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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  103,249 ratings  ·  6,153 reviews
'She looked so like herself that I knew not how to bear it'

In this sensational, hard-hitting and passionate tale of marital cruelty, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall sees a mysterious tenant, Helen Graham, unmasked not as a 'wicked woman' as the local gossips would have it, but as the estranged wife of a brutal alcoholic bully, desperate to protect her son.

Using her own exper
Paperback, Penguin English Library, 524 pages
Published June 28th 2012 by Penguin Books (first published 1848)
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Jeanine I think you will be able to understand it. If you want to start with a smaller book, a very good one is "Agnes Grey," by Anne Bronte. Another really g…moreI think you will be able to understand it. If you want to start with a smaller book, a very good one is "Agnes Grey," by Anne Bronte. Another really good book, my favorite, is "Villette," by Charlotte Bronte, a wonderful story & romance. Both books are wonderful. One of my favs when I was younger, is a lesser-known book, "Work," by Louisa May Alcott, which is about a young woman's search for meaningful life through work. In those days, it was extremely hard for women to find work, because of the rampant sexism then. I have one bit of advice. Something I did not like to do when I was in high school, was read the introductions to these books. I found them tedious & didn't see the reason for it. Big mistake. Always read the intros. It will give you so much insight into the meanings, usually multiple meanings, of the stories. It makes reading the stories so much more enjoyable. I hope you enjoy these books & many more, too. Here is a link to a list of 20 lesser-known classics, by female writers. I'm familiar with a couple, but will try to read the others, too. :) http://www.bustle.com/articles/63615-...(less)
Ms C Bruen As well as the experience of watching Branwell's alcoholism and drug addiction close up, Anne also worked as a governess in two different homes. In th…moreAs well as the experience of watching Branwell's alcoholism and drug addiction close up, Anne also worked as a governess in two different homes. In the second, Branwell came to work as well and became intimately involved with the wife of the house, having an affair and all the disgrace that came with that. Anne had been reasonably happy in that position and had to leave because of Branwell's actions. Anne had a more worldly experience of life than either of her sisters, especially Emily. While what she wrote here was only partly from personal witness, Anne knew more of the lives of her so-called betters than might be imagined when looking at the general notion of the sister's lives.

For a book that is almost completely from her own experience, I'd recommend Agnes Grey about a governess and how awful life could be for governesses.(less)

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doesn't roll off the tongue like middlemarch march, but elle and i bravely march on in our project of reading long classics in small installments over the course of a month.

also - not enough houses have names these days, in my opinion. might start walking around calling my apartment Oakbrook Abbey or some nonsense.

anyway. let's do it!

imagine if you were at a party and you made a new friend so you told him about yourself and were like
Jun 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ruby Granger
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this once before (I was thirteen and we went to the beach for the day; I read it in a single sitting and didn't end up swimming at all because I loved it so much!). The plot is fast-paced and was just as enjoyable this time around.

The book is written part-epistolary and part-diary. Like Frankenstein, the form is a writing inside of writing inside of writing. This raises so many questions about validity & reliability of the story, especially with regards to the meticulous dialogue... I

(Find the full sized image here.)

Before we discovered Anne Brontë, some of us fancied Heathcliff. We wanted to fix him, tame him, soothe his tortured soul. Or maybe if you preferred the more mature and experienced man, you craved Mr Rochester. Perhaps you even draped yourself out of your bedroom window on stormy nights, convinced that someone somewhere was calling to you.

Not any more. It's time to ditch those Byronic heroes, everyone. No more 'mad, bad and dangerous to know'; only sober, honest
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
I really enjoyed this one... more than Jane Eyre!

I knew I needed to decide which Bronte sister I liked the most and this is it. Anne was definitely a feminist and it shows in this book. I definitely understand why it was controversial when it was first published.

(view spoiler)
Henry Avila
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unknown woman suddenly appears in the dilapidated mansion Wildfell Hall, abandoned for many years by the wealthy family that owned it as uninhabitable, surrounded by the bleak moorlands in a remote quiet village, in the northern English countryside during the early part of the 19th century, no one knew she was coming the locals are very curious who is she ? What is she doing calling herself Mrs.Graham, a widow with a lively five- year -old boy Arthur. The villagers distrust outsiders, the glo ...more
Charlotte Kersten
Helen: [slams and locks the bedroom door on her abusive husband in a ground-breaking proto-feminist statement; insists that his abuse is not her fault; realizes that she can't change him despite the cult of domesticity's insistence to the contrary; refuses to have sex with him after she learns of his affair, denying the law of coverture; leaves him to live independently; pulls a knife on another absolute creep who is trying to grab her]

There's also her response to Mr. Hargrave's overwrought,
"Reformed rakes make the best husbands."

