I put together this post for Pages Unbound as part of their Classics Event and it will also be appearing on their blog today! https://pagesunbound.wordpress.com/
There’s a lot of love out there for Charlotte and Emily Bronte and for good reason. I’ve read most of their books and they’re consistently brilliant. I’m not here to discuss the two best known Brontes. When I was at university, I first read ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ by Anne Bronte and it soon became one of my favourite classics. I hope by the end of this post that I can convince you to pick up a copy!
These are the reasons why I love ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’:
The plot – A mysterious widow, Helen Graham, arrives at the rundown Wildfell Hall and attracts the attention of Gilbert Markham and the whole of their small community. This is not just another classic about a young girl who is swept away by a sulking scoundrel (although there are plenty in the book if you like that sort of thing).
The narrator – I loved the fact that this was from Gilbert’s point of view because you got to unravel the mystery of Mrs. Graham along with him! He’s a very endearing but flawed character quite different from the aforementioned rogues.
The format – The narrative unfolds as a sequence of letters and diary entries written by Gilbert and Helen, enabling the reader to piece the events together from the different character’s viewpoints.
Helen and Feminism – Obviously there wasn’t a lot of room to be a feminist at the time but Helen definitely tries! She encourages her young friend Ester not to marry for money and herself is determined to marry for love.
The setting – The Brontes lived in the beautiful Yorkshire village of Haworth (where you can still visit their Parsonage Home!) This book strongly evokes the wild and gorgeous landscape of the Yorkshire Moors.
A photo I took in Haworth August 2015
‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ is a fabulous classic and Anne Bronte deserves to be as well-known as her sisters.