To be plainly honest and with no disregard to the book, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall wasn’t what I anticipated. Anne Brontë didn’t delve into a ghostly, wintery setting with whispers of the dead. She didn’t mould the tale into a harrowing and deathly mystery on the moorland like her sister’s famous Wuthering Heights. She kept things simple, sensible yet effective – enough to make the reader feel comfortable and interested. It is an insightful story about civilization in the mid-1800’s.
The narrator of the story is Gilbert Markham and the story is a log of the events unfolding around his house following the arrival of the new tenant of Wildfell Hall; a place which is said to be in ruins, with only a few rooms made habitable for the new owner. The tenant is a young widow called Mrs Graham, who is in mourning and has brought her son to mourn in peace in a desolate sanctuary.
Gilbert and his family are an amusing crowd. There’s just him, his mother (similar to Mrs Bennet of Pride and Prejudice in a few examples, in my opinion) and his two siblings; Rose, his 19 year old sister and Fergus. His father is dead, but he sounded like he was a sensible and realistic man, as a contrast to his wife, Mrs Markham, who certainly seems like an idealist!
So I picked up this book because we have delved into the depths of wintertime and in my opinion Christmas is just not Christmas, unaccompanied by a good old cosy classic. We are certainly treated to a lot of cosy descriptions about the winter weather, in this book, which pleased me a lot, especially within the first 80 pages or so. The story went on to spiral into springtime and so on. So yes, admittedly the book went on a bit… My copy is a tiring 500 page story which confirms for me, that people in the 1800s had a lot more time to read than they do nowadays! This book took me ages to get through! The writing is the small and the pages are so thin!
Nevertheless, the text is mostly quite compelling. Not much happens, but it is an intriguing story surrounding the mysterious tenant of Wildfell Hall, and I’d certainly recommend it. 🙂