This is the maxim that governs the universe of historical romance novels. That a puerile assumption regarding dissolute cads turning into paragons of puritanical goodness on being administered the vital dosage of a virgin's 'love' fuels women's fantasies in this day and age depresses me to no end.
In a sense, this is the dialectical opposite of Kerouac's On the Road in that it systematically demystifies a contrived notion of masculine 'coolness' - the
Paul Bryant
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Some movies are really pretty bad except for one transcendent performance, Sophie’s Choice for instance. The glittering pallid Meryl Streep is just brilliant whilst the movie itself is a bit of a pain. Same with novels.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a game of three halves. For the first 100 pages the tiresomely earnest Gilbert Markham tells his tale of how he fell in love with the new lady tenant of the crumbling hall and how she drove him crazy with her intense mysteriousness and this is all v
Bravissima, Brontë!

There is a straight logical line leading from the brilliant fiction of Anne Brontë, written in 1847, to Margaret Atwood's equally persuasive The Handmaid's Tale of our own era. Eloquent, erudite, witty women describe what makes patriarchal, Christian society brutally unjust to any woman of feeling and intelligence, and not just in extreme cases, but in its core idea of women's roles and choice(lessness) - their suppressed individual right to self-defined sexuality and their d
The Tenant of the Wildfell Hall is the second novel and my first reading of Anne Bronte. The first thought that came to mind while reading this was why it took me this long to discover her? I was familiar with her more famous sisters Charlotte and Emily but didn't know of her existence until a very recent time!

Anne's writing is far different from that of her sisters. Her approach to writing is more direct. There is no poetic language, no implied romanticism, and less flowery phrases, which is th
Bionic Jean
Who is the mysterious new tenant of Wildfell Hall. Why is she so proud and unapproachable? And why has she chosen to live in such a desolate, forbidding place?

“What have I done? and what will be the end of it?”

Intrigued? Then how about if I say that the great author Charlotte Brontë said that this novel should never have been written, and it would be better for everyone if it never saw the light of day again. Harsh words indeed, from Anne Brontë’s elder sister.

Critics loathed The Tenant of Wildf
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a surprisingly good read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was.

I think when you read a Classic like this you have to immerse yourself in the time when it was written and this one goes back to the mid 1840s, a time when the pace of life was slower, and when there was no Television or social media and a time when snail mail and word of mouth were the facebook and twitter of the time. I think if you have the ability to do this you would love and enjoy this novel as I am sure this was a rocking good
Katie Lumsden
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is incredible. Such a brilliant beautiful and impressive examination of marriage, gender and social status in the 19th century. A wonderful, wonderful novel.
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
An autobiographical novel that shocked society at the time, it mainly addresses the problems caused by alcoholism and debauchery and the struggle of women to achieve equal rights. Gilbert Markham is deeply attached to Helen, a woman who has a reputation for being immoral and hiding an obscure past, which he always tries to defend even if he does not know the truth. Only over time does Helen gains confidence and reveals her sad history, poorly treated and badly loved by an alcoholic and an unfait ...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
My God!! Why!!!!

I was so in love with this book!! I was going to give it 5 stars, slap it on my favorites list and save up to buy this expensive edition!! Then….

we get to the part where she blah blah blah and goes back to where she came from to do stupid things and I got so irritated and felt sorry for what’s his head that I almost snapped. Sigh……………………

I’m glad some people have 3,695 days to get things done 🤨 So 4 stars

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Mar 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-owned
*editing this to full 5 stars, as I am liking this more as I think about it days later* Man oh man, I think this is now my second favorite Bronte novel? A seriously underhyped classic, this was truly a pleasure to read. The only thing that holds me back from a full 5 stars is that I STAN Helen on another level and Gilbert was a little too derpy for my tastes, but I am going to be noodling on this one for quite some time. What a statement about women and their work, feminism, and how much people ...more
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
[4.5 stars]

Move over, Charlotte. Make room for my new favorite Brontë!

