Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review: Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë

Title: Agnes Grey
Author: Anne Brontë
Format: Paperback
Publish Date: 1847
Source: Owned

What's the Story?:

From "Written when women—and workers generally—had few rights in England, Agnes Grey exposes the brutal inequities of the rigid class system in mid-nineteenth century Britain. Agnes comes from a respectable middle-class family, but their financial reverses have forced her to seek work as a governess. Pampered and protected at home, she is unprepared for the harsh reality of a governess’s life. At the Bloomfields and later the Murrays, she suffers under the snobbery and sadism of the selfish, self-indulgent upper-class adults and the shrieking insolence of their spoiled children. Worse, the unique social and economic position of a governess—“beneath” her employers but “above” their servants—condemns her to a life of loneliness."

My Two Cents:

I've been trying to get more classics into my reading diet. There are so many good ones out there that I haven't read yet! I always find myself sort of intimidated by classics. I'm worried that I'm not going to understand them or that I'm not going to like them. I'm always excited when I find a classic that I can really get into. "Agnes Grey" is definitely one of those books! Anne Bronte is probably the least famous writer if we're talking about her, Charlotte, and Emily. Since I've read things by her sisters, I was excited to see how her writing was.

The character of Agnes was drawn from Anne's own experiences of being a governess. I always wonder how closely books that draw on an author's experience actually mirror that author's experience. "Agnes Grey" is a really interesting picture of women who lived during Anne Bronte's time and it feels very realistic, sometimes to a fault. There are no flourishes and not much intrigue, even when it comes to the love story within the book. Agnes is a conventional woman who seems to be more of an observer than a doer in this book.

We get to follow Agnes as she sets out to be a governess in order to help make money for her family. She starts out sort of naive but begins to flower as she has to start making a life for herself in the real world. She really goes through a change.

Overall, I liked this book. It really feels like a slice of life kind of book. It's a solid classic.


  1. Great review! I love the Bronte sisters (Charlotte especially!), but I've been hesitant to read the less popular works. I really want to like them, and I'm afraid I won't.

  2. Good for you....tackling the classics! That is one thing I can't do. I like retellings, but the 'old English' makes me work to hard! Occasionally we have a classic 'assigned' for book club, and I end up pulling out the Cliff notes!

    1. The language is actually pretty accessible in this book :)


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