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Agnes Grey

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  33,719 Ratings  ·  1,621 Reviews
At age 19 Anne Brontë left home and worked as a governess for a few years before becoming a writer. Agnes Grey was an 1847 novel based on her experience as a governess. Bronte depicts the precarious position of a governess and how that can affect a young woman. Agnes was the daughter of a minister whose family was in financial difficulty. She has only a few choices for emp ...more
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 251 pages
Published August 25th 1988 by Penguin Books (first published 1847)
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Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeCrime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Best Books of the 19th Century
98th out of 887 books — 4,860 voters
Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëThe Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne BrontëVillette by Charlotte BrontëAgnes Grey by Anne Brontë
Best of Brontë
5th out of 13 books — 304 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tatiana
Nov 27, 2010 Tatiana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, 1001, 2010
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
...more
Sherwood Smith
Aug 24, 2012 Sherwood Smith added it
Shelves: fiction
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
...more
Henry Avila
Feb 11, 2014 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. Her father, Richard, lost his money in a bad investment, the ship didn't come in, it sank, worse yet, he ow ...more
Paul
Nov 14, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it
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
...more
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 ...more
Lauren
Apr 12, 2016 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
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
...more
Sylvia
Mar 26, 2010 Sylvia rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: girls who care about virtue
Recommended to Sylvia by: Hannah Brockhaus
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 ...more
Cheryl
Jun 16, 2014 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of the Victorian novel
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 sist
...more
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
...more
Fenia
May 06, 2015 Fenia rated it it was amazing
Re-reading the classics is always a pleasure,especially if there's a Bronte involved xD ...more
Elizabeth
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
...more
Rane
Mar 10, 2015 Rane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
...more
Arwen56
A dispetto del fatto che Emily Brontë sia la più gettonata tra le sorelle, personalmente ho di gran lunga preferito Charlotte e, adesso, Anne.

“Cime tempestose” l’ho letto tanti anni fa, sia in inglese, sia in italiano, e mi ha estenuato. Heathcliff e Catherine sono praticamente un’accoppiata mortifera, una continua “sega mentale” di cui non si comprende lo scopo oltre a quello di tediare inutilmente il lettore. Molto di maniera e ligio ai canoni romantici dell’epoca.

“Jane Eyre”, invece, l’ho pre
...more
Celeste Corrêa
Miss Grey (1847) de Anne Brontë

Anne Brontë (1820-1849), a mais nova e menos famosa das geniais irmãs Brontë, e eu temos em comum a data de nascimento, 17 de Janeiro.

Anne Brontë teve de abandonar os estudos por falta de saúde e mais tarde foi preceptora em casa de uma família de Thorp Green, onde esteve quatro anos.

Miss Grey é um livro que, apesar de datado em certos aspectos, se lê com um enorme prazer e donde podemos retirar verdadeiras lições sobre a problemática do ensino e educação (em todos
...more
Richard
The position of governess is described in Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre and alluded to with some horror in Jane Austen's Emma as a last resort for the desperate. Now, having read this novel, I know why.

Agnes Grey is a girl who is beloved by her whole family, but when the family falls on hard times, she generously decides to get a job as a governess. Her illusions are shattered when she is given the job of civilizing a brood of horrid little monster children who refuse all attempts, no matte
...more
Salma
Mar 11, 2009 Salma rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Chandra and Abigail
The story is simple- Agnes Grey is a clergyman's daughter who wishes to earn her living as a governess. The book reads as a diary without the dates of her experiences 'teaching' the offspring of the 'cream of the crop' in nineteenth-century British society. I use those words in quotes because the narrator makes it very clear to the reader that learning for the sake of learning is not foremost on her students' minds. And she also makes it clear that she finds the fact that these shallow, arrogant ...more
Francine
There were a few things I really, really loved about Agnes Grey:
1. The beauty, simplicity and flow of Brontë's writing (in epistolary form, no less!),
2. The remarkably early consciousness regarding animal rights, and
3. The excitement of once again losing myself in a quaint, romantic little jaunt through Victorian England.

There were also a few things that really, really irked me about it:
1. Agnes (both the character and the work) had a tendency to be overly preachy and moralistic,
2. Despite being
...more
Isabel
Não querendo ferir susceptibilidades, mas possivelmente já o fazendo, tenho a dizer que detestei este livro.

A história começa com a fulana protagonista a ir trabalhar para a casa de uns ricos quaisquer, cujos filhos são terrivelmente insubordinados, e todos os esforços para os educar por parte da nossa malograda protagonista são totalmente em vão. A fulana tem dissabores vários, nessa casa; mais tarde, noutra casa e por aí fora. Sucede que, obviamente, a nossa fulana é pura e casta, como tal nã
...more
Christy B
When venturing forth on Anne's work, I decided to start with Agnes Grey, rather than her more popular The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Agnes Grey is more autobiographical.

One of the things I noticed that differentiated Anne from her sisters was she was more to the point, more realistic in her writing. There was no taking the long way around, she got you to the point good and fast, yet without missing the sights along the way.

