Note: The image links to an inexpensive paperback edition of Shirley. If you would prefer the ebook, I recommend downloading a copy from Girlebooks.com.
For another book review, I am currently reading Shirley. This is the second time I have read the book, so I thought I could just skim through it, but it turns out there is a lot I don't remember.
I didn't remember, for one thing, how slow the beginning of the book is. It isn't until a third of the way through the book that Shirley shows up, and until then, the story wavers between interesting and not-so-interesting. However, once Shirley arrives, the pace of the narrative seems to speed up, and the plot becomes more interesting in general.
One of the interesting things about Shirley is that it was published the same year Charlotte Brontë's brother Branwell and sister Emily (author of Wuthering Heights) died. I have heard before that Shirley's character was patterned on Emily. Perhaps Shirley's late appearance in the book was because Charlotte was moved by her sister's illness to immortalize Emily in fiction.