#YearOfBrontë – Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë

I finished Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë like, months ago, so here is my very delayed review. Oh well. Enjoy.

The book
Agnes Grey is about a young woman named Agnes Grey who grows up with her mother, father and sister Mary. The father is a priest with a bad sense of money and her mother is a kind, hard-working woman, who lost the favour of her family when she married Mr Grey. They plan to invest their money, but the man who is investing it for them drowns, taking all their funds into the deep with him. Now they’re in debt, and Agnes volunteers to take up a post as a governess to get some more money. She first takes up a post with the Bloomfield family. The kids are spoilt and cruel and Agnes is given no authority, so she can’t control them at all. After about a year she is fired and goes home. She then goes to work for the Murrays where she is mainly in charge of Matilda and Rosalie, while the sons have been sent off to school. While there she meets a young parson, Edward Weston, who she finds herself drawn to.

It’s very simple, sweet. It’s not Jane Eyre, at all, but it was very nice. Although, why would it be? Different woman. This is how I am in real life. I’m weird. Anyways.

I liked it, it was weird. Agnes is a very sweet, protected, patronized girl. Her family basically has no faith in her. Not in a bad way, if that’s possible. When they realize that they’re pretty much broke they suggest her sister paint and draw, and maybe they can sell them. When Agnes suggests that she help they just sort of tell her that she shouldn’t bother, she is the youngest, she can’t possibly help, she shouldn’t overly exert herself. And I was like, your kid wants to help, don’t treat her like she’s four. Let her help.

The first family she lives with is just… awful. As is the second, but the first family, jeesh. She is given no power over the children, and when that has no effect, to everyone’s surprise, she’s basically fired. The parents want their children to be educated and smart, but they won’t let Agnes punish them, and when she tries the parents just undermine her. I was incredibly impressed that she didn’t throw any of the children out of a window, I would have.

The second family is a little better, Agnes doesn’t have to deal with the boys, she only deals with the daughters. She also has some power, a bit more power at least, she also manages to shame Rosalie and Matilda more, so they will do what she wants.

I liked reading about Rosalie and Matilda. They’re both pretty unlikeable in different ways. Rosalie is a bit of a flirt. She wants to get married, but she’s gorgeous and she can pretty much pick whoever she wants to marry, but instead she just flirts with everyone to upset the people who are in love with her. She also seems to think that everyone loves her. She thinks that just because Edward Weston is kind and helpful, he must be in love with her, so she flirts with him. She isn’t aware of it, obviously, because she’s a self-involved jackass, but this really hurts Agnes. Rosalie wants everyone to love her, and it’s weird.

How I imagined Roaslie, gorgeous, slightly self-involved, also pretty badass at times.

Matilda is very different. She likes riding, hunting, playing with the dogs, and she doesn’t really want to get married and it really upsets her mother. She makes the least possible effort in the school room, and while she is very different from Rosalie she does join her in her flirting and games. She’s rude, and unpleasant at times, and she’s kind of annoying.

I do like annoying characters though, so I don’t mind.


I liked it. I thought Agnes was sweet, a little pious, but she was sweet, and kind, and unendingly patient. Edward Weston was sweet and sort of amazing. And I liked that it had a bunch of pretty strong women. Agnes’ mother loses all her money, and her husband, and she basically just goes, fuck it, I can manage on my own. I’ll do what I want. And she’s a badass. I loved that. She also gave that to her badassador daughters. So I liked that. It was nice.