“Not as well written as The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, but she's my favourite Bronte sister and actually worked as a governness.”Karin wrote this review Wednesday, January 9, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Not as well-known as her sisters' books, but a beautiful miniaturist interpretation. Rivals Austen.”amywolfie wrote this review Thursday, January 3, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I once heard poor Anne referred to as "the lesser Bronte". I've now read her work and I can see why. She seems to have less imagination than her sisters and had less experiences to draw from. This is basically an autobiography of a very dull, lonely, and judgemental governess. ”Vickey wrote this review Tuesday, December 18, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Certainly not up to the quality of her sisters, Anne has told a tale that improves as it goes along. Predictable, simple, and no overly profound characters mark this novel. It also certainly has a much lighter feel than her sisters' darker offerings. Something that would serve for a quick summer read.”Michael H wrote this review Friday, December 7, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Eh.”Tiffany R wrote this review Monday, November 5, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The youngest of the three literary Brontë sisters lived only 29 years (1820-1849) before succumbing to tuberculosis, a family tradition that had already claimed all but one of her five siblings. Besides a good deal of poetry, Anne Brontë wrote two novels: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall—shocking in its time for its unflinching depiction of a woman fleeing her abusive drunk of a husband and making a new life for herself and her child, in defiance of the day's social conventions and marriage laws—and this. Agnes Grey, her first novel, is almost completely autobiographical and reveals some of the intense feelings and difficult experiences its gentle young author had coped with during several years of working as a governess.
The reality of what Anne lived through was probably even more painful than what befalls the fictitious Agnes. Though her career as a governess was more successful than those of her sisters Charlotte and Emily, like Agnes, Anne was held accountable for the behavior of her unruly young charges without being given the authority to discipline them. If at times the book comes across as a Methodist religious tract, it may be because in real life, the author underwent deep spiritual struggles and maintained her noted calm only with by the strength of her faith. Saddest of all, the young curate (assistant pastor) with whom Agnes finally finds love and happiness is, most likely, based on a real-life curate for whom Anne cherished a secret love, but who died before his time.
Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë each submitted their first novels for publication at the same time. Emily's one and only novel became a literary classic. Charlotte's first of what would eventually be four completed novels did not see daylight until after its author's death, though the follow-up Jane Eyre immediately established her as the greatest of the sister authors. By comparison, Agnes Grey enjoyed modest success; and though Anne's second novel was a smash hit, surviving sister Charlotte forbade it to be reprinted during her lifetime. And so Anne Brontë has languished somewhat in the shadow of her more accomplished siblings. Nevertheless, Anne's reputation is making a comeback as the equal of Emily and Charlotte, and even this book—though very simple, direct, and untroubled by the emotional turbulence of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights—is now recognized as one of the classic English novels. It has the attractive virtue of lying lightly in the hands, being easy and quick to read. The audio-book version in which I experienced it required only six CDs: the equivalent of a couple of days commuting and a comfortable evening listening at home.
And while I'm not a Methodist and could have done without the passages of thinly veiled polemic, I enjoyed Anne's story. I found the heroine admirable, and the author even more so, because neither of them have the fault of saying aloud (or claiming to have said) everything she thought of saying whether at the time or later. Agnes, and I take it Anne also, was rather the type of young lady who held her tongue when she knew that saying what was in her mind would do no good. Perhaps this makes the book a let-down for readers in search of finger-snapping, histrionic tellings-off and scenes of operatic melodrama. No opera will ever be made from this book, soap or otherwise. But you come to the end of Agnes Grey's gentle adventure feeling kindly toward her, because she has been so kind, and sighing with satisfaction because (even if only in fantasy) it has ended as happily for her as she deserves. And you appreciate the wisdom in her particular happiness because she admits, more than average novel heroine does, that she and her loved ones will face change, and age, and death, and grief in the future... but they are prepared to meet it all.”
“I have finally turned from her more famous sisters to Anne Brontë and her first novel, Agnes Grey. Don't expect the tumultuous, the Gothic, or flashes of lightning and thunderclaps over the moors. Her style has been compared with Jane Austen's, and there's something in that. With gentle irony, Brontë gives us a homely tale of the trials and triumphs of a young provincial governess -- brutish children, difficult and haughty parents, and many moral lessons derived from Scripture. It's not riveting reading, and truth be told, the novel is saved by its more unattractive characters in much the same way as Austen's "Mansfield Park". There's love interest, thank heaven, in the person of a goodly curate. He, unlike Anne's sister's daemonic Heathcliff, does not hang Agnes' dog from the nearest tree, but adopts it until she might reclaim it in happy circumstances, and there we have the un-Brontishness of this novel in a nutshell. ”Lord Manleigh wrote this review Monday, August 20, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“When the Grey family begins to have financial problems, Agnes, a sheltered minister's daughter, begins life as a governess. She is shocked and appalled by how she is treated and what miracles she is expected to achieve. This book is a social commentary on the treatment of governesses and unruly children. It also touches on the charms of marrying for love instead of money. It was a quick read, but rather unexceptional.”Rachel B wrote this review Sunday, August 19, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Very good.”Denise Neary (Neise) wrote this review Monday, May 28, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Well based from this Anne was not near the writer Charlotte was. She does not develop the characters well enough somehow, I did not feel anything for the good ones until very late in, if at all. I was irritated with the kids and terrible parents who are evils in this world that are all too real and yet she failed to really bring them to life in the book. The whole thing lacked a certain humanity or relatable quality, which is what, I think, left me distant and detached from the character. Anne did not have any of those pretentious and irritating bouts of French without their accompanying translation like Charlotte. But Anne instead she brought the whole thing down with pious dogmatic lecture and religious preaching coupled with her scolding soliloquies on social conduct. What a downer. On to the story itself. I sorry but I just have little to no respect for the heroin. She is weak, stands for nothing, and is in a situation in which should could stand up for her personal morality and yet does nothing: becomes part of the machine. The story, the writing, it was all just so: blah! Even the big I love you at the end was so weak. My reaction was all just like; "whatever." It really lacked the poetic aspect of many her sister or even J Austen. Maybe it was not long enough; so it did not have the length to develop with such slow action. ”Docta wrote this review Wednesday, March 28, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No