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Agnes Grey

Anne Brontë

Book Overview: 

The novel tells the story of Agnes Grey, the daughter of a minister, whose family comes to financial ruin. Desperate to earn the money to care for herself, she takes one of the few jobs allowed to respectable women in the early Victorian era – the role of governess to the children of the wealthy. In working with two different families (the Bloomfields and the Murrays), she comes to learn about the troubles that face a young woman who must try to rein in unruly, spoiled children for a living, and about the ability of wealth and status to destroy social values. After her father’s death, Agnes opens a small school with her mother and finds happiness with a man who loves her for herself.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .capricious old dame soon deprived me of her favour again, and I believe did me much secret injury.

She could not greatly influence her daughter-in-law against me, because, between that lady and herself there was a mutual dislike—chiefly shown by her in secret detractions and calumniations; by the other, in an excess of frigid formality in her demeanour; and no fawning flattery of the elder could thaw away the wall of ice which the younger interposed between them.  But with her son, the old lady had better success: he would listen to all she had to say, provided she could soothe his fretful temper, and refrain from irritating him by her own asperities; and I have reason to believe that she considerably strengthened his prejudice against me.  She would tell him that I shamefully neglected the children, and even his wife did not attend to them as she ought; and that he must look after them himself, or they would all go to ruin.

Thus urged, he. . . Read More

Community Reviews

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 overs...more

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 clergy...more

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 fo...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...more

Agnes Grey es la primera novela de Anne Brontë. Fue publicada en 1847, el mismo año en el que veían la luz las dos obras fundamentales de sus hermanas Emily y Charlotte: Cumbres borrascosas y Jane Eyre.

Esta obra no tiene desde luego la garra de esas otras dos novelas, y es difícil que cause esa...more

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...more


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...more

Las hermanas Brontë no se caracterizaban por escribir empalagosas historias de amor ni por retratar mujeres ingenuas y tontas sino todo lo contrario: sus personajes son decididos, valientes y tormentosos; enfrentan lo que la vida les depara con determinación aunque estas características no se obs...more

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...more

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...more

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