Drawing on her experiences, Anne Bronte wrote her first novel out of a need to inform her contemporaries about the desperate position of unmarried, educated women driven to take up the only "respectable" career open to them - that of a governess.
Written when she was 26, Agnes Grey is Anne Bronte's first novel. It tells the story of a rector's daughter who has to earn her living as a governess. Drawing directly from her own experiences, Anne Bronte set out to describe the immense pressures that the governess' life involved: the frustration, the isolation, and the insensitive and cruel treatment on the part of employers and their families.
From its opening sentences Agnes Grey introduces a heroine who is honest, perceptive and charming. Unfortunately, the Bloomfields, who engage her as a governess, are rather less appealing, and the incarnation of the suppressed cruelties and hypocrisies of the Victorian age. When Agnes moves to a marginally less alarming family, one of her charges sets out to disrupt her only romantic hope. Critical, satirical, direct, and honest, Agnes Grey is a fine reflection of its author.
"Another Bronte author - Anne Bronte"
Written when women---and workers generally---had few rights in England, Agnes Grey exposes the brutal inequities of the rigid class system in mid-19th-century Britain. Agnes comes from a respectable middle-class family, but their financial reverses have forced her to seek work as a governess.