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Agnes Grey

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  45,681 ratings  ·  2,686 reviews
With an introduction by Samantha Ellis.

‘The forgotten genius — a feminist and social firebrand whose ides were way over Charlotte’s head and years before their time.’ - Lucy Mangan, Guardian

When her father loses the family savings, young Agnes determines to make her own living — as a governess. Working for the Bloomfields, her enthusiasm is soon dampened by isolation and t
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 12th 2017 by Vintage Classics (first published December 1847)
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Lapsus Linguae Good, indeed. Very well-written, although not much exciting. I recommend The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne's best known work) as the first Anne…moreGood, indeed. Very well-written, although not much exciting. I recommend The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne's best known work) as the first Anne Bronte's novel to be read.(less)

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3.68  · 
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 ·  45,681 ratings  ·  2,686 reviews

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Nov 18, 2010 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
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
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
"... 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

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.

Sherwood Smith
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
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Luís C.
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 distance of 80 miles is a day’s journey. In this confined world, everyone knows and observes one’s neighbors. 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 ch ...more
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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. On paper, 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 Jane
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
Iryna *Book and Sword*
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 17, 2011 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
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,
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."
Dannii Elle
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Re-reading the classics is always a pleasure,especially if there's a Bronte involved xD ♥

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
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was prompted to reread Anne Bronte's wonderful Agnes Grey after watching the BBC adaptation of the Brontes' lives, To Walk Invisible. Agnes Grey is beautifully written throughout, and Anne was undoubtedly a very gifted writer. This is a wonderful tome to be reunited with, with its memorable storyline and cast of characters. Bronte's turns of phrase are just lovely, and Agnes' first person perspective is so engaging. A refreshing, thoughtful, and intelligent read in many respects, and a fantast ...more
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
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
This was my neighborhood book club’s selection for January – a good excuse to also use it for relaunching my Classic of the Month feature. I’ve now read all the Brontë sisters’ works apart from Shirley, an obscure one by Charlotte. I’d recommend Agnes Grey as a short, accessible classic that echoes Jane Austen with its realistic picture of money/class and romance in nineteenth-century England.

The first-person narrative tells the highly autobiographical tale of a young woman who becomes a governe
Dhanaraj Rajan
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
This is a Cinderella story with a small but important difference. The difference: It is not a 'rags-to-riches-story.' Agnes is a poor girl who suffers separation from the family and goes through much sufferings at the place of work. She works as a governess. She holds on believing only in the Providence (after all Agnes is the daughter of a vicar). She prays more when she suffers more. And when she loses almost the hope, God apparently hears her prayers and she is united with her lover. The love ...more
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
There can be no doubt how Anne Bronte felt about her experiences as a governess. Agnes Grey feels very autobiographical in those terms, with the spoiled children and the careless individuals of the upper class leading to a true understanding of how difficult such a position must have been for a young woman of this era. By all reports, Anne was ill suited to that profession and had it foisted upon her by necessity, just as Agnes does. That she wished to build the character of her charges and foun ...more
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a sucker for good endings, and this one is so sweet. I wish the first 80 or 90 pages of this book were condensed; they contain too much summary and not enough story. But once Agnes gets to the Murrays', the novel becomes much more interesting. It reminds me of Jane Eyre but has its own charm. There are gentle and subtle humor, moments of genuine emotion expressed simply and fluidly, and interesting, well-developed characters. It's a simple book but well written.
I recommend this to Bronte fa
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bronte
To say I'm a bit cheesed off would be understatement!
I read this last year and I remember writing a review of my thoughts and feelings having finished it. I remember saying that I only had one more Bronte book to read, which was The Professor by Charlotte Bronte and that I was going to buy it when I was on holiday in Haworth in November, which I did.
I also said that I liked it more than Villette but that I was going to give that one a re read. Hmm... maybe I'm going daft but I've had this happ
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
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“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.”

Have I mentioned how much I love Anne Brontë yet? I discovered her with The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and it will remain my favourite of hers, but Agnes Grey was absolutely amazing. I loved how realist it was, I got mad at Agnes' employers and their children, I fell for Mr Weston w
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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.” 214 likes
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