#YearOfBrontë - The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

I finished the Tenant of Wildfell Hall a while ago. I forgot to review it, so this is a bit short. But the book is fucking great.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is about Helen Graham who has just moved into Wildfell Hall. She is a single mother and it is all kinds of controversial in the village. She attracts the attention of Gilbert Markham, not by design, he just gets slightly obsessed with her. He then thinks her landlord, Frederick Lawrence, has designs on her and gets angry, so Helen tells him her story. It turns out she married a man her family didn’t approve of. The guy turns out to be an abusive asshole, and she leaves him. So she is now in hiding at Wildfell Hall.

This is Brontë with guts. Helen Graham is a badass and the men are mostly written like whiny, entitled children. Which is obviously fantastic. Not because men are like this obviously, but in so many of the classics men are dashing, and they can be cruel, but I don't think I've read a classic where they are so outright dumb and silly and just whiny.

I really liked Helen. She’s a very modern woman with very strict and strong views. She has decided what she thinks about the world, and acts on them no matter what the world thinks. Her husband was a boozy, annoying prick so she won’t let her son become like that. She tries to instil in him respect and love for his mother and to turn him off of alcohol so he won’t end up like his dad. This seems really foreign to her neighbours, because obviously in the day there were ideas of how you were meant to behave and how sons were meant to be raised. And Helen doesn’t give a shit. She’s awesome.

She’s self-reliant and tough. She had basically nothing in the way of money when she left her husband, but she couldn’t stay there so she left him anyway. She takes care of herself and her son financially and she takes care of him pretty much alone. Leaving her husband is probably the best thing for her son and herself, and while it was a huge sacrifice she still did it.

I just have to say again that the way she wrote the men is friggin’ hilarious. They are mostly entitled, privileged wankers. To differing degrees. Obviously Arthur Huntingdon (Helen’s husband) is the worst of the bunch with his drinking, cheating and downright abuse, but the other men aren’t great. Gilbert seems to think he deserves Helen’s love just for being a great chap. Every time she asks him to leave her alone or to leave her be he straight up ignores her and tries to force a friendship. When he thinks she’s sleeping with Fredrick he has a hissy fit and refuses to talk to her because she has somehow betrayed him even though she’s not married to Gilbert and he’s just such a childish jerk. He pretty much assaults Fredrick for this same thing, and doesn’t let anyone explain.

Gilbert and Arthur aren’t alone. Most of the characters judge and jump to conclusions and I wanted to shake a lot of them. And while I love Helen she’s a bit pious and she seems to take her duty very seriously. When Arthur gets sick she goes to him to nurse him even though she doesn’t really owe him anything. That annoyed me a bit, although I see the point of it. She’s very honourable and kind no matter what.


I don’t have a lot of thoughts. It’s a while since I read it. It’s really cool. Helen is tough and badass and she doesn’t suffer fools. Anne Brontë was fucking badass too for publishing this.