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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  39,702 ratings  ·  1,583 reviews
Note: Editions of The Tenant that start with: "You must go back with me..." are incomplete. Actual opening line of the novel is: "To J. Halford, Esq. Dear Halford, when we were together last..."

In "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, "Anne Bronte chronicles the disillusionment, heartbreak, and final devastation of an intelligent woman who falls in love with a rake. She flees her...more
Paperback, 878 pages
Published 1994 by Penguin Books (first published 1848)
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Amy
Carol said I must list my all time favorite books. What a challenge this is! I have read everything those Bronte girls wrote, even their childhood poetry and I love all of it. But Anne will take the showing on my list for her bravery. Of course Charlotte was the most prolific and Emily the true brainiac, but Anne has my complete respect for being a true literary pioneer: she was the first woman to write of a wife leaving her abusive husband - and then goes on to lead a happy, successful life! Up...more
K.D. Absolutely
May 09, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
The tenant that is being referred to in the title of this book, The Tenant of the Wildfell Hall is not actually a tenant. She owns the place being the child of the owner. She is born there and only comes back because she is running away from her alcoholic husband. The husband is slowly introducing alcohol to their 5-y/o child and so she bangs the door to her husband’s face, runs away to her former home, the estate called Wildfell under a fictitious name. The act of a married woman running away f...more
Sarah
Poor Helen. Poor Anne. Poor book...

Anne is just as much a Brontë as her sisters! Her voice, in many ways, completes the harmony and picks up where the two of them leave off. True, there are no fires, ghosts, or windswept moors. But, as one critic noted, "The slamming of Helen's bedroom door against her husband reverberated throughout Victorian England."

I struggle with Victorian literature, because I don't have a clear sense of context. It's difficult for me to separate the author from her time....more
Margaret
Anne Bronte's second novel is often overshadowed by her sisters' more famous novels, Charlotte's Jane Eyre (and three others) and Emily's Wuthering Heights, but it is equally worth reading. It tells the story of Helen Huntingdon, a mysterious woman who comes to live at Wildfell Hall with her child and one servant, and Gilbert Markham, the young man who is powerfully drawn to her and eventually learns her secret: that she left her dissolute, drunken husband in order to shield their son from his i...more
MJ Nicholls
The second novel Anne wrote before she caught pulmonary tuberculosis shortly after her 29th birthday. Certainly not something on those 100 Things To Do Before You’re 30 Lists. 1) Paragliding. 2) Kayaking. 3) Catch pulmonary TB and die. See? Good. The problem with those lists is they presuppose readers like the outdoors and have a private income of some three zillion units. Far better the lists have simpler aims for us mortals: 1) Eat a probiotic yoghurt. 2) Bumslide down a banister. 3) Help dryw...more
Sherwood Smith
I suspect that many readers today have no idea that these three vicarage-raised spinsters took the English publishing world by storm in the mid-eighteen hundreds. Thundering from reviews were words like coarse, shocking, immoral, depraved . . . and those reviewers thought the authors Acton, Ellis, and Currer Bell were men!

Tenant hit the shelves with the biggest splash, requiring a second edition, at the front of which Anne added an impassioned forward aimed at critics. She maintains that she is...more
Bethany
I can't believe that this book isn't more widely read, I mean Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice are usually mentioned when discussing classic works of fiction by women- yet this is relatively ignored.
I honestly didn't know of this books existence before I went to the library and saw it on the shelf. I didn't know Anne had written anything other than poems. I often feel that Anne is in Emily and Charlotte's shadow but this piece of work is truly inspiring - perhaps more so at...more
Whitaker
I felt, reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, as if I was watching a black-and-white silent movie. There was the same sense of expressions and gestures exaggerated, made larger than life. Emotions were felt ten-fold. Characters are never just sad, they must be sullenly despondent; they are never just in love, but passionate, painfully so:
She turned from me to hide the emotion she could not quite control; but I took her hand and fervently kissed it. 'Gilbert, do leave me!' she cried, in a tone of
...more
Tatiana
Funny how things change. I used to love this book. I pretty much can't stand it now. 3 stars (it was 5 before today) is just an obligatory i-appreciate-but-not-really-care-for-it rating.

Anne Brontë and I would have never been friends, because it's hard to be a friend with someone so damn righteous and unbendable. Sure, Helen Graham and Agnes Grey are fictional characters, but is there a doubt they are reflections of the author? Not in my mind.

