Book Review: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

Agnes Grey

This was my fifty-first book of the year and the first that was on my to-read read list for 2013. I am not sure if its that old high school feeling of reading something that is a classic that initially makes me hesitate to read something called “a classic.” All three Bronte sisters are on my list for this year. 

Agnes Grey’s life as a governess reminded me of my student teaching days in college. Unlike Agnes, I had enough and decided that graduate school was a better choice than teaching. Too many Bloomfield children and parents changed my mind. Children are spoiled today as they were then and parents equally unbelieving of any criticism.

Several themes in the book stand out. The obvious is the role of religion or belief and the rewards for the faithful. The role of women in society and even female children is obvious. Perhaps the most interesting theme is the treatment of animals and Agnes view and actions against cruelty to animals. Compassion for animals was not what I was expecting from Victorian writer. 

The writing is clear and straightforward and the story flows nearly flawlessly. The characters seem real and Agnes is a reader. A very worthwhile read.

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