An autobiographical novel with a simple plot. Poor clergyman's daughter, becomes a governess, to rich snobs, in order not to be a burden to her family. The father, Richard, lost his money in a bad investment, his ship didn't come in, it sank, worse yet, he owes money too... Agnes's parents and older sister Mary and she, must struggle to survive. It doesn't help that Richard Grey, goes into a deep, prolonged depression, always brooding, and becomes nearly useless. Growing up Agnes, knows little about the rest of the world, seeing only her relatives and educated by them. Reading was her escape from a dull, secluded life. After much persuasion, (the unthinkable idea) Anne gets permission, to leave home and find work, twenty miles from her house, in Yorkshire, the eighteen- year- old, has secured a position, with the Bloomfield family. Four children, Tom,7, Mary Ann, 6, Fanny, 4 , and Harriet, 2, all brats, the little boy likes torturing captured birds. The invariably kindhearted Miss Grey, is powerless to prevent such cruelties, Mrs. Bloomfield, (doesn't care) and had given her a cold reception, putting Agnes, in her place, as a lowly governess. The new servant quickly becomes disillusioned, the world is a harsh place, indeed. The children disobey her, ridicule Agnes, and teaching them becomes impossible. The father, is never around, can't be bothered. She gets dismissed and returns home, to the drab parsonage, but Agnes will try again, this time seventy miles away, yet another unpleasant experience . The Murray's have older children... two young boys and Rosalie at 16, very pretty, almost a woman but immature and selfish, her tomboyish younger sister, Matilda, she would rather ride her horses, than dress up for dances. Her only happiness is the curate, she Agnes, had met, Edward Weston, while visiting a sick old woman, still the plain looking girl, knows her limitations. Soon silly Rosalie, with much encouragement from her social climbing, callous mother, becomes engaged to a rich, evil, drunkard and barbaric aristocrat, Lord Ashby. The flirtatious Rosalie marries him, at a proper age, but loves another, Agnes had warned her, but was laughed at, just a common servant. It is all about money and social position ! Of course later on she, will greatly regret her choice, you can't sleep with gold, it gives no warmth. A chance meeting with Mr. Edward Weston, a man she , never thought, would see again, months after Agnes, had left her work. ... on a lonely quiet beach, in Scarborough, early in the morning, as the glorious sun rose, the two watching the lovely sight, silently, no words were necessary... they knew what each felt...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    It pains me to only give this three stars, mainly because of the tremendous respect I have for what the three Bronte sisters accomplished in their short lives, and because Anne was overshadowed by her older sisters, Charlotte and Emily. Agnes Grey, the first of Anne's two novels (1847), was overshadowed by Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, also published in 1847. But Agnes Grey did two things: one, it gave us insight into Anne's life, her feelings, because it was partly autobiographical, reflecti It pains me to only give this three stars, mainly because of the tremendous respect I have for what the three Bronte sisters accomplished in their short lives, and because Anne was overshadowed by her older sisters, Charlotte and Emily. Agnes Grey, the first of Anne's two novels (1847), was overshadowed by Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, also published in 1847. But Agnes Grey did two things: one, it gave us insight into Anne's life, her feelings, because it was partly autobiographical, reflecting her experience as a governess for several years; and two, it helped Anne to open up her literary potential which she used to write her second novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. While it is lesser known than her older sister's classic masterpieces, it's quality puts it at the same level of excellence in my opinion. The three sisters, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, died at the ages of 38, 31, and 29. It staggers the mind to think what they may have accomplished if they had lived another 25 or 30 years. But what they did accomplish was literary immortality, all three of them, and for that I say thank you ladies, well done.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    "... for nothing can be taught to any purpose without some little exertion on the part of the learner." So here we are, finding consolation in reading about the reality of schooling in a novel published almost two centuries ago. That quote is true, my dear Agnes alias Anne. And how come we still don't quote you on each curriculum, on each report card, on each test result? Well, that is because you let your governess alter ego discover the other eternal truth as well, known to teachers of all curr "... for nothing can be taught to any purpose without some little exertion on the part of the learner." So here we are, finding consolation in reading about the reality of schooling in a novel published almost two centuries ago. That quote is true, my dear Agnes alias Anne. And how come we still don't quote you on each curriculum, on each report card, on each test result? Well, that is because you let your governess alter ego discover the other eternal truth as well, known to teachers of all curricula: namely that many parents may CLAIM to want to hear the truth about their children, and they may CLAIM to want them to learn and work studiously, but in reality, what they want to hear is praise of their offspring's unique genius, and they also want to be spared the parental effort it takes to instil respect and love of learning in their children - which is contrary to their natural desire to feel superior to the person assigned to take care of the schooling. Being a governess in upper class Victorian England might sound like a completely different work experience when we compare it to being a school teacher in contemporary Sweden, but it is not. Where effort is avoided, and students are indulged to avoid short term tantrums and conflicts, the exact same situation occurs. A teacher trying to commit to a calling, a profession, will always be the first target for self-involved parents without true inclination for genuine education. Targeting the children is too close to self-criticism. What I learned - yet again - from reading Agnes Grey is that human nature is the same over time and space, and that change can only happen on an individual, voluntary level. Parenting matters, more than anything else in the world. The ideas we give our children on how to treat our fellow human beings, and on how to approach the privilege of being educated and well cared for, still make all the difference for their development. Tell students that the teacher is inferior to their parents and should be treated like a servant, and nothing the teacher teaches the students will be judged worth knowing. Tell them, on the other hand, that learning is the magical gate towards a self-determined and independent life, and that the teacher holds the key to the gate, - and the children will be sponges soaking up whatever knowledge they can collect. It is all about the mindset we give our children. On the sidelines of the main social issue - the hardship of young educated women trying to succeed in the teaching profession - Agnes Grey manages to describe another ordeal of vulnerable female characters: the marrying business. One might get the notion that a woman can only choose between Scylla and Charybdis when making her path between the inhumane treatment of governesses and the eternal unhappiness following a conventional loveless marriage. Had the youngest Brontë sister lived longer, she might have found a third path for herself - that of a successful writer. As it is, she remains forever contemporary in her honest and critical assessment of social injustice in her own time, based on firsthand experience and accurate rendering of basic psychological structures in upper class parenting. Is it making me feel hope or despair to realise that there never were any good ol' times? I don't know. I think it makes me feel hope that ANY society, no matter how dysfunctional and discriminating, can occasionally see the rise of brave and independent spirits like Agnes/Anne who dare to speak up for change. To be the change. To say and act on what is true: "... for nothing can be taught to any purpose without some little exertion on the part of the learner."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kalliope

