This week’s Recommended Read comes from Caroline Adams, one of our South West Get Into Reading Project Workers, who has been absorbed by the most controversial of the Brontë sisters’ classics, Anne’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
My book-club read had let me down badly (Wings of the Dove by Henry James- I salute you if you’ve managed to read it all) and I needed to find an alternative to escape from the dismal January weather. Step forward a novel I’d read and loved a few years ago- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – one of only two Anne Bronte novels.
The tale is of the mysterious Helen Graham- a woman with some kind of past- and her growing relationship with a young farmer in the community in which she suddenly arrives one day. It was seen as radical and even shocking when it was first published, and there’s still plenty in it to surprise and engage. Detailed well- drawn characters; philosophical and ethical debate; and a will-they-won’t- they romantic storyline which felt fresh and modern.
I lapped it up as I had done on the first reading and felt completely bereft when it came to an end- always the sign of a good read.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Brontë, Penguin (1848/1996)