A young woman, Helen Graham, moves into three rooms in a large country mansion with her young son and soon becomes the subject of village gossip. Gilbert Markham, a young man in the village, discovers her dark and secret past.
What I think
The reason I read this book was because it was chosen by my book club and I suppose that's the whole point of book clubs: that you read books you wouldn't otherwise necessarily have chosen for yourself. I'll be the first to admit I'm not a huge classics fan. I usually find the books too long-winded and feel that frankly they're in need of a good edit! I did an inward groan when we settled on this book, but actually I really enjoyed it.
I was surprised to find that this novel has a male narrator at the beginning. I think I was half-way through the first chapter before I noticed it. I was so convinced it would be told from a female point of view because it was written by a woman in 1848 (although under a pseudonym: Acton Bell).
I actually found this book rather gripping and unpredictable. Up until the last chapter it's not clear whether there will be a happy ending or not. I won't spoil it - just in case you decide to give it a go!
|Toby Stephens and Tara Fitzgerald in the 1996 BBC adaptation|
About the author
Anne Brontë (d. 1848) was the youngest of the three literary Brontë sisters. She wrote two novels before she died at the young age of 29: Agnes Grey (based on her experiences of being a governess), published in 1847 and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, published in 1848. Charlotte, the eldest Brontë sister wrote four novels, including Jane Eyre, and Emily wrote Wuthering Heights.