Henry Avila's Reviews > Agnes Grey

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
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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 owes money too... Agnes's parents and older sister Mary and she, must struggle to survive. It doesn't help that Richard Grey, goes into a deep, prolonged depression, always brooding, and becomes nearly useless. Growing up Agnes, knows little about the rest of the world, seeing only her relatives and educated by them. Reading was her escape from a dull, secluded life. After much persuasion, (the unthinkable idea) Anne gets permission, to leave home and find work, twenty miles from her house, in Yorkshire, the eighteen- year- old, has secured a position, with the Bloomfield family. Four children, Tom,7, Mary Ann, 6, Fanny, 4 , and Harriet, 2, all brats, the little boy likes torturing captured birds. The invariably kindhearted Miss Grey, is powerless to prevent such cruelties, Mrs. Bloomfield, (doesn't care) and had given her a cold reception, putting Agnes, in her place, as a lowly governess. The new servant quickly becomes disillusioned, the world is a harsh place, indeed. The children disobey her, ridicule Agnes, and teaching them becomes impossible. The father, is never around, can't be bothered. She gets dismissed and returns home, to the drab parsonage, but Agnes will try again, this time seventy miles away, yet another unpleasant experience . The Murray's have older children... two young boys and Rosalie at 16, very pretty, almost a woman but immature and selfish, her tomboyish younger sister, Matilda, she would rather ride her horses, than dress up for dances. Her only happiness is the curate, she Agnes, had met, Edward Weston, while visiting a sick old woman, still the plain looking girl, knows her limitations. Soon silly Rosalie, with much encouragement from her social climbing, callous mother, becomes engaged to a rich, evil, drunkard and barbaric aristocrat, Lord Ashby. The flirtatious Rosalie marries him, at a proper age, but loves another, Agnes had warned her, but was laughed at, just a common servant. It is all about money and social position ! Of course later on she, will greatly regret her choice, you can't sleep with gold, it gives no warmth. A chance meeting with Mr. Edward Weston, a man she , never thought, would see again, months after Agnes, had left her work. ... on a lonely quiet beach, in Scarborough, early in the morning, as the glorious sun rose, the two watching the lovely sight, silently, no words were necessary... they knew what each felt...
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Reading Progress

July 2, 2013 – Shelved
July 2, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
February 1, 2014 – Started Reading
February 7, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-33 of 33 (33 new)

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message 1: by Arah-Lynda (new)

Arah-Lynda I have this one pending on my bookshelves. Your great review makes me think I should get to it sooner.


message 2: by Judith (new) - added it

Judith I've had this one lurking on my shelves, for years....thanks to your review, I might pick it up and read it, sooner than later


message 3: by Henry (last edited Feb 08, 2014 11:43PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Henry Avila It's a fine book, Arah-Lynda and Judith, less romantic than her sisters .But more realistic, closer to what life was like, in their times.


message 4: by Judith (new) - added it

Judith I think the "realism" of this book, cost it some Popularity...there wasn't enough Romance..


Henry Avila I agree, people back then, were much more reserved , showing their feelings,Judith.


message 6: by Arah-Lynda (new)

Arah-Lynda Henry wrote: "I'ts a fine book, Arah-Lynda and Judith, less romantic that her sisters .But more realistic, closer to what life was like, in their times."

Thanks Henry, I look forward to the experience. On another note I must say I do appreciate how you always manage to get my name right. You are one of the very few who do.


message 7: by Henry (last edited Feb 08, 2014 03:33PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Henry Avila Thanks Arah-Lynda,who doesn't like praise ?


message 8: by Dolors (last edited Feb 09, 2014 05:39AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dolors Wonderful tribute to the less known Brontë sister, Henry. This novel mimics Anne's life experience as a governess and it comes also as a great psychological portrait of the most silent, composed and less noticed of the Brontës' sisters.

"On a lonely quiet beach, in Scarborough, early in the morning, as the glorious sun rose, the two watching the lovely sight, silently, but no words were necessary. They knew what each felt..."

Anne lies in the Scarborough cemetery, eternally 29 years old. That she is being cherished by readers such like yourself would have made her short and racking existence worth living. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is among my favorite novels of all times and I hope you read it some day. Great review.


message 9: by Henry (last edited Feb 09, 2014 07:34AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Henry Avila Thanks, Dolors. I have wanted to read that book, for sometime, but decided to read Agnes Grey first and complete all three of the sisters 1847 books.


message 10: by Caleb (new)

Caleb Ok


Henry Avila Thanks,Caleb.


message 12: by Samadrita (new)

Samadrita Excellent review, Henry. Anne has been on my tbr list for a while now and I hope to get to either this one or The Tenant of Wildfell Hall this year.


Henry Avila Thank you, Samadrita, You're very gracious. Anne was a good writer, underappreciated. The Tenant novel, hopefully I'll read soon..


message 14: by Kurt (new)

Kurt Reichenbaugh I didn't even know about this one.


message 15: by Kurt (new)

Kurt Reichenbaugh I didn't even know about this one.


message 16: by Henry (last edited Feb 12, 2014 05:25AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Henry Avila It's a good book, Anne was also talented like her sisters, Kurt, and people are discovering this a little late.


JACOB Brodus AT THE ARCade I won 350 tokens for a monkey hat


Henry Avila You can't see the dark side of the Moon, from Earth...


Henry Avila I thank you,Lada, this is a fine book and people over 165 years later, have finally discovered that fact.


Henry Avila It is a great scene, Lada and you're welcome again.


Catherine But I thought Jane Eyre was published later. Charlotte published The Professor at the time that Wuthering heights and Agnes grey were published , right?


Henry Avila All three were published in 1847.


Henry Avila They dominated the early Victorian age.


message 24: by Olivia (new)

Olivia I won two giveaways. I have Prep and Who is Mackie Spence? Not generally my cup of tea as genres go but I hope I'll be pleasantly surprised.


message 25: by Olivia (new)

Olivia Please ignore my last comment. I'm on mobile and commented on this by accident! Lovely review btw


Henry Avila Olivia wrote: "Please ignore my last comment. I'm on mobile and commented on this by accident! Lovely review btw"

Thank you Olivia.


Henry Avila Lada wrote: "Sensibly written review of an English authoress. I love it, Henry"
Yes I enjoyed it too, Jada.


message 28: by DeB (new)

DeB MaRtEnS Thank you for the great review and bringing my attention to this lost classic! Of course, I must find it to read soon!


Henry Avila I hope you enjoy it, DeB. The story idea, was from Anne's bad experiences being a governess, thank you again...


Shelley It is strange that Ann's work had to some extent been lost to time. I believe that when the sisters first published, her book sold out in 6 weeks time. And in the sister's short lifetimes she outsold the others. I do believe it was Tenant rather than Agnes that sold so well, but they couldn't have been published so far apart as she died so young.


Henry Avila Yes she is becoming popular now, better late than never...read both Agnes and Wildfell Hall, Anne was a terrific writer like her older sisters.


Marta Agnes Grey fue escrita y aceptada mucho antes de Jane Eyre pero fue publicada después de Jane Eyre, en un especial de tres tomos con las tres novelas lo que hizo que perdiera la posibilidad de mayor reconocimiento. A charlotte en su primer intento no fue con Jane Eyre sino con el profesor y al ver el éxito de la obra de Agnes Grey que un editor la compró de una y lo que no pasó con el profesor es cuando Charlotte decide copiarle un poco a su hermana y hacer también una novela que refleje la vida de una institutriz.


Henry Avila Jane Eyre published Oct. 1847, Wuthering Heights Dec. 1847 and Agnes Grey Dec. 1847...


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