Monday, July 27, 2009

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

iconiconNote: The image links to Barnes & Noble's paperback and ebook editions.  If you prefer a free ebook version, you can download a nicely formatted one for free from

I actually finished this book at least a week ago, but I've been really busy and kept forgetting to blog about it.

Anyone who knows me or reads my blogs often probably already knows that I'm a Brontë fanatic. I visited Haworth in March, and have read Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Shirley, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall multiple times each.

Anne Brontë is my favorite of the three sisters — I absolutely adore The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I hadn't read Agnes Grey yet, though, so when a friend gave me a book on the Brontë sisters' books and the influences on them, I decided I needed to hurry up and finish reading their novels before reading the new book.

Flipping through the book our friend gave me, I saw a comment about how the reader can see a lot of growth between Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. This is absolutely true. Agnes Grey had a lot of description and much more "telling" than "showing," and is a much less involved plot than Tenant. Tenant, on the other hand, shows a lot of growth in the development of plot, characters, and narration.

Agnes Grey is an interesting story and worth reading if you are a big Brontë fan — I think it really helps to understand Anne's work to see its progression. I also can't help but wonder how much of the observations and events that took place in Agnes Grey came from Anne's real-life experiences as a governess. However, the book is not for everyone, and is much more difficult to appreciate on the basis of the story alone than Tenant.

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