    Having watched recently the film To Walk Invisible, and having also finished not long ago Wuthering Heights, while I was reading this I could not but imagine the two sisters, Emily and Anne, sitting around the same table, either in the dining room or in the kitchen, each leaning over a very small notebook and writing away their novels in silence. Both sharing and not sharing; keeping each other’s company, but also guarding the privacy of their thoughts and their writing from the other sister. And Having watched recently the film To Walk Invisible, and having also finished not long ago Wuthering Heights, while I was reading this I could not but imagine the two sisters, Emily and Anne, sitting around the same table, either in the dining room or in the kitchen, each leaning over a very small notebook and writing away their novels in silence. Both sharing and not sharing; keeping each other’s company, but also guarding the privacy of their thoughts and their writing from the other sister. And I wondered how was it possible that on the same table those two notebooks were filling with such different fiction. How could these two sisters, apparently so similar in character, with the same upbringing and similar experiences, produce such different works. With Emily’s novel made me dread the falling into Hell, while Anne’s account of a governess made me at times wished for a redeeming Hell. Agnes Grey is a governess to her very core. Not one does she lose her, very proper, identity. Even in moments of weakness, she does not doubt for an instance her exemplary view of the world. For even if she is very convincing in her neutrality and perfection--that stands out against the rest of the, always faulty, characters--, the reader can at times question whether things, or people, are as outlandish as she presents them to be. I acknowledge that I felt at times like sticking my tongue out at Agnes in a purifying act of rebellion. May be it was the language, always so composed, so correct, so balanced, so measured, so poised, that made me want to scream, or swear, or run away. There was one moment in which I had some hope. In a scene I felt that finally Agnes could feel some spite. But no, she immediately corrected the suspicion and states that: I derived a secret gratification from the fact, not that she was vexed, but that she thought she had reason to be so. Definitely, no hope, for she continues: It made me think my hopes were not entirely the offspring of my wishes and imagination. This non-novel, is nonetheless an extraordinary account of what a curious creature of a governess, in mid 19C England, was. While reading it was inevitable not to ponder about the restricted world for women, and how at this time they needed to fit in a necessary but also potentially alarming education. The account is also saturated with comments on social differences, which made me wonder how conscious was Anne Brönte of the political dimension of some of her sentences. It was disagreeable to walk behind, and thus appear to acknowledge my own inferiority; for, in truth, I considered myself pretty nearly as good as the best of them, and wished them to know that I did so, and not to imagine that I looked upon myself as a mere domestic, who know her own place to walk beside such fine ladies and gentlemen as they were. . And soon onto The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

  6. 4 out of 5

    Fernando

    Las hermanas Brontë no se caracterizaban por escribir empalagosas historias de amor ni por retratar mujeres ingenuas y tontas sino todo lo contrario: sus personajes son decididos, valientes y tormentosos; enfrentan lo que la vida les depara con determinación aunque estas características no se observan en forma tan marcada en el caso de Agnes Grey. Más allá de que no he leído todos los libros de las Brontë (creo que para cerrar un concepto del ideal bronteano debería leer también La inquilina de W Las hermanas Brontë no se caracterizaban por escribir empalagosas historias de amor ni por retratar mujeres ingenuas y tontas sino todo lo contrario: sus personajes son decididos, valientes y tormentosos; enfrentan lo que la vida les depara con determinación aunque estas características no se observan en forma tan marcada en el caso de Agnes Grey. Más allá de que no he leído todos los libros de las Brontë (creo que para cerrar un concepto del ideal bronteano debería leer también La inquilina de Wildfell Hall y Vilette), si comparo el carácter de Agnes con el de Jane Eyre o Catalina de Cumbres Borrascosas la encuentro más sosegada y renuente al choque o el conflicto. Anne Brontë toma todas sus experiencias como institutriz, casualmente iniciadas a sus jóvenes diecinueve años y las vuelca en este alter ego que es Agnes. Ser la menor de las Brontë se nota en su prosa, puesto que no es tan refinada y elevadamente poética como la de su hermana Charlotte ni tan despojada de sutilezas como las de Emily en Cumbres Borrascosas; aunque ello no quiere decir que sea de menor calidad. La novela está escrita en forma amena y no aburre y aunque es más corta que las otras su argumento es parecido pero distinto al de Jane Eyre (mis disculpas por comparar estos dos libros, pero es que tengo sus lecturas muy frescas en mi cabeza). La historia de Agnes está narrada prácticamente como si fuera un diario y en su corta vida, tan corta como lo fue la de la misma Anne nos relata todo lo sucedido desde la salida de su hogar para ayudar a sus padres luego de un desafortunado evento financiero hasta recalar en las mansiones de dos adineradas familias para las que trabajará como institutriz. Debe sacrificarse para ayudar y está decidida a ello. Hasta ese momento ha sido una chica simple, de su casa. Gris, como su apellido. Pero las nuevas experiencias, golpes y sufrimientos la foguearán rápidamente en la vida. En el caso de su estadía en Wellwood como institutriz de los niños Bloomfield (Tom, Mary Ann, Harriet y Fanny) su situación es terrible. Se encuentra rodeada de cuatro niños crueles y despiadados. Verdaderos monstruos de pesadilla a los que no logra doblegar y que además cuentan con la sobreprotección de una madre despótica y un padre frenético que jamás se opondrán a los caprichos de sus hijos. Sumado a esto, los niños poseen una influencia negativa y violenta que proviene de su tío Robson. Una vez que no puede con su alma para con esta jauría de inadaptados decide volver para probar suerte con otra familia, los Murray, de Horton Lodge y aquí transcurre gran parte de la novela. En este caso no son niños sino dos muchachas adolescentes, malcriadas y de alta alcurnia, Matilda y Rosalie Murray, que luchan por imponer su apellido en la alta sociedad. Toda la familia Murray es así. Y Agnes es arrastrada a obedecer todo tipo de caprichos. En un momento Agnes lo reconoce luego de conocer a Nancy Brown, una viuda casi ciega, que se transforma en su única compañía y a la que visita para aliviar su soledad: "Mis únicos compañeros habían sido niños desagradables e ignorantes niñas testarudas; y la soledad continuada, que me apartaba de aquella agotadora locura, se había convertido en alivio, en algo que deseaba y valoraba intensamente." Agnes peca por momentos de ser demasiado permisiva, sumisa y de poco carácter. Es vapuleada por personas de carácter fuerte y agresivo y todo esto va mellando su espíritu. Pero como no todo en estas novelas son espinas, aparecerá un personaje que le dará motivos para sentirse esperanzada: el vicario Edward Weston con lo que su vida tendrá otro aliciente entre tanta abnegación y esfuerzo. Como comentara previamente, esta novela es mucho más corta que las de sus hermanas y la historia, si bien tiene puntos en común con la de Jane Eyre está muy bien narrada, con personajes a la altura de lo que sucede y un estilo más llano y menos poético que el de Charlotte Brontë pero no por ello menos interesante. He completado una trilogía de novelas bronteanas y de momento no creo que vaya a leer novelas de estas grandes escritoras de momento. Puedo aseverar que las hermanas Brontë son un caso único en la literatura y el hecho de que Cumbres Borrascosas, Jane Eyre y Agnes Grey hayan sido publicados en 1847 marca una maravillosa coincidencia literaria.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sherwood Smith

