Classic Book Review: Agnes Grey

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
Agnes Grey
by Anne Brontë

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Agnes goes to work as a governess for a rich family, and finds her young students difficult to manage. They throw tantrums, fight amongst themselves, torture their pets, and lie to their parents. Agnes is miserable and lonely, but strives to do her duty and influence her students to study and behave themselves. She meets a serious young preacher who inspires her and the two strike up a friendship. They help the poor and visit the sick, finding solace in doing good deeds for their neighbors.

I loved this book! The writing is elegant and delightful. The characters are vivid and lively. The plot is subtle and delicate, using small conversations and little coincidences to paint a larger picture. Every bit of dialogue holds waves of emotion and meaning that gently push the story forward. The writing is absolutely brilliant!
Agnes has a complacent personality, willing to submit to other people’s wishes, but sometimes she can be very determined and bold. For most of the book, she is a doormat to her employers, yielding to their demands, putting aside her own comfort and pride to meet their stupid, selfish requirements.

She hides her true feelings, but on the inside, she is angry and hurt at their demeaning treatment of her. So many times I wished that she would just yell at them, stand up for herself, and show some more backbone, but then she would have lost her job, and the story would have been over.

She has an incredible amount of self-control and patience to deal with such awful people day in and day out for years. She is pitiful and lonely and sad, but I really admired her determination to find good in her situation, and do her best to win the affections and respect of her employers and students.

The romance is wonderfully slow-burning and thoughtful. I really enjoyed the ups and downs of the romance and the various characters involved. The supporting characters are all so dramatic and expressive, so that their effect is felt in every area of the plot.

This is such a sweet and easy read! I wish that Anne Bronte had written more books.

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