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Harriet Martineau

Book Overview: 

Deerbrook describes the life of country people in a fictional English town. The Grey family live in one of the loveliest houses in Deerbrook, but a change in their lives is going to take place... The Ibbotson sisters, Hester and Margaret, orphaned distant cousins of Mr. Grey, come to stay. In Victorian England, the chief way for women to "advance themselves" is to marry well. But will they succeed? And if they succeed, will they be happy?

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .If she felt so, what must the day have been to Hester? She bore up well under any observation that she might suppose herself the object of; but Margaret saw how laboriously she strove, and in vain, to eat; how welcome was the glass of wine; how mechanical her singing after dinner; and how impatient she was of sitting still. The strangest thing was to see her walking in a dim glade, in the afternoon, arm-in-arm with Mrs Rowland,—as if in the most confidential conversation,—Mrs Rowland apparently offering the confidence, and Hester receiving it.

“Look at them!” said Mr Enderby. “Who would believe that my sister prohibited solitary walks and tête-à-têtes, only three hours ago, on the ground that every one ought to be sociable to-day? I shall go and break up the conference.”

“Pray do not,” said Margaret. “Let them forget rules, and pass their time as they like best.”

“Oh! but here i. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Deerbrook has been on a shelf in my office at home for decades! I finally picked it up this winter. It's 500 pages long and a bit of a snoozer at times, but I found it fascinating. Martineau was a reformer, not so much a novelist, and she has created (1838, I think?) two highly intelligent young wom

Quite a lot like Austen and Eliot, with a swirl of Trollope for good measure. For the first half of this very long book, I thought it might be a perfect, hidden treasure from the 19th century. I read it on tenterhooks, hoping against hope that the novel could sustain that level of excellence. The ch

Unfortunately Deerbrook ended up being quite a slog to get through. Martineau has been compared to writers like Jane Austen and George Eliot. The strongest point of the novel is the domestic setting which also, unfortunately, slowed the pace and made it almost boring at points. We have the two beaut

This story made me want to bang my head against a desk repeatedly. I give it two stars for what it could have been, because there were some good bones to the story and I somewhat liked some of the characters.
It was so. so. so. so. long. It started out fine. Even about halfway through it seemed l

I absolutely loved this - such a powerful, moving read, beautifully written with a fascinating plot and thoroughly real characters. This is definitely an underrated Victorian gem and I highly recommend it!

If you're disappointed by my rating, think about how much I'm disappointed myself to give only two stars to this classic. Deerbrook has been described as the gap between Jane Austen and George Eliot, as one of the first Victorian novels of English domestic life, as an important novel that must be re

I loved this book!

Me ha sorprendido para bien esta novela, porque aunque Harriet Martineau era contemporánea de Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot o las Bronte (Jane Austen fue un poco anterior), no es tan conocida como ellas y sin embargo en esta novela se tocan temas que las anteriores tocaron, por ejemplo en Middlema

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