    My favorite of the Brontes is Anne. This is my favorite of her novels. In this and Jane Eyre, we have governess-eye views of the gentry. In Jane Eyre, Jane manages to make herself central (her suffering in being a governess); in Agnes Grey, there is a meticulous look at the thin veneer of civilization over the soi-disant gentry who have all the money and manner but utterly no moral center. The examination of this family is one of the most effective pieces of quiet horror in literature, I think, b My favorite of the Brontes is Anne. This is my favorite of her novels. In this and Jane Eyre, we have governess-eye views of the gentry. In Jane Eyre, Jane manages to make herself central (her suffering in being a governess); in Agnes Grey, there is a meticulous look at the thin veneer of civilization over the soi-disant gentry who have all the money and manner but utterly no moral center. The examination of this family is one of the most effective pieces of quiet horror in literature, I think, because it resonates as true. Far more effective than Charlotte's madwoman-in-the-attic histrionics. (Though those, too, smack of reality . . . but not a reality known to Charlotte. I blame Byronic fanfiction for that, as well as for Emily's oeuvre, and Anne's own Tenant) Rereading for a book group: again, it strikes me how very good Anne was at observations of human behavior, though a sense of Anne is difficult to find. Agnes Grey is nearly invisible, quite a contrast to Charlotte's books, which convey a powerful sense of Charlotte front and center. (And Emily was different from both, writing straight from the id vortex)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    4.5 stars I’ve been conscious for a while of not having read anything by Anne Bronte and decided it was time to remedy that. This is Anne Bronte’s first novel and has the reputation of being not as good as the second; however I certainly felt that it had its strengths. The story is straightforward; Agnes Grey is the daughter of a clergyman whose family finds itself is straightened circumstances. Agnes decides she must contribute to the family finances and takes a post of a governess. There is an 4.5 stars I’ve been conscious for a while of not having read anything by Anne Bronte and decided it was time to remedy that. This is Anne Bronte’s first novel and has the reputation of being not as good as the second; however I certainly felt that it had its strengths. The story is straightforward; Agnes Grey is the daughter of a clergyman whose family finds itself is straightened circumstances. Agnes decides she must contribute to the family finances and takes a post of a governess. There is an account of her time as a governess in two families. The account paints a fairly bleak picture of life as a governess and of the role of women of a certain class. This is certainly based on Anne’s own experience, apart from the romance at the end. Anne Bronte has always been seen as a lesser writer than her two sisters; this isn’t my impression. Agnes Grey is a strong minded woman, who very much has a sense of independence, “to go out into the world; to act for myself; to exercise my unused faculties; to try my own unknown powers; to earn my own maintenance”. At the end of the novel when she marries Weston the usual Victorian formula would be that he is rescuing her and providing her with hearth and home. The more perceptive reader will realise that he is not rescuing her, but she is rescuing him. Agnes can be very self-effacing at times and her piety I found somewhat irritating, but she is a much stronger character than many Victorian heroines. . The nature of work that women of Agnes’s type have to do is portrayed as thankless and degrading with cruel employers and children whom are ungovernable and with no respect to someone they treat as a servant. I think Anne’s portrayal of men is very much different to her sisters. There are no smouldering Byronic heroes like Rochester and Heathcliffe. Most of the men are shallow and self-absorbed. Her idea of a leading man is also different; Weston is not heroic or good-looking. He is serious, bookish, kind with obvious faults and vulnerabilities; very unlike the men her sisters created. This makes her books less easy to film; producers like strong male leads! I was surprised to find that Anne Bronte is much more radical than her sisters. She is concerned about the rights and working conditions of women who work in virtual slavery in domestic service and portrays the upper and moneyed classes who employ them as cruel and unscrupulous. Shades of a socialist and feminist approach to life and no swooning over emotionally stunted heroes. Agnes Grey does not need Weston at the end of the book; she is running a school with her mother and they are independent. It is a positive choice. I would urge those of you who have not read Anne Bronte yet to do so.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Luís C.

    This book draws from the author’s own experience as a governess in the first half of the 19th century. It is a world where a distance of two miles is considered far and makes daily visits practically impossible. A distance of 80 miles is a day’s journey. In this confined world, everyone knows and observes one’s neighbors. Young Agnes, the protagonist of the book, leaves her close-knit family to work as a governess. With an astonishing amount of patience, she does her best to teach the spoiled ch This book draws from the author’s own experience as a governess in the first half of the 19th century. It is a world where a distance of two miles is considered far and makes daily visits practically impossible. A distance of 80 miles is a day’s journey. In this confined world, everyone knows and observes one’s neighbors. Young Agnes, the protagonist of the book, leaves her close-knit family to work as a governess. With an astonishing amount of patience, she does her best to teach the spoiled children of rich families. She’s closely watched by their parents, who point out every mistake in their children’s behavior but give Agnes no authority over them. Agnes Grey is not a book with a breathtaking plot, but it is a quiet read that provides a peaceful world into which one can withdraw after the day’s work is done. (Don’t read that book in the subway. It won’t work.) You’ll find this 19th century illusion of a nice, quiet and regular life in this book: Regular meal times, a peaceful family life, polite behavior and speech, regular Sunday services, sound morality. It is a refreshing contrast to modern life. At the same time, the book tells the story of a widow who is successful as a freelancer, even in those times. So if you are looking for inspiration, this book might be for you. It is interesting to observe how this freelancer acquires customers in yesterday’s world, and what her working life is like. There is also a love story. It is, as can be expected from such a book, a very quiet, peaceful and decent love story. And the end won’t be revealed until the very last chapter of the book. And the best of it: When putting this book down, I think you will be relieved that you’ve come back from a world where every word, everylook is minutiously observed and assessed and where everything you do or say can be held against you forever. You’re back to reality and if you feel like it, you can swear loudly and bang your fist on the table as you do so. (Please wait until I’ve left the scene.)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Fuchsia Groan

    Agnes Grey es la primera novela de Anne Brontë. Fue publicada en 1847, el mismo año en el que veían la luz las dos obras fundamentales de sus hermanas Emily y Charlotte: Cumbres borrascosas y Jane Eyre. Esta obra no tiene desde luego la garra de esas otras dos novelas, y es difícil que cause esa fascinación en el lector, ni por los personajes, ni por la historia. El argumento es más simple, más realista y cotidiano, y en gran parte autobiográfico, lo que precisamente le da valor a la novela, des Agnes Grey es la primera novela de Anne Brontë. Fue publicada en 1847, el mismo año en el que veían la luz las dos obras fundamentales de sus hermanas Emily y Charlotte: Cumbres borrascosas y Jane Eyre. Esta obra no tiene desde luego la garra de esas otras dos novelas, y es difícil que cause esa fascinación en el lector, ni por los personajes, ni por la historia. El argumento es más simple, más realista y cotidiano, y en gran parte autobiográfico, lo que precisamente le da valor a la novela, desmitificando la labor de la institutriz: una persona con una posición incómoda dentro de la casa, por encima de la servidumbre pero sin llegar a relacionarse en términos de igualdad con la familia (encargada de la ingrata tarea de educar a sus hijos, que están también por encima de ella), está sola, atrapada entre dos mundos. Otro de los temas en los que hace hincapié es en la defensa de los derechos de los animales, la empatía hacia ellos. Y es aquí donde nos ofrece una de las escenas que más llaman la atención al leer el libro, y la más criticada en el momento en el que fue publicado por su excesiva dureza. En la actualidad veo que se le critica a menudo por su tono excesivamente religioso y moralista, que no es más que un reflejo de la mentalidad del momento y que personalmente no me ha molestado ni se me ha hecho pesado, ganando por goleada lo que tiene la obra de revolucionaria. Sin haber leído todavía La inquilina de Wildfell Hall, entiendo que Anne haya quedado eclipsada por sus hermanas, pero creo también que es una autora injustamente olvidada.