Granted, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a huge impro...more
C.A.
Anne Bronte is severely, severely underrated. This book is fascinating. It's a work of quiet rebellion; the rebellion of Helen and of Anne herself, who is working to subvert some of the Romantic conventions. My edition had a great introduction that posited Helen as a Byronic hero. Admittedly I'm stuck on books that create the female artist (I actually think this has a lot in common with Emily's Quest-- the heroine coded with some male virtues of independence and mystery, the threat of the Heathc...more
Alun Williams

I avoided reading any books by the Brontë sisters for many years, after failing to finish Villette, and then being put off further by Charlotte Brontë's well-known remarks about Jane Austen. After coming across an old copy of Jane Eyre I decided it was time to give the sisters another chance. I quite enjoyed Jane Eyre; Wuthering Heights, which I read next, I liked less. Then I turned to Anne, not expecting much more than a paler version of her sisters' works.

Instead I find myself reading one of...more
Joseph
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is one of the books that had me banging my head as to why I have waited this long to find it. The Bronte sisters were on my neglected read list for 2013 so I started with the sister I didn't know, Anne. I liked Agnes Grey so I jumped into this book immediately after finishing Agnes Grey.

Gilbert Markham is the story teller or more correctly the letter writer as the novel is the letter Gilbert is writing. Anne Bronte assumes the identity of Gilbert writing as a male fo...more
Mary Harju
Loving a rake can have it's downside. Just as for men there's a madonna/whore complex, for women there's a priest/devil complex when it comes to men. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall presents this rake at his worst and gives us a female protagonist, Helen Huntingdon, who's strong enough to overcome his charm and escape from his power. Helen is, in fact, a thoroughly Byronic character in her own right, who turns up in a small town with a hidden history and a mysterious allure that fascinates more than...more
Marieke
That was a rather long letter, eh?
Amy
I adored 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall'. To me, it combined the best bits of 'Jane Eyre' and 'Wuthering Heights' and smashed them together in a wonderful story of intrigue, at the heart of which Helen Lawrence.

Helen is a fascinating character, who attracts the attention of Gabriel Markham who serves a similar role of Lockwood in 'Wuthering Heights', in that Helen's backstory is told with the help of him; when he obtains her diaries. The main difference is probably that Markham plays a more intera...more
Barry Pierce
Sep 22, 2013 Barry Pierce rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Brontë fans and feminists
This is Austen with balls. By far the most controversial of the Brontë novels, "The Tenant of Wildfall Hall" is a story of abuse, alcoholism, and a woman's struggle to survive the harsh realities of a male dominated society. This is often lauded as the "first feminist novel" because it portrays a strong female protagonist in an abusive marriage which mirrored the scenes of many homes in England at the time.

Guys, this was great. Although I must say it's not up there with "Jane Eyre", it greatly...more
Jeannette
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Misfit
This is a very different novel from the other of Anne Bronte's that I've read, Agnes Grey. The story is told mostly from the first person viewpoint of Gilbert Markham as he and his fellow villagers meet the mysterious new tenant of Wildfell Hall, the widowed Mrs. Graham, who has a bit of a mystery about her and her young son.

As feelings grow between the two main characters, the story is shifted to the viewpoint of Mrs. Graham as retold through a diary she wrote, and about her life married to an...more
Irina
Apr 07, 2012 Irina rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Irina by: Daiana
Shelves: english

“Was first published in June 1848 to imediate succes. Its bold treatament of the subject of women’s equality, at a time when convention dictated submissiveness, meant that it has often been hailed as the first sustained feminist novel.”

I love Bronte sisters. Firstly, I read Wuthering Heights and then, after 3 years, I moved on to the secondly book of Bronte’s and now I really don’t know why I’ve waited so long.
This was the first book I’ve read in english so I suppose this is why I’m considering...more
Michael
I thought I would read Anne Brontë before reading Charlotte Brontë; Why? Because I didn’t want to go with the most popular of the three; before exploring Anne and Emily. I loved Wuthering Heights for its unexpected story, with The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, I was secretly hoping from more of that. But instead I was presented with a book that while it with very much a Victorian novel; it did push topics, like Divorce, Abuse, Alcoholism, Feminism, Adultery and many more issues to do with morels.

I’v...more
Sunday

(This is how I felt. After I read it.)

