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Agnes Grey

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  48,050 ratings  ·  2,916 reviews
‘Patience, Firmness, and Perseverance were my only weapons.’

Agnes Grey (1847) was Anne Bronte’s first novel and a poignant account of her own experience as a struggling governess, obliged to earn her living in one of the few ways open to an educated Victorian girl.
Agnes is not a romantic heroine such as those we find in the books of Anne’s sisters Charlotte and Emily, but
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Arcturus (first published 1847)
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Patricia Ferreira Thank you. I didn't know The tennat of Wildfell hall. Will read it now.
haley If you google 'Agnes Grey' there's one that's available for download through Google Books.

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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  48,050 ratings  ·  2,916 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
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 ...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, ...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

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,
Ahmad Sharabiani
Agnes Grey, Anne Brontë
Agnes Grey, A Novel is the debut novel of English author Anne Brontë (writing under the pen name of Acton Bell), first published in December 1847, and republished in a second edition in 1850. 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. Like her sister Charlotte's
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
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library, brittish
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 ...more
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
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
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 ...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
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 ...more
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'
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
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 ...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
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,
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

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
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 ...more
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 ...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
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
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
Dhanaraj Rajan
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 ...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
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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 ...more
“Reading is my favourite occupation, when I have leisure for it and books to read.” 772 likes
“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.” 230 likes
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