  11. 5 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    Firstly, let’s diagnose this phenomenon. I first encountered Brontëism—definable as a slavish devotion to every word the sisters put to parchment—at university. I encountered the syndrome in American students who had spent their teens reading comedies of manners and upmarket romance novels and found in the Brontës a vicarious way to eke out their own desires for windswept romances in huge drawing rooms. Then I met British students whose puppy love for Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre made me upchu Firstly, let’s diagnose this phenomenon. I first encountered Brontëism—definable as a slavish devotion to every word the sisters put to parchment—at university. I encountered the syndrome in American students who had spent their teens reading comedies of manners and upmarket romance novels and found in the Brontës a vicarious way to eke out their own desires for windswept romances in huge drawing rooms. Then I met British students whose puppy love for Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre made me upchuck several weeks’ worth of pasta. So I cynically diagnosed the Brontë books as über-romance novels female readers held up as examples of the best sort of love possible in life—the love they would have if they could engineer their environment, to which all romantic relationships should aspire. Or versions of those moral-dilemma novels so popular at bookclubs and airports. It frustrated me. It was like having a particular area of literary history cordoned off to me. That I did not like. Only problem was, I wouldn’t read the books. Now, however, I am reading the books. So this series of reviews is my attempt to understand the phenomenon of the Brontës so I can legitimately express discontent at their contemporary omnipresence, or proclaim my undying love too. This novel is the first one by “the quiet one” Anne Brontë and describes her experiences as a governess in the homes of several brats. The first preconception smashed is that all Brontë novels are concerned with aristocratic characters: in this novel Agnes is from a lower middle-class family and volunteers to teach rich brats to help pay off her father’s debts. The chapters read like a handbook for being a patient and docile governess who has God on her side, with occasional turns of mannered humour and moments of affecting melodrama. The short chapters make the frequently dreary moments of micro-attention-to-detail regarding modes of deportment and social graces (that bog down so many novels of this period), more bearable. All in all, mildly entertaining. A lesser work from the lesser sister necessary for my experiment. More soon. N.B. The comments below refer to a review I wiped. N.N.B. Ever noticed the first initials of the sisters in alphabetical order spells A-C-E? Subliminal tactic?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Agnes is in desperate need of a visit from Nanny McPhee and I am in desperate need of a Mr Weston. Utterly charming. Anne’s sharp sardonic wit and waspish humour is so compelling. Agnes Grey perfectly encapsulates the horror of a first job - or my first job, anyway. On paper, this could be satire... were it not for the very real situations Anne depicts. This is ruthless realism; her exposé was an explosive truth that no one wanted to tell - or hear. “Agnes Grey is a sort of younger sister to Jane Agnes is in desperate need of a visit from Nanny McPhee and I am in desperate need of a Mr Weston. Utterly charming. Anne’s sharp sardonic wit and waspish humour is so compelling. Agnes Grey perfectly encapsulates the horror of a first job - or my first job, anyway. On paper, this could be satire... were it not for the very real situations Anne depicts. This is ruthless realism; her exposé was an explosive truth that no one wanted to tell - or hear. “Agnes Grey is a sort of younger sister to Jane Eyre; but inferior in every way” said one reviewer, crushingly. I need to rectify this: what very few people know is that Anne had covered the whole governessing, female self-determination thing way before Charlotte. Agnes Grey had been accepted for publication before Jane Eyre was even completed - Charlotte was still toiling away with her Charlotte/Monsieur Heger fanfiction that no one wanted to publish, AKA: The Professor. And yet Jane Eyre is remembered as the governess novel. Why? The simple reason is that Jane Eyre beat Agnes Grey to the press. The Brontë sisters sent their three respective debuts to publishers all in the same bundle, receiving rejection after rejection until one fateful day, both Agnes Grey and Wuthering Heights were accepted by Thomas Cautley Newby - The Professor, however, was sent straight back. What should of been a triumph for Anne turned out to be less than perfect. The thing was, Newby was a bit of a chancer. He liked to procrastinate. During the lengthy wait for the dynamic duo to appear on the shelves, Charlotte had produced Jane Eyre, a novel whose core elements must have seemed very familiar to Anne; a plain, governess heroine, the daughter of a poor clergyman, finds love on her own terms - all communicated through an immediate and self conscious first person narrative. Hmm. Oh, Charlotte. How could you? Regardless of the fact Charlotte had none too subtly used Anne’s work as a template, Jane Eyre was promptly accepted by a different publisher, Smith, Elder & Co. It was out within a month and met with immediate success. By this time, Newby was still dragging his heels, but when news reached him of Currer Bell’s (Charlotte’s) success, he recognised that he had in his possession two novels by the esteemed author’s brothers, Ellis and Acton - there was some serious money to be made. Finally the books were out - just five months late. Now Anne looked the imitator when she was in fact the pioneer. Of course, Jane Eyre was a highly romanticised and skewed interpretation of the precarious position of governess (although I do love it, regardless). Agnes Grey is highly autobiographical; sixty instances alone have been identified as being directly drawn from Anne’s own six years experience of the profession. She refused to wear rose-tinted glasses - being the social firebrand that she was, her purpose was reform. Agnes Grey is a deliberate attack of the disparity between the education of boys and girls and its consequences. Girls weren’t prepared for life, nor warned about the dangers of bad men. Even within these 200ish pages, Anne was already hinting at deeply controversial topics like marital abuse that she would later develop into her darker work, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (highly recommend, absolute masterpiece - see my thoughts here ). Critics however neglected to acknowledge her astute political engagement, asserting that her depiction of corrupt upper class morals and violent, beastly children was simply too monstrous to be true. Instead, they favoured Charlotte’s depiction: more Charlotte/Monsieur Heger fanfiction... but a slightly more coded version. Which is ridiculous - Charlotte hated governessing and couldn’t manage it for more than eight months; Anne was the one who bit the bullet and endured. (Anne was the only of the four Brontës who managed to pin down a job, period.) On one occasion, the children Charlotte tutored even threw a rock at her which cut her badly on the forehead. She knew the crap governesses had to put up with: humiliation, oppression, isolation, bratty children and disrespectful employers. And yet she blesses Jane with one obedient pupil and a brooding, darkly romantic boss who treats her as an equal. I told you it was fanfiction. Don’t get me wrong, Agnes Grey is pretty brutal in places, but it’s a novel that makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Why? Two words: Mr Weston. Good old Anne, she gave her heroine a man who is treats women well, who loves and respects her, something that put Anne at odds with her sisters who liked their malevolent Byronic heroes. Mr Weston is a babe and Agnes is at her most endearing when she’s falling for him. He’s full of common sense and genuine affection... and he likes cats. (He even saves a cat at one point, a plot device that is so reliable at making a character likeable, there’s even a book about it: Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need.) Agnes Grey has a healthy and wholesome romance between two decent people who love, respect and cherish each other. Need I say more?!! An exceptionally underrated book - and I don’t think the copious editions with grotesque covers really do it any favours, either. A historically fascinating novel that already hints at some of those radical views Anne was brewing up ready for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, views that were years before her time - but a beautiful, beautiful story and a thoroughly moving romance besides.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carmo

    Agnes Grey foi escrito pela mais nova das irmãs Brontë; Anne, (1820-1849) e publicado em 1847. É um romance com uma história muito simples e uma visão vitoriana acentuada, mas com uma protagonista muito moderna para a época. Na casa de Agnes vivia-se com muito amor e pouco dinheiro. Agnes decide então ser preceptora, uma decisão que visa ajudar financeiramente a família em dificuldades, mas também testar as suas próprias capacidades; vencer na vida sendo útil e romper com o estereótipo das mulher Agnes Grey foi escrito pela mais nova das irmãs Brontë; Anne, (1820-1849) e publicado em 1847. É um romance com uma história muito simples e uma visão vitoriana acentuada, mas com uma protagonista muito moderna para a época. Na casa de Agnes vivia-se com muito amor e pouco dinheiro. Agnes decide então ser preceptora, uma decisão que visa ajudar financeiramente a família em dificuldades, mas também testar as suas próprias capacidades; vencer na vida sendo útil e romper com o estereótipo das mulheres da época. É o elemento moderno da história, até aqui as mulheres só pensavam em casar, ter filhos, e representar o seu papel de adorno na sociedade, uma mulher que decidisse ter uma ocupação remunerada sem ser por absoluta necessidade era uma inovação ainda vista com alguma estranheza. Agnes Grey, mostrou-se não só corajosa como cheia de bom senso em todas as situações que enfrentou; passou por dificuldades com os seus pupilos, sofreu humilhações por parte dos patrões mas não vacilou. Uma heroína de dezoito anos, que cresceu, firmou o seu carácter de forma determinada e conquistou até os mais obstinados. Livro pequeno, muito fácil de ler, não tem nada de aborrecido e a história desliza com fluidez.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Iryna *Book and Sword*