Compared to the gothic unicorns that are Charlotte and Emily, Anne is like a reliable and sensible donkey, loaded up with packs of Vitamin C and Band-Aids. Her writing is lovely, but this is seriously a ho-hum tale of female woe in the Victorian era, when women had to flee their husbands by candlelight instead of getting a $50 buck divorce.

This book is one big warning about imprudent marriages, which is just sound advice in general, and is pretty dull. It's...more
Abi
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I have an acute fear of marriage.

Okay so I do have a tendency to relate the works of 18th-19th century female novelists to my life, but hey, is it my fault my community is like 2 centuries behind on the women's liberation thing?

I see a lot of commentary that TWH is largely overlooked as being in the shadow of Jane Eyre. I think I'm going to commit literary blasphemy here and say that I think this is WAY WAY WAY BETTER.

That's no damnation of Jane Eyre anyhow...more
S.
Anne is the neglected Brontë, overshadowed by her famous sisters. I never gave much thought to reading her until #readwomen2014 came along and I made a rough list of writers to try. I am so glad. I loved this book. It’s like an action movie of the emotions, with some passionate exaltation or desperate abyss achieved on every page.

Instead of a car chase there is taking a walk hoping the beloved will appear.
Instead of a gang fight there is a man ordering the servants to confiscate a woman’s pain...more
Helen
I read this book a while ago, but while browsing my recommendations, the title came up. I thought I'd write a quick review as it's one of the less popular Brontë novels, but it's rather outstanding in my opinion. Anne Brontë's novel seems much more feminist that her sister's books. I'm a big fan of Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and Villette, but here we have a new take on the Byronic hero. Here the Byronic hero is just like Byron! A violent sot hell bent on self destruction and self gratification...more
Boof
Feb 12, 2009 Boof rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: British classics lovers
After reading Jane Eyre (for the first time) just recently and falling totally head over heals with that book, I had an urge to try some more Bronte (albeit the lesser known one) and picked up The Tennant of Wildfell Hall . I wanted to love it, I really did, and to be fair I adored the first half.

The Bronte's have a way of pulling you in, making the characters jump off the page. For the first 200 pages of The Tennant I was in love with this book. I loved Gilbert, the narrator, and I was in...more
El
So I read Charlotte's Jane Eyre, and it was pretty okay, though it took a second reading years later to fully appreciate it; even after the second reading I was still left feeling a little bleh about the whole thing. I read Emily's Wuthering Heights and was so irate that I refused to even read it again. I had this impression that the Brontes weren't all they were cracked up to be (sorta like how I feel about Jane Austen as well); good enough, but not WONDERFUL, and that their personal lives were...more
Simon
Perhaps the most overtly intellectual of the Bronte novels (forgive me, I can't be bothered to worry about formatting the diacritical mark over their name). It is explicitly feminist, presenting reasoned discussion among characters over the double standard, as well as action that strikingly depicts the injustice of marriage law in England at the time. I wouldn't be surprised, also, if it weren't unusual in its description of interaction between masters/mistresses and servants, which, outside com...more
Sharon
In college I took a course on Women and Literature, and I'm disappointed that on all the great works written by women or about the struggles women have faced through history...this wonderful work wasn't included! Anne is often the "forgotten Bronte" to her big sisters Charlotte and Emily. However, in my opinion, she's my favorite *gasp!* I certainly enjoyed this book more than Wuthering Heights! Anne Bronte was certainly a woman ahead of her time; not only does she write a novel about a female p...more
aPriL purrs 'n hisses
Very interesting righteous judgmental novel on the dualing states of being rich and alcoholic and proud of it vs. "it is well for me that I am doing my duty," said I, with a bitterness I could not repress, "for it is the only comfort I have; and the satisfaction of my own conscience, it seems, is the only reward I need look for!". Page 428.

Actually, I agreed with the book's message on all counts. Alcoholism, money, patriarchal-powered legal systems, powerless women and children, and false moral...more
Furqan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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
More about Anne Brontë...
Agnes Grey The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Agnes Grey The Works of the Brontë Sisters The Complete Works of the Bronte Sisters Best Poems of the Brontë Sisters

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“But smiles and tears are so alike with me, they are neither of them confined to any particular feelings: I often cry when I am happy, and smile when I am sad.” 278 likes
“I cannot love a man who cannot protect me.” 137 likes
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