Saturday, November 03, 2018

Me? Listen to Audio?! #40 (My Victorian Year #46)

 Agnes Grey. Anne Bronte. 1847. Read for Librivox by Libby Gohn. 7 hours and 3 minutes.

I read Agnes Grey in mid-October. Almost immediately after reading it I decided that it would be great to listen to on audio book. (Can you tell I got attached to the characters?!) I am glad I did. It was great fun to hop back into the story. I don't quite understand people who don't reread books. Why make friends with characters if you never go back to hang out with them again?!

Premise/plot: Agnes Grey is a young woman who challenges herself to leave home and become a governess. Her family needs income, true, but her parents are not telling her to work or even wanting her to work. The Bloomfields are her first family and the Murrays are her second. Neither situation is ideal.

The Bloomfield children are out-of-control. Master Tom and Mary Ann rule the schoolroom and they know it. Agnes Grey has been given no authority to discipline the children. The parents expect her to rule without power or authority. Any misstep, any fault, any misbehavior--no matter how big or small--is her fault by default. She shouldn't call herself a governess if she can't manage naughty children. She learns quickly not to run to the parents with tales of misbehavior OR even with pleas for support. She'll receive no support from either parent. She doesn't last long at this first job, though the fact that she lasts more than a month or two says something about her fortitude.


The Murray children are much older. There are two young ladies: Miss Rosalie and Miss Matilda. Rosalie is 'out' in society and FLIRTATIOUS. Matilda is a year or two younger. Her biggest fault is her love of swearing. These two don't "misbehave" in the same way as the Bloomfields. No throwing themselves on the floor and rolling about, for example. But they don't apply themselves to lessons. And the parents don't mind. They want their daughters to outwardly conform and if they learn a little now and then--almost by accident--so much the better. But no biggie if they never learn to think. This second job lasts for several years.

While staying with the Murrays, Agnes Grey meets a curate, Edward Weston. These two occasionally speak with one another. What little she knows about him is enough to warm her heart and make her giddy. She doesn't hope that he like-likes her in return. But she has heart-eyes for him for sure.

Will Agnes Grey remain in the schoolroom for ever? Do governesses ever get happily ever after endings?

My thoughts: I loved, loved, LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one. Agnes Grey is a true kindred spirit. And her ideals are my ideals. I too would find Edward Weston swoon-worthy. She's a good woman who often finds herself in difficult circumstances. She has strong values, strong morals, strong beliefs. She knows right from wrong. She believes that children should be trained--disciplined. Boys and girls need to learn right from wrong, need to have their behavior corrected, need to apologize when they've misbehaved, need to learn kindness and compassion, need to take responsibility for what they say and do.

One of my favorite characters is Nancy Brown, a poor cottager that receives visits from Agnes Grey and Mr. Weston. Both read Scripture to her. 

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
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4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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