    4/5 stars “One bright day in the last week of February, I was walking in the park, enjoying the threefold luxury of solitude, a book, and pleasant weather.” By reading Agnes Grey I've sufficiently accomplished my goal of reading a book from each sister. Despite many similarities in sisters' writing and the messages that they are portraying - the three of them are also very different. The first sister I had the pleasure of reading was Emily, and it's easy to assume that she was the risk taker of th 4/5 stars “One bright day in the last week of February, I was walking in the park, enjoying the threefold luxury of solitude, a book, and pleasant weather.” By reading Agnes Grey I've sufficiently accomplished my goal of reading a book from each sister. Despite many similarities in sisters' writing and the messages that they are portraying - the three of them are also very different. The first sister I had the pleasure of reading was Emily, and it's easy to assume that she was the risk taker of the written word. She embraced the wildness of the moors and the madness of true love, she let her imagination run untamed and her emotions unchecked. All of those qualities created a painful, but also very beautiful masterpiece of Wuthering Heights. Charlotte, while not shying away from the madness of love either, focused more on the resilience of human spirit and how ones principles get them through all trials. Jane Eyre was full of surprises as we watched her bravely walk through her hardships and onto the unexpected path of love, that in the end was a saving grace for both her, and her beloved. Anne's writing is definitely the most polished of them all. Her sentences are carefully constructed and all of the words are picked with a goal in mind. Not once Agnes Grey went out of bonds, not once she fell into her temptations or got lost on the path she was taking, no matter how bleak and gloomy it was. “It is foolish to wish for beauty. Sensible people never either desire it for themselves or care about it in others. If the mind be but well cultivated, and the heart well disposed, no one ever cares for the exterior.” The hypocrisy level in this book is absolutely hilarious and Agnes handles it all with such cool and stoic exterior, she's such a little sweetheart. But Agnes is not without flaws herself. The whole duration of the book I kept wishing that she would stop caring so much about what her friends thought of her - everything she did, everything she persevered to endure was to keep her face and honor in front of her friends, and to me that just wasn't a good reasoning. I absolutely adored how awkwardly honest Agnes always was, and how she herself always admitted it. “No, thank you, I don't mind the rain,' I said. I always lacked common sense when taken by surprise.” Most of the side character will make you blind with rage, especially Rosalie Murray - that girl was so backwards I was surprised she could walk a straight line. The novel portrays very well how riches and negligence will make anyone rotten spoiled and how amidst all of that those who have their principles in check will persevere no matter the trials. ​While not as emotional as works of her sisters, Anne Bronte's Agnes Grey is an excellent quick read - if the simple plot doesn't do you well, then read it simply for the excellence and brilliance of writing. My WEBSITE My INSTAGRAM My WORDPRESS BLOG

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    Si Anne Brönte se basó en su propia experiencia como institutriz para escribir esta novela no me imagino lo que tuvo que soportar en su día a día: niños malcriados, consentidos y caprichosos, padres permisivos con sus hijos pero a la vez exigentes con la institutrices, haciéndolas únicas responsables de su mala educación. Un situación horrible, sobre todo para alguien tan joven e inexperta como Agnes. Por otro lado, me ha parecido una buena crítica al matrimonio de conveniencia, sin amor y movido Si Anne Brönte se basó en su propia experiencia como institutriz para escribir esta novela no me imagino lo que tuvo que soportar en su día a día: niños malcriados, consentidos y caprichosos, padres permisivos con sus hijos pero a la vez exigentes con la institutrices, haciéndolas únicas responsables de su mala educación. Un situación horrible, sobre todo para alguien tan joven e inexperta como Agnes. Por otro lado, me ha parecido una buena crítica al matrimonio de conveniencia, sin amor y movido únicamente por estatus social e intereses económicos. Una unión por interés (view spoiler)[de la que Rosalie no sale muy bien parada, a pesar de sus altas aspiraciones (hide spoiler)] . Una buena lectura, la segunda de las hermanas Brönte.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia

    This is the kind of romance that I enjoy. Agnes Grey must be one of my favorite literary females. She's the type of role model who's not unrealistically perfect, but has developed virtues that make her a very worthy character. The book is certainly far from exciting or "passionate," but it has plenty of solid themes and lessons for young girls to learn from. It shows how the temporary pleasures of flirting are entirely fleeting, but the constant modesty and dependence on God is rewarded with tru This is the kind of romance that I enjoy. Agnes Grey must be one of my favorite literary females. She's the type of role model who's not unrealistically perfect, but has developed virtues that make her a very worthy character. The book is certainly far from exciting or "passionate," but it has plenty of solid themes and lessons for young girls to learn from. It shows how the temporary pleasures of flirting are entirely fleeting, but the constant modesty and dependence on God is rewarded with true happiness in the end.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I hoped, that with the brave and strong, My portioned task might lie; To toil amid the busy throng, With purpose pure and high. (by Anne Brontë) Though Tenant of Wildfell Hall is Anne Brontë's most popular novel, she is also remembered primarily for her verse. Being published at the tail end of her sister Emily's Wuthering Heights, this quiet novel by Anne Brontë was barely noticed by the critics. Yet there is something about her gentle prose that lures me. Charlotte Brontë said this about her siste I hoped, that with the brave and strong, My portioned task might lie; To toil amid the busy throng, With purpose pure and high. (by Anne Brontë) Though Tenant of Wildfell Hall is Anne Brontë's most popular novel, she is also remembered primarily for her verse. Being published at the tail end of her sister Emily's Wuthering Heights, this quiet novel by Anne Brontë was barely noticed by the critics. Yet there is something about her gentle prose that lures me. Charlotte Brontë said this about her sister, Anne: "Long-suffering, self-denying, reflective, and intelligent, a constitutional reserve and taciturnity placed and kept her in the shade, and covered her mind, and especially her feelings, with a sort of nun-like veil, which was rarely lifted." It is almost as if Anne took parts of herself and created Agnes Grey. In simplistic, undulating prose, loneliness and self-examination is depicted through Agnes' first-person diary recollections. You can always count on the Victorian female to allude to feminism on an existential level. With her gutsy decision to leave home at nineteen in order to gain her independence and possibly donate some funds to her dying father, Agnes won me over because this was not a position she was forced into. In fact, her family wanted her to stay at home. I flattered myself I was benefitting my parents and sister by my continuance here; for, small as the salary was, I still was earning something, and, with strict economy, I could easily manage to have something to spare for them, if they would favour me by taking it. Then, it was by my own will that I had got the place, I had brought all this tribulation on myself…I did not even regret the step I had taken, and I longed to show my friends that even now, I was competent to undertake the charge… Away from home, she is lonely, depressed (so much so that at times her tone comes across as whiny), and despised by the family she works for. What a state. It's so easy to empathize with her especially when you think about the one or two jobs you've despised; the employers who have devalued your work and never appreciated you. Maybe I also empathize with her because I know what it feels like to want to "acquit" yourself "honorably to the end," that you find yourself so far away from home without friend or family in sight. The ties that bind us to life are tougher than you imagine, or than any one can, who has not felt how roughly they may be pulled without breaking...The human heart is like rubber, a little swells it, but a great deal will not burst it. If 'little more than nothing' will disturb it, 'little less than all things will suffice' to break it. I love how Agnes is the young Victorian woman and the young modern woman. In order to find herself, she must exercise patience, learn wherewithal, and gain career experience. And maybe as she finds herself--if she wants--she also finds a man (like Weston) who she wants to love, and not who society or family expects her to love. Side note: This is a novel where faith is a part of the everyday conversation. Anne had a firm "evangelical cast of mind," believing in the act of having one's whole life become worship. Her prose is a reflection of her Christian faith, served through the dialogue and inner thoughts of Agnes and Weston, the curate. So if you find this sort of thing bothersome, this novel could be off-putting.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    So the message of this one isn't so much "men are trash" as "rich people are trash." This is essentially the 19th century precursor of The Nanny Diaries, in which we see young naive Anne-- pardon me, I mean AGNES-- go into the homes of the wealthy as a governess, and see her treated like an inconvenient ghost. The strange position of governesses is also brought up in Jane Eyre. They aren't servants, but they aren't family. They aren't low class, but they aren't the same class as their employers, So the message of this one isn't so much "men are trash" as "rich people are trash." This is essentially the 19th century precursor of The Nanny Diaries, in which we see young naive Anne-- pardon me, I mean AGNES-- go into the homes of the wealthy as a governess, and see her treated like an inconvenient ghost. The strange position of governesses is also brought up in Jane Eyre. They aren't servants, but they aren't family. They aren't low class, but they aren't the same class as their employers, either. They are simultaneously supposed to defer to their students and guide them. It's a horrible position to put anyone in, really. It also shows that "helicopter parenting" isn't a new thing, as we see the doting parents of both households constantly tell her to indulge and excuse their children's bad behavior, and then scold Agnes when the children't aren't learning more and behaving better. Mrs. Murray's little "chats" with Agnes reminded me of some of my sister's descriptions of parent-teacher conferences (she is an English teacher). I really got the sense from this book that Anne was taking the opportunity to finally unload the crap that she had seen and suffered, hidden under the guise of fiction. And then, just to finish it off, a nice tidy happy ending. I mean, not too dramatic and exotic of a happy ending, that's more Charlotte's style. But a nice little ending. After all, the point of the book is really to talk about how awful and condescending the rich are, and not so much to put Agnes above them.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rane

