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Agnes Grey

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  54,458 ratings  ·  3,644 reviews
An alternate cover edition can be found here.

Drawing heavily from personal experience, Anne Brontë wrote Agnes Grey in an effort to represent the many 19th Century women who worked as governesses and suffered daily abuse as a result of their position.

Having lost the family savings on risky investments, Richard Grey removes himself from family life and suffers a bout of dep
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 251 pages
Published August 25th 1988 by Penguin Books (first published December 1847)
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Patricia Ferreira Thank you. I didn't know The tennat of Wildfell hall. Will read it now.…moreThank you. I didn't know The tennat of Wildfell hall. Will read it now.(less)

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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  54,458 ratings  ·  3,644 reviews

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Nov 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, classics, 1001
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
It pains me to only give this three stars, mainly because of the tremendous respect I have for what the three Bronte sisters accomplished in their short lives, and because Anne was overshadowed by her older sisters, Charlotte and Emily. Agnes Grey, the first of Anne's two novels (1847), was overshadowed by Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, also published in 1847. But Agnes Grey did two things: one, it gave us insight into Anne's life, her feelings, because it was partly autobiographical, reflecti ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Agnes Grey, Anne Brontë

Agnes Grey, A Novel is the debut novel of English author Anne Brontë.

The novel follows Agnes Grey, a governess, as she works within families of the English gentry. Scholarship and comments by Anne's sister Charlotte Brontë suggest the novel is largely based on Anne Brontë's own experiences as a governess for five years.

Agnes Grey is the daughter of Mr. Grey, a minister of modest means, and Mrs. Grey, a woman who left her wealthy family and married purely out of love.

Henry Avila
Jul 02, 2013 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. The father, Richard, lost his money in a bad investment, his ship didn't come in, it sank, worse yet, he owe ...more
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"... for nothing can be taught to any purpose without some little exertion on the part of the learner."

So here we are, finding consolation in reading about the reality of schooling in a novel published almost two centuries ago. That quote is true, my dear Agnes alias Anne. And how come we still don't quote you on each curriculum, on each report card, on each test result?

Well, that is because you let your governess alter ego discover the other eternal truth as well, known to teachers of all curr
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it

Having watched recently the film To Walk Invisible, and having also finished not long ago Wuthering Heights, while I was reading this I could not but imagine the two sisters, Emily and Anne, sitting around the same table, either in the dining room or in the kitchen, each leaning over a very small notebook and writing away their novels in silence. Both sharing and not sharing; keeping each other’s company, but also guarding the privacy of their thoughts and their writing from the other sister.

Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Agnes Grey is Anne Bronte’s first attempt at a novel. It is partly autobiographic. Young Anne Bronte worked as a governess with a view to support her family. Her time as a governess made her see the precarious position of a governess; they were not servants and nor of the family. This made both quarters at a loss as how to treat a governess. Anne’s time as a governess were filled with bitter experiences and it is not surprising that at Anne’s first attempt at writing that she should bring a fe ...more
Hannah Greendale
Aside from the fact that Agnes Grey's love interest chides her for being a "perfect bookworm" and says, "Except under particular circumstances, I consider very close and constant study as a waste of time, and an injury to the mind as well as the body," this is a sweet and tender love story. ...more
Nov 14, 2015 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
Sherwood Smith
May 05, 2009 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
Finding myself reading a book about a governess I searched around for comparisons, the only one that came to my mind was Jane Eyre written after Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë's big sister Charlotte.

Charlotte in her tale of a governess adds breath taking, astonishing, Gothic elements - childhood punishments, a madwoman in the attic, a dramatic fire, the anguished cry of a lover heard an unfeasible number of miles away, plus liberal anti-French sentiment and race prejudice, Agnes Grey eschews all tha
Anne Brontë is without doubt my favorite of the three Brontë sisters.

Agnes is the narrator and central protagonist of this story. She is the younger of two daughters in a loving family. Her father, a parson, has lost family savings through unwise speculation. He is by nature too trusting, too believing in the goodness of man. His wife and daughters continue to love and support him.

Agnes, determined to never become a burden to her family, looks for a position as a governess.

So why do I like this
Amalia Gkavea
“I still preserve those relics of past sufferings and experience, like pillars of witness set up in travelling through the valve of life, to mark particular occurrences. The footsteps are obliterated now; the face of the country may be changed; but the pillar is still there, to remind me how all things were when it was reared.”
This book draws from the author's own experience as a governess in the first half of the 19th century. It is a world where a distance of two miles is considered far and makes daily visits practically impossible. A range of 80 miles is a day's journey. In this confined world, everyone knows and observes one's neighbours. Young Agnes, the protagonist of the book, leaves her close-knit family to work as a governess. With an astonishing amount of patience, she does her best to teach the spoiled chil ...more
Manuel Antão
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1981
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Juxtaposing of Characters: "Agnes Grey" by Anne Brontë

(Original Review, 1981-02-06)

I read "Agnes Grey" after a visit to the Mosteiros dos Jerónimos, supposing I ought to try the lesser known sister after reading so much of Charlotte's work and of course “Wuthering Heights.” What a wonderful surprise. Anne had me at "...she would rather live in a cottage with Richard Grey than in a palace with any other man in the world."
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: If you're new to classics: this is the perfect gateway book
Agnes is in desperate need of a visit from Nanny McPhee and I am in desperate need of a Mr Weston.