It is inevitable for me to compare Anne Brontë with her sisters, and Helen Graham with Jane Eyre particularly, but I shall momentarily do so anyway. Some said this was better than any Brontë novel published, some claimed it deeply overhyped. After reading this, I shall have to agree with the former claim as I thought this book surpassed, to quite an extent, the love I had for Jane Eyre.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall shook me from
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Brontë

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is the second and final novel by the English author Anne Brontë. It was first published in 1848 under the pseudonym Acton Bell.

The novel is framed as a series of letters from Gilbert Markham to his friend about the events connected with his meeting a mysterious young widow, calling herself Helen Graham, who arrives at Wildfell Hall, an Elizabethan mansion which has been empty for many years, with her young son and a servant.

Feb 05, 2022 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2022
emma and my big classic project for april, where we read a few chapters a day for a month and scream about it.


i didn't like it. it was a solid four star then a three star and then it just tapered into a two star. i know i apologized for comparing anne to her other two (better) sisters, but maybe you deserve to be compared, anne. this is the poor man's jane eyre but not really because you can't even compare the two.

i hated gilbert's point of view because i think he's an insufferable d
The question "Jane Eyre or Catherine Earnshaw[/Linton/whatever]?" has always annoyed me. I couldn't stand Wuthering Heights, accomplished though it was, and I think lots of people tend to assume I must be something of a Jane Eyre devotee: I'm not. I'm really not.

The next time someone asks me which I prefer, I shall tell them: Helen Huntingdon. Emphatically, enthusiastically, and with the fire of a thousand suns. Helen Huntingdon don't need no man. She's had enough of your friendzoning bullshit.
Helene Jeppesen
This was a beautiful love story with one of the most interesting narrative styles I've ever encountered. Without saying too much, the narration of this story shifts, and the overall style is not your typical narration style of a novel. Does this make sense? :P I hope not, because I want for you to read this book and see for yourself what I'm talking about (also I'm really tired when writing this, so bear with me).
Anne Brontë has a way of creating very complicated and also mean characters, and I
April (Aprilius Maximus)
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I really enjoyed this! Not as much as Jane Eyre (which will always be my favourite Brontë novel), but Anne was so ahead of her time with this. We stan a feminist icon!

TW: abusive relationships
Carolyn Marie Castagna
Dec 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Anne Brontë was greatly ahead of her time!
I was fascinated by her discussions on alcoholism, marriage, motherhood, loyalty, proto feminism, an emotionally cruel marriage, as well as strength in the face of hardship. I think these themes were dealt with in a way that felt very modern. At times I even felt like I was reading a contemporary book set in the Victorian period.
Unfortunately, I had a hard time not comparing Anne's writing to her sisters.
Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are saturated i
That was a rather long letter, eh?
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Let’s start with some fun facts: One of my most used annotations in regards to Mr Huntingdon was: “the fuck outta here” and “ew”. One of my most used annotations in regards to Gilbert was: “kill it with fire” and “ew”. One of my most used annotations in regards to Helen was: “ugh” and “can’t relate”. Clearly, I had a good time.

The only reason why I didn’t rate The Tenant of Wildfell Hall one star is the fact that I gave Anne an additional star for good intentions. Yes, I am a generous hoe. The
Oct 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before writing this review, I re-read my review of Agnes Grey, Anne’s first novel, in which I gave it only 2 stars because I found it too boring. After posting my review, a number of GR friends said I should read this novel, and that I might like it more than her first work. And they were right. I give this novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848; T.C. Newby, London) a solid 3 stars.

The edition I read was a Penguin Classic paperback (1979, 1985) with an Introduction by Winifred Gerin. I am glad
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved so much this book, it was not an easy reading for me, it went very slow in some parts
The characters were very peculiar and interesting, had to concentrate a lot because there are maybe fifty different secondary of them.... so some parts of the book have been read twice to fully understand the connections...
i did not know much about this book before the reading, i was quite surprised to find this psycopathology way of life underlying all the plot, this will surrounds many relations
"How odd it is that we so often weep for each other's distresses when we shed not a tear for our own!"


I adored this book. I devoured this book. I think Anne Bronte might just be my favorite Bronte. Don't quote me on that. (But maybe do)

This story had me hooked from the start. I've become quite the classics fan over the past few years, and this one had me from the summary alone. It felt like it was calling my name honestly. Not only have I become a fan of the classics, but books written in l
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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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