    While her sisters may have started in the realm of Gothic romance, Anne Bronte gave us realism and if you dreamed once being a governess was awesome from reading Jane Eyre, Anne's Agnes Grey puts that notice to bed once and for all, with the question would have anyone have liked to have been a governess in this time and age? Anne does give us at times an ironic view of the higher society in the way they handle their children and in their own actions of not being to blamed when one of their kids While her sisters may have started in the realm of Gothic romance, Anne Bronte gave us realism and if you dreamed once being a governess was awesome from reading Jane Eyre, Anne's Agnes Grey puts that notice to bed once and for all, with the question would have anyone have liked to have been a governess in this time and age? Anne does give us at times an ironic view of the higher society in the way they handle their children and in their own actions of not being to blamed when one of their kids gets out of line as they handed their kids off to the nurse or governess to be raised. Agnes starts off as a open but shelter child, who matures slowly, falling back on her own teachings and childhood to get her through some bad times with some truly spoiled and mean children she has to care for. She truly doesn't change throughout the novel, but finds her inner strength when the chips are down. Does she get on my nerves? Yes. Only when I felt she should have stood up for herself, but as a product of her time and the terms of her employment one can see she must keep her anger and misgivings to herself. This didn't stop me from wanting to kick some of the characters in the butt for their gross and hurtful actions. Still, I can see where Anne herself as a writer was a force to be reckon with with her style that pulled the reader in and real life truth that made one see things in a different light.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Juxtaposing of Characters: "Agnes Grey" by Anne Brontë (Original Review, 1981-02-06) I read "Agnes Grey" after a visit to the Mosteiros dos Jerónimos, supposing I ought to try the lesser known sister after reading so much of Charlotte's work and of course “Wuthering Heights.” What a wonderful surprise. Anne had me at "...she would rather live in a cottage with Richard Grey than in a palace with any other man in the world."

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    Actual rating 3.75/5 stars. My first Anne Bronte! It feels so good to finally say I have an equal appreciation for all of the Bronte sisters. Whilst I found the latter portion of Agnes Grey a little disappointing in comparison to my utter immersion and adoration in the beginning, this was still a solidly enjoyable read. This is a quieter novel, than all the other collected Bronte novels I have so far read, but not one without its own sparks of brilliance. This follows the life of young Agnes Grey Actual rating 3.75/5 stars. My first Anne Bronte! It feels so good to finally say I have an equal appreciation for all of the Bronte sisters. Whilst I found the latter portion of Agnes Grey a little disappointing in comparison to my utter immersion and adoration in the beginning, this was still a solidly enjoyable read. This is a quieter novel, than all the other collected Bronte novels I have so far read, but not one without its own sparks of brilliance. This follows the life of young Agnes Grey during her employment as a governess to a series of spoiled, petulant, and disagreeable children. Without any moments of high drama, frenzied passion, or thrilling intrigue this novel steadily maintained one tone throughout, and this resulted in my slight boredom during the latter portions, when more was expected from me. Closing the book, however, I came to comprehend that without passing judgement this actually provided an insight to much more than was initially realised. It's quiet observations allow the reader to take the place of the unnoticed governess, quietly observing middle-class life without seemingly any discrimination. Anne kept her character even in the telling of this tale, and only after days of mulling over this novel have I come to believe it more cunningly clever than I first understood it to be. Whilst not the most enjoyable of the Bronte books I have read, there is as much of an insightful nature and as much to take away from this than all of the other books.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Fenia

    Re-reading the classics is always a pleasure,especially if there's a Bronte involved xD ♥

