I didn’t like this book, and it’s by a Bronte so I hate to say that. It’s certainly no Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. I didn’t hate it; I just found it tedious.
Agnes is a young woman who decides she will work as a governess so that her family won’t have to support her any longer. She’s a basically good character; she has all the right qualities for a young woman of her era: modesty, loyalty, diligence, etc. and I think the authour wants us to see her as a heroine. Unfortunately the writing doesn’t let us do that. Too many paragraphs are used to tell us how difficult things are for her and instead of stirring up sympathy for her, it made me wish she would stop whining and get on with it.
The two families who hire her on as governess are stereotypically rich, indulgent parents with spoiled children. The children are different ages but really the second family is pretty much a copy of the first one. It all seemed designed to impress upon the reader how terribly hard Agnes’s life is. After awhile I got tired of feeling sorry for her.
When she met the Curate at her village church and began to fall for him I thought maybe she would mature as a character, but I waited in vain. In fact, the Curate, who also is given sterling qualities so that we’ll see him as a good match for Agnes, turns out to be as self-focused (dare I say conceited?) as she was. I’m pretty sure Bronte intended the reader to call the conclusion of this book a happy ending, but I just thought “What a jerk this guy is!” and was glad I didn’t have to read more about him.
I found this book disappointing, so I can’t recommend it. That’s really all I can say about it.