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This won my unread non-genre poll at the end of last year (on a tie-break with Hard Times). I do not find the Brontë sisters' works all that compelling in general - in particular, I can't work up much enthusiasm for Wuthering Heights - but I really liked The Tenant of Wildfell Hall; Helen is an early feminist heroine, rushing into what rapidly turns out to be an unsuitable marriage and then making the tough choices facing any woman attempting to navigate their own course in a small-minded, small-town society. It's interesting that New England is her preferred haven of liberty. I was captivated by it (even though the end is telegraphed from fairly early on) and felt it worked better for me than any of her sisters' novels.

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
hfnuala
Feb. 2nd, 2012 09:31 pm (UTC)
I think it's the Bronte book for people who don't actually like the Brontes very much. I love it.

Also, http://harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=202
la_marquise_de_
Feb. 2nd, 2012 09:35 pm (UTC)
It's an extraordinary book, and, as you say, better than any of her sisters' works. It's immensely brave for it's time, too, in confronting the things it does -- not the adultery, which was a novel standard, but alcoholism, spousal abuse and the need for female rights to independence.
gareth_rees
Feb. 2nd, 2012 09:56 pm (UTC)
I agree that's a great book (though I also like the novels by the other Brontë sisters). Its only weak point is the narrator Gilbert, who is so bland that it's not clear how Helen falls for him. The sections narrated by Helen are much more convincing.
alitheapipkin
Feb. 3rd, 2012 12:09 pm (UTC)
Huh, I didn't realise the heroine was a Helen, I shall have to add it to my list of classics to get around to reading at some point. Wuthering Heights was a book that I didn't so much enjoy as appreciate the artistic merit of. I thought it was a very convincing portrait of destructive obsession and her use of landscape and weather to reflect the story was masterful, but it was very hard going in places and none of the characters were very likeable at all.
inulro
Feb. 3rd, 2012 01:49 pm (UTC)
I've had this sitting on my to-read pile for years; I should really move it along.</p>

I haven't read Wuthering Heights since the early 90s but remember loving it- it's not what I expected from a Victorian novel, but it's mostly the sense of place that got me. I was living in Leeds at the time. I read most of Wuthering Heights in the Black Bull (the pub where Branwell Bronte drank himself to death) and spending most of my weekends wandering around the moors.

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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