Utterly charming. Anne’s sharp sardonic wit and waspish humour is so compelling. Agnes Grey perfectly encapsulates the horror of a first job - or my first job, anyway. In theory, this could be satire... were it not for the very real situations Anne depicts. This is ruthless realism; her exposé was an explosive truth that no one wanted to tell - or hear.

“Agnes Grey is a sort of younger sister to Jan
Umut Rados
This was a weird one really. It won't be my favourite Bronte and not among my favourite Victorian reads for sure.
Actually it started really well. I loved hte coming of age beginning in the book for Agnes Grey and I thought we ventured on some adventures by the time she decided to become a governess. But, after that it went downhill really. I don't understand why we spent so much time for the first house with the wicked children. Then onto another one with other spoiled girls and Agnes' inabilit
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
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
Out of all the Brontë sisters, Anne is definitely my favorite writer. I throughly enjoyed Agnes Grey and I adored The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
The book centers around Agnes Grey. Agnes is the youngest daughter of a minister and much of the story details her exploits as a governess (a position she took to help her family out financially). Agnes Grey is what I call “a slow but thoughtful read”-it’s not full of exciting adventures but it is a well-written and interesting book that kept me engaged t
Roel ✿ [semi hiatus due to finals]
Although Agnes Grey doesn't seem to be cut out for getting placed at the top of any Brontë novel-rankings, I still found it to be stunningly dignified, and a positively charming tale. It has more of a shallow pacing, rather than a regular build-up to a high peak of tension, which is something I haven't seen done in this manner before, but which also made it all the more interesting to me.

"When we hear a little good and no harm of a person, it is easy and pleasant to imagine more."

The story f
Iryna *Book and Sword*
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
4/5 stars

“One bright day in the last week of February, I was walking in the park, enjoying the threefold luxury of solitude, a book, and pleasant weather.”

By reading Agnes Grey I've sufficiently accomplished my goal of reading a book from each sister.

Despite many similarities in sisters' writing and the messages that they are portraying - the three of them are also very different.

The first sister I had the pleasure of reading was Emily, and it's easy to assume that she was the risk taker of th
Dec 12, 2007 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
Jun 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster when you read this Bronte tome.

I tried to read it all in one sitting, but having to attend work intervenied.

I loved it. I read it in one sitting. To whoever believes that Anne is the weakest of the Brontë sisters, I ask you to read Agnes Grey.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
So the message of this one isn't so much "men are trash" as "rich people are trash." This is essentially the 19th century precursor of The Nanny Diaries, in which we see young naive Anne-- pardon me, I mean AGNES-- go into the homes of the wealthy as a governess, and see her treated like an inconvenient ghost.

The strange position of governesses is also brought up in Jane Eyre. They aren't servants, but they aren't family. They aren't low class, but they aren't the same class as their employers,
Katie Lumsden
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.

Thoughts on rereading - I think I enjoyed this even more. A really interesting, engaging, subtle little story.
Oct 15, 2013 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 siste
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am reluctant to rate this book because on the front cover the book is declared a Wordsworth Classics (at the end of the book are a list of other Wordsworth Classics including The Iliad, The Odyssey, Vanity Fair, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Madame Bovary, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Scarlet Letter, and a whole gaggle of other books). If this has been rated a classic who am I to judge otherwise? With that guilt laid upon my head, I will give it a 2.4 rating, and no doubt will deserve to be rou ...more
Dannii Elle
Actual rating 3.75/5 stars.

My first Anne Bronte! It feels so good to finally say I have an equal appreciation for all of the Bronte sisters. Whilst I found the latter portion of Agnes Grey a little disappointing in comparison to my utter immersion and adoration in the beginning, this was still a solidly enjoyable read.

This is a quieter novel, than all the other collected Bronte novels I have so far read, but not one without its own sparks of brilliance. This follows the life of young Agnes Grey
April (Aprilius Maximus)
“The ties that bind us to life are tougher than you imagine, or than any one can who has not felt how roughly they may be pulled without breaking.”

[trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers]


This was... fine? Definitely lacks the magic of Jane Eyre for me but I liked it way more than Wuthering Heights. I much preferred Anne's other book, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

trigger warnings: loss of siblings in infancy, mention of animal abuse and killing o
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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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