Agnes Grey is the story of a young woman basically forced to become a gover
...more
Wealhtheow
Feb 15, 2010 Wealhtheow rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, victorian
A wealthy and feted woman falls in love with a humble clergyman, and insists on marrying him, although it loses her her dowry. The vicar cannot stop tormenting himself over all his wife gave up, to the extent that he loses what little money he has in a too-bold investment. As gentleborn, well-educated, penniless women, there are few options left for his daughters; the older takes up selling delicate watercolors, while the younger, Agnes, hires herself out as a governess. The first family she wor ...more
Rebecca
Jul 15, 2007 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: classics lovers
Shelves: classics
Again, I am very impressed with the style and proficiency of writing the youngest Bronte sister has. I really blazed through this book, whereas it took me a lot longer to read Villette (despite its being a much longer book, the time spent reading was disproportionate). I was intrigued by the article by Charlotte Bronte at the end of the book, where she reviews the life and works of her two younger sister, Emily and Anne. She really didn't understand Anne or her writing much at all. She had very ...more
Katie Lumsden
Apr 18, 2016 Katie Lumsden rated it really liked it
A brilliant Brontë, as always - historically fascinating in terms of examining the role of governesses in the 19th century, and a thoroughly moving love story besides.
Aubrey
3.5/5

When I say I've read better fanfiction than this, it doesn't mean I'm giving evidence of consistently applying this standard in my reviews, else I'd have to go back and edit a number of them in light of the 380k+ word behemoths I've imbibed over the years. Rather, I say this here because of this particular fiction's structural type, wish fulfilment in some quarters and the inevitable creative output of groups that are marginalized, canonically or otherwise, in others. Agnes Grey touches on
...more
Bruce
Apr 14, 2014 Bruce rated it really liked it
The novels of Anne Brontë are less read today than are those of her sisters Emily and Charlotte, but in recent decades they have received more recognition than before. I found this particular novel to be interesting and skillfully written, worthy of greater attention than it has received in the past.

The story is told in the first person by Agnes Grey, the daughter of an impoverished clergyman. Her mother married beneath her class and was disowned by her own family, but the marriage was a happy o
...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
Sigh. Should I review this? Probably not.

The character Agnes Grey, governess, is a pious bore. Since this is a disguised autobiography, it might follow that the author Anne Brontë was a pious bore as well, but since I did not and cannot know the lady, gentle reader, I am being grossly unfair, I know. Bad writing does not mean anything except the writer is a bad writer. However, after finishing Agnes Grey, I am getting a very unfavorable impression of Anne Brontë. She is the youngest sister of t
...more
Erica
I had hoped that this story would not make me stabby. Out of the three Brontë sisters, Anne has irritated me the least. I actually rather enjoyed The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, as far as I can remember. At least, I liked it more than Charlotte's tales or Emily's story.

But you know what? I've just listened (excellent narrator, by the way) to this tale of the overly judgmental, perfect-for-no-reason (coddled little brat!), work-shirking Victorian hipster and I feel stabby.

I need to embrace the fact
...more
Anne
If Agnes Grey was overall lacking in excitement and fun, it was nevertheless a very good novel with much merit. I think there were very good lessons to be learned from in there, and there were many passages and quotes that I loved and admired for their depths. Here a few of my favourites:

"They that have beauty, let them be thankful for it, and make a good use of it, like any other talent; they that have it not, let them console themselves, and do the best they can without it: certainly though l
...more
Simona Bartolotta
Apr 12, 2012 Simona Bartolotta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1800
"In ogni storia vera è racchiusa una morale."

Questa frase è l'incipit del nostro Agnes Grey. Orbene, se la storia ivi narrata è vera anche solo in parte, e se essa davvero contiene una morale, quale sarebbe questa morale?
Io lo so, io lo so!

La morale è: don't worry, anche se sei una giovane istitutrice buona, dolce e caritatevole tanto da far venire il vomito, remissiva tanto da passare per inetta, ingenua tanto da non sembrare verosimile, arriverà anche per te il vicario della zona che ti sollev
...more
Sarah Actually
I ended up really loving this. Anne is so clearly underrated. This book is really religious, so maybe that turns some people off, but I didn't mind it because there was a clear difference between the crappy religious people and the kind of religious people who love others, including people less fortunate than they are, and care about animals. I also found Agnes to be really funny and sarcastic and realistic. And a cat lady. And she falls in love with a cat guy. MR. WESTON IS WONDERFUL. The anima ...more
Eden
Apr 16, 2008 Eden rated it it was amazing
I love this book. Every time I reread it, I like it more. I love how gentle, how subdued, how circumspect the book is. I also love the themes it made me think about that I very rarely encounter in modern-day literature. Themes like: duty, community, love of God, repsonsibility to God, focusing on others needs before my own. These themes are thrilling to me because they feel so outside my present culture and it is amazing to me to see how much they guide Agnes' life.
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Anne Brontë was a British novelist and poet, the youngest member of the Brontë literary family. Anne's two novels, written in a sharp and ironic style, are completely different from the romanticism followed by her sisters, Emily Brontë and Charlotte Brontë. She wrote in a realistic, rather than a romantic style. Mainly because the re-publication of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was prevented by Char ...more
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“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.” 161 likes
“What business had I to think of one that never thought of me?” 106 likes
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