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lizzy

    It is foolish to wish for beauty. Sensible people never either desire it for themselves or care about it in others. If the mind be but well-cultivated, and the heart well-disposed, no one ever cares for the exterior. So said the teachers of our childhood; and so say we to the children of the present day. All very judicious and proper no doubt; but are such assertions supported by actual experience? Plot Summary In many respects, Agnes bears some similarities to Jane Eyre, at least in terms of tem It is foolish to wish for beauty. Sensible people never either desire it for themselves or care about it in others. If the mind be but well-cultivated, and the heart well-disposed, no one ever cares for the exterior. So said the teachers of our childhood; and so say we to the children of the present day. All very judicious and proper no doubt; but are such assertions supported by actual experience? Plot Summary In many respects, Agnes bears some similarities to Jane Eyre, at least in terms of temperament. She is quiet, sensible, clear-headed, and devoted to her family. She, unlike Jane, grows up in a relatively comfortable home, one of six children, which is eventually reduced to just two, Agnes and her elder sister Mary, which can only be expected, childhood mortality being what it was (I get the impression that Anne set the novel in the late Regency era, though I may be wrong). Agnes becomes the baby of the family, and is kept very much isolated throughout her childhood, having very few friends, and little to no contact with her relatives. When her father, a rector, makes an unfortunate monetary decision that results in their circumstances being considerably straitened, Agnes (aged 18) announces, much to everyone's surprise, that she wishes to become a governess, in order to improve the family finances. The reader is then taken along for the ride, so to speak, as Agnes endures the hardships that a 19th century governess is pretty much expected to put up with. The children in her first employment, the Bloomfields, are quite simply ghastly; the eldest son, equipped with a violent temper and an almost infuriating sense of his privileged position as the son and heir, enjoys torturing innocent animals (with the encouragement of his father and uncle), and his sisters more than equal him in that respect, endeavouring to get Agnes in as much trouble as possible. Despite their frankly awful personalities, their parents, alternating between a chilly regard towards Agnes to a fiery outburst of temper, seem totally unaware of their children's flaws, leading them to blame Agnes for their shortcomings. Eventually, Agnes (now in her early twenties) is informed that her contract has not been renewed, which leads her to seek new employment elsewhere. She finds work, and a larger pay packet, with the Murray family, where she becomes governess and companion to their two teenage daughters, Rosalie and Matilda. Whilst there, she becomes acquainted with the new curate, Mr. Weston, a thoughtful and somewhat solemn man, whom she often meets during her travels to her poorer neighbours in the community, and as the months pass she realises that she is falling in love with him, though she sees very little reason why he should ever return her affections, being, in her view, plain and insignificant. When her charge, the beguiling and beautiful, but hopelessly selfish and vain Rosalie Murray begins flirting with Mr. Weston, simply to order to snare yet another man whom she will enjoy rejecting later on, Agnes is silently distraught, but determined to keep her feelings hidden. Will Agnes be unlucky in love, or will events progress in her favour? Verdict *Four and a half stars* Okay, first of all - I really like this novel. I was somewhat less enamoured of it at first, though, I must admit. Whilst it certainly wasn't boring, it didn't grip me in the same way Jane Eyre did the first time I read it (Charlotte Bronte will feature in this review, as will Emily, as much as I'd rather keep them out of it). As the novel wore on, however, I began to change my mind. Agnes is a likeable heroine, for starters; whilst knowing her station, and trying to see the good in everyone, she is not as naive as she first appears. She assesses her charges characters immediately, realizing their obvious flaws, as well as those of their parents, and hopes (in vain) that she will be able to remove these negative attributes by exerting her own influence. She is also, to some extent, slightly sardonic, and enjoys displaying an innocent smile to an outraged Rosalie when Mr. Weston offers her his umbrella to as they walk to the carriage due to take them home after church, whilst secretly rejoicing inwardly (we've all been there, haven't we?). I have to say, I loved Agnes' sassy side. It contrasted well with her pious nature, and removed any annoyance I might otherwise have felt towards her. Critics haven't always been so quick to heap praise on this particular novel as they have been towards Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, and one thing that I noticed is the similarity (in terms of the love triangle at least) with Charlotte Bronte's own wildly popular yarn, published along with Agnes Grey in 1847. I think this is partly due to the fact that Agnes undergoes far less in terms of suffering than Jane or Cathy (or any of the Wuthering Heights characters, for that matter), and, yes, she does have it relatively easy by comparison, though I'm inclined to view her character development as being pretty solid despite this. In some instances, this novel felt almost utopian in aspect, which may have had something to do with the character's own feelings of isolation. It reminded me occasionally of Austen's Emma, for example, although that may have been due in part to Anne's (as well as lot of other 18/19th century novelists) annoying decision to use only a dash instead of just inventing a town or village, eg. 'A----' or 'F---', which left me at times feeling rather lost. I shall not attempt to explain why. Overall, Agnes Grey is a good novel. Irish writer George Moore once called it 'the most perfect prose narrative in English letters' and compared Anne to Jane Austen, which I am inclined to agree with, at least partially. If you're wanting drama on the scale of Charlotte or Emily, then try Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. If you're not fussy then I'd still recommend reading this; I've always felt that Anne is vastly underrated in comparison to her more famous sisters. The day more of the world begins to realise this will be a great day indeed.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Agnes Grey is the first of two novels written by the youngest of the Bronte sisters. A number of aspects of the life of Anne Bronte, who died from tuberculosis at the age of 29, are reflected in the plot. The eponymous heroine is the daughter of a clergyman who loses his independent income, as a result of which she elects to work as a governess. Written in the form of a memoir, the first person narrative sets out Agnes' experiences working for two families, meeting and falling in love with a cle Agnes Grey is the first of two novels written by the youngest of the Bronte sisters. A number of aspects of the life of Anne Bronte, who died from tuberculosis at the age of 29, are reflected in the plot. The eponymous heroine is the daughter of a clergyman who loses his independent income, as a result of which she elects to work as a governess. Written in the form of a memoir, the first person narrative sets out Agnes' experiences working for two families, meeting and falling in love with a clergyman and setting up a school with her mother. For me, part of what makes the novel interesting is knowing that in depicting Agnes’ life as a governess, Bronte drew heavily on her own experiences in the same role. Compared to Jane Eyre’s life as a governess, Agnes’ life is extraordinarily mundane. There is nothing romantic about Bronte’s portrayal of that life. Indeed, while the novel contains a love story, there is nothing of the romantic in it at all, and certainly nothing of the gothic. When Agnes falls in love, her sentiments are conventional. There are no souls yearning for each other across the moors and while Agnes’ love interest is no St John Rivers, he has nothing in common with Edward Rochester. Further, although there are some very beautiful descriptions of nature – particularly in the latter part of the novel – nature does not play the part it does in the works of Anne Bronte’s sisters. In my view, the book’s major weakness is the relative lack of development in Agnes’ character. Jane Eyre is defined and changed by her experiences. However, while Agnes undergoes some very difficult experiences working as a governess, the Agnes at the end of the novel is more or less the same as the Agnes at the beginning of the novel. Agnes acknowledges that her youth and inexperience contributed to some of the difficulties she faced. However, she never questions herself and never doubts that she’s right. I like Agnes, but if I wanted to be harsh I might describe her as a bit of a prig. I listened to an audiobook edition of the novel, very capably narrated by English actress Emilia Fox. I’m glad to have done so and I’m looking forward to listening to Anne Bronte’s other novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. It’s part of a vague plan to read / re-read all of the Bronte sisters’ novels including, one of these days, Wuthering Heights, for which I have long cherished a deep dislike. I rate this at 3-1/2 stars. It doesn't have the complexity of Jane Eyre, but it's still a pretty good read. I’ll finish the review with the words Anne Bronte used to finish Agnes Grey. It's hard to think of a simpler conclusion. “And now I think I have said sufficient”.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    I was prompted to reread Anne Bronte's wonderful Agnes Grey after watching the BBC adaptation of the Brontes' lives, To Walk Invisible. Agnes Grey is beautifully written throughout, and Anne was undoubtedly a very gifted writer. This is a wonderful tome to be reunited with, with its memorable storyline and cast of characters. Bronte's turns of phrase are just lovely, and Agnes' first person perspective is so engaging. A refreshing, thoughtful, and intelligent read in many respects, and a fantast I was prompted to reread Anne Bronte's wonderful Agnes Grey after watching the BBC adaptation of the Brontes' lives, To Walk Invisible. Agnes Grey is beautifully written throughout, and Anne was undoubtedly a very gifted writer. This is a wonderful tome to be reunited with, with its memorable storyline and cast of characters. Bronte's turns of phrase are just lovely, and Agnes' first person perspective is so engaging. A refreshing, thoughtful, and intelligent read in many respects, and a fantastic novel to boot.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    4.5* - This was my first Bronte novel and I love it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the experiences of a Victorian Governess who was trying to help her family as well as the different aspects of social class and how different these classes really were. This novel touches on many important issues that in many cases today are still being dealt with. The love story definitely left me wanting to know more than was told. The last thing i want to state is MR WESTON is wonderful. Full Review can be 4.5* - This was my first Bronte novel and I love it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the experiences of a Victorian Governess who was trying to help her family as well as the different aspects of social class and how different these classes really were. This novel touches on many important issues that in many cases today are still being dealt with. The love story definitely left me wanting to know more than was told. The last thing i want to state is MR WESTON is wonderful. Full Review can be found on my book blog ~ https://wheretheresinktherespaper.wor...

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dhanaraj Rajan

    This is a Cinderella story with a small but important difference. The difference: It is not a 'rags-to-riches-story.' Agnes is a poor girl who suffers separation from the family and goes through much sufferings at the place of work. She works as a governess. She holds on believing only in the Providence (after all Agnes is the daughter of a vicar). She prays more when she suffers more. And when she loses almost the hope, God apparently hears her prayers and she is united with her lover. The love This is a Cinderella story with a small but important difference. The difference: It is not a 'rags-to-riches-story.' Agnes is a poor girl who suffers separation from the family and goes through much sufferings at the place of work. She works as a governess. She holds on believing only in the Providence (after all Agnes is the daughter of a vicar). She prays more when she suffers more. And when she loses almost the hope, God apparently hears her prayers and she is united with her lover. The lover is not a rich man of high rank. He is a simple curate/vicar who is God fearing and a man of modest means. Having read this summary of the story, one might think it is a simple story. And you are not wrong. It is a simple story. But it can be very uplifting. Or at least put you in good humour. It is a piece of literature that pleases the reader at the end. However, a real look into the life of Anne Bronte will help the reader see beyond the story. For it is partly (Mostly, I suppose) autobiographical. Anne Bronte worked as a governess. The 'work' of the governess as mentioned in the book looked really horrifying. It was surprising that she kept her mind intact (I sincerely believe that she had lost it once when she killed the poor little birds with a big flat stone). Thus it is terrifying to note that the lunatics admitted in the asylums in those days had many number of governesses. Anne Bronte did a great deal to reveal to the world what was happening inside of the 'home school rooms'. I think that was one of her great contributions. I sincerely wish that Anne Bronte had a happy ending like Agnes Grey had. Anne died young having not expressed her love. Here is a passage from the book: "I have lived three-and-twenty years, and I have suffered much, and tasted little pleasure yet: is it likely my life all through will be so clouded? Is it not possible that God may hear my prayers, disperse these gloomy shadows, and grant me some beams of heaven's sunshine yet? Will He entirely deny to me those blessings which are so freely given to others, who neither ask them nor acknowledge them when received? May I not still hope and trust?" Anne was twenty nine when she died having received no consolation that Agnes had received in the novel. My question to God: Why oh Lord, why?

