The lesser-known but brilliant novel by the hugely under-appreciated Anne Brontë
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY SAMANTHA ELLIS
When Agnes’s father loses the family savings, young Agnes determines to make her own living – as a governess. Working for the Bloomfields, her enthusiasm is soon dampened by isolation and the cruelty of the children in her charge. Agnes hopes for better in her second job, but when the scheming elder daughter Rosalie makes designs on Agnes’s new friend, the kind curate Mr Weston, she feels herself silenced and sidelined. Becoming a governess is one thing, becoming invisible is quite another.
“Agnes Grey is the most perfect prose narrative of English letters... Simple and beautiful... The only story in English literature in which style, characters, and subject are in perfect keeping”
“For too long [Anne] has been undervalued as the third-best Bronte. But her fiction, exploring the lamentably still current themes of addiction and domestic violence and the abuse of vulnerable women working away from home, has a vigour and bracing satirical intelligence which places her in the first rank of what is arguably the greatest ever generation of novelists in English”
“Brontë depicts in detail the isolation inherent in a governess's life, as an educated – but by necessity not too educated – woman trapped in an awkward halfway world between the classes”