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Publisher's Summary

In her daring first novel, the youngest Brontë sister drew upon her own experiences to tell the unvarnished truth about life as a governess. Like Agnes Grey, Anne Bronte was a young middle-class Victorian lady whose family fortunes had faltered. Like so many other unmarried women of the 19th century, Bronte accepted the only "respectable" employment available - and entered a world of hardship, humiliation, and loneliness. Written with a realism that shocked critics, this biting social commentary offers a sympathetic portrait of Agnes and a moving indictment of her brutish and haughty employers.

Separated from her family and friends by many miles, paid little more than subsistence wages, Agnes stands alone - both in society at large and in a household where she is neither family member nor servant.

Agnes Grey remains a landmark in the literature of social history. In addition to its challenge to the era's chauvinism and materialism, it features a first-person narrative that offers a rare opportunity to hear the voice of a Victorian working woman.

Public Domain (P)2016 Recorded Books

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  • c.silk
  • 09-14-17

Wonderful reading

The lesser known sister of Charlotte and Emily Bronte shows a remarkable talent in both this and in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Her powers of observation and her transference of this observation into the story of Agnes Grey and the characters who surround her compare with the very best of Jane Austen. The portrait of the period and the interactions of the characters give reality to the story. One is made very aware that Anne herself was well aware of the society in which she lived, and despite the impression that the Bronte sisters were sheltered reclusives, Agnes Grey is a deep interrogation of the treatment of women who were in employment and the attitudes of the employers. As with Austen, one is keenly aware of social divides and the importance of marriage. A wonderful read.

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