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    I'm a sucker for good endings, and this one is so sweet. I wish the first 80 or 90 pages of this book were condensed; they contain too much summary and not enough story. But once Agnes gets to the Murrays', the novel becomes much more interesting. It reminds me of Jane Eyre but has its own charm. There are gentle and subtle humor, moments of genuine emotion expressed simply and fluidly, and interesting, well-developed characters. It's a simple book but well written. I recommend this to Bronte fa I'm a sucker for good endings, and this one is so sweet. I wish the first 80 or 90 pages of this book were condensed; they contain too much summary and not enough story. But once Agnes gets to the Murrays', the novel becomes much more interesting. It reminds me of Jane Eyre but has its own charm. There are gentle and subtle humor, moments of genuine emotion expressed simply and fluidly, and interesting, well-developed characters. It's a simple book but well written. I recommend this to Bronte fans, to nineteenth-century romance fans, and to people who want a quick read told simply but beautifully.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This was my neighborhood book club’s selection for January – a good excuse to also use it for relaunching my Classic of the Month feature. I’ve now read all the Brontë sisters’ works apart from Shirley, an obscure one by Charlotte. I’d recommend Agnes Grey as a short, accessible classic that echoes Jane Austen with its realistic picture of money/class and romance in nineteenth-century England. The first-person narrative tells the highly autobiographical tale of a young woman who becomes a governe This was my neighborhood book club’s selection for January – a good excuse to also use it for relaunching my Classic of the Month feature. I’ve now read all the Brontë sisters’ works apart from Shirley, an obscure one by Charlotte. I’d recommend Agnes Grey as a short, accessible classic that echoes Jane Austen with its realistic picture of money/class and romance in nineteenth-century England. The first-person narrative tells the highly autobiographical tale of a young woman who becomes a governess to support her impoverished family. Agnes is the daughter of a clergyman who makes a poor investment and loses everything, then falls ill. Her sister Mary can make money from her paintings, but with no particular skills and no other choice Agnes sets out to be a governess, first for the Bloomfield family at Wellwood House. The master is exacting and difficult to please, and her four charges are all unruly and obstinate. Worst of all is Tom, who seems almost autistic – he goes into rages and has to be held to calm him down. But the way Agnes writes about these children, it’s as if she thinks they’re not just naughty, but evil. Tom’s wanton cruelty to animals is wielded as a surefire sign of his badness. It’s a very moral book in general. Some book club folk even called it “Puritanical” for the way it dwells on goodness versus selfishness. When Agnes imagines how her pupils might describe her in the future, she concludes (speaking of herself), “she was always thinking of what was right and what was wrong, and had a strange reverence for matters connected with religion.” Unlike Jane Eyre, though, Agnes does little to stand up for herself in situations of injustice. For instance, when the Bloomfields put their children’s misbehavior down to Agnes’s lack of fitness for the role and dismiss her before a year has passed, she simply tries again, and soon finds a new governess position with the Murrays of Horton Lodge. Here her main charge is the vain, supercilious teenager Rosalie, who, once she realizes Agnes admires the curate, Edward Weston, sets about sidelining Agnes and making him fall for her instead. Agnes is up front with the reader about her feelings for Weston, as in the chapter entitled “Confessions,” and she understands what’s going on with Rosalie’s scheming, but does nothing to combat it, just meekly steps back and lets things play out. Only internally does she allow herself to cry out at the unfairness of it all: “I have lived nearly three-and-twenty years, and I have suffered much, and tasted little pleasure yet: is it likely my life all through will be so clouded?” The Brontës all led fairly sad and small lives. Without giving specific spoilers, I’ll say that Agnes Grey gives Anne the happy ending she didn’t get in life. The whole book club enjoyed this one. We talked a lot about the choices the middle class would have had in those days, and how difficult life was for women who weren’t of the servant class yet didn’t have the family money to ensure their comfort. We found the first-person voice immediately engaging, especially with the occasional confiding asides to the reader, and the style was easier than what you get from a lot of the Victorian classics. Originally published, with images, on my blog, Bookish Beck.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Agnes Grey è il romanzo delle tre sorelle Brontë che meno ha avuto fortuna. Agnes è figlia di un vicario e una donna ricca che, per amore del marito, ha lasciato la casa d’origine senza l’approvazione paterna. Sin dall’inizio la felicità degli affetti domestici e di una vita semplice ma retta vengono presentati in modo nettamente superiore alla vita agiata di chi gode di uno stato sociale più elevato. E di fatto, tutto il romanzo è incentrato su quest’idea. A causa di uno sfortunato investimento Agnes Grey è il romanzo delle tre sorelle Brontë che meno ha avuto fortuna. Agnes è figlia di un vicario e una donna ricca che, per amore del marito, ha lasciato la casa d’origine senza l’approvazione paterna. Sin dall’inizio la felicità degli affetti domestici e di una vita semplice ma retta vengono presentati in modo nettamente superiore alla vita agiata di chi gode di uno stato sociale più elevato. E di fatto, tutto il romanzo è incentrato su quest’idea. A causa di uno sfortunato investimento del padre, la famiglia di Agnes si trova in cattive condizioni economiche e la ragazza, per aiutare, ma soprattutto spinta dalla curiosità di vedere il mondo e dall’entusiasmo della sua giovane età, decide di diventare istitutrice. E così prende servizio prima in una famiglia di arricchiti e poi in un’altra di ceto superiore. In entrambi i casi, Agnes non riesce a trovare la statura morale della casa che ha lasciato. I principi dell’autrice sono snocciolati in modo chiaro e supportati da molte citazioni bibliche (scrive Charlotte Brontë nella postfazione a quest’edizione che la sorella Anne era una cristiana molto sincera e concreta). Alcuni aspetti del racconto del suo lavoro di istitutrice sono particolarmente interessanti. Come si può educare qualcuno se i genitori non condividono principi e metodi dell’istitutrice scelta? E cosa dovrebbe fare Agnes: lavorare bene o assecondare i datori di lavoro per mantenere il posto? Quasi a contorno delle vicende professionali si sviluppa una storia sentimentale. A differenza delle passioni narrate, ad esempio, in Cime tempestose, l’attrazione tra Agnes e Weston è senza dubbio molto più moderata e basata su affinità di carattere e condivisione di principi. Come preannunciato in apertura, il lieto fine non si incontra nell’ascesa sociale o nella ricchezza, ma nell’affetto. L’autrice sembra voler ribadire questo concetto facendo nell’ultima pagina un sunto della vita coniugale di Anne e Weston che si contrappone alle più estese pagine che poco prima aveva dedicato alla vita di donna sposata di Lady Ashby. Anne Brontë ha caratterizzato il mondo descritto in modo molto netto. Appare quanto meno poco credibile che la virtù possa incontrarsi solo tra i poveri ma, indipendentemente dall’intento autoriale, ho trovato il romanzo di gradevole lettura e mi è parso un interessante spaccato della società vittoriana di campagna.

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