Brontë, Anne "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" - 1848
I love classics. I think of all the Brontë novels, this is my favourite. It reminds me of Jane Austen, though in a different direction.
The novel is exciting from the beginning. The description of the mysterious woman moving into Wildfell Hall, the suspicious neighbours, the generous landlord ... everything is quite interesting already. Then she disappears and the mystery gets even bigger.
The style of the novel is extraordinary. Various authors of that time have used this way, describing the story through various narrators and therefore having the reader always know more than the protagonists.
I like that style. It must be hard for the author to change the writing style throughout the novel and not lose track of the story. But it's great for the reader. The suspension gets even higher. You feel for Gilbert but you feel even more for Helen and her little boy.
What a life those women had to lead. Am I glad I live in this time and age.
Even though she is less famous than her sister Charlotte and Emily, I still prefer this novel to "Jane Eyre" and definitely to "Wuthering Heights".
From the back cover:
"The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a powerful and sometimes violent novel of expectation, love, oppression, sin, religion and betrayal. It portrays the disintegration of the marriage of Helen Huntingdon, the mysterious ‘tenant’ of the title, and her dissolute, alcoholic husband. Defying convention, Helen leaves her husband to protect their young son from his father’s influence, and earns her own living as an artist. Whilst in hiding at Wildfell Hall, she encounters Gilbert Markham, who falls in love with her.
On its first publication in 1848, Anne Brontë’s second novel was criticised for being ‘coarse’ and ‘brutal’. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall challenges the social conventions of the early nineteenth century in a strong defence of women’s rights in the face of psychological abuse from their husbands."