Shop now Shop now Shop now Up to 70% off Fashion Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Amazon Fire TV Amazon Pantry Food & Drink Beauty Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen in Prime Shop now Shop now
Profile for Susie B > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Susie B
Top Reviewer Ranking: 56
Helpful Votes: 7126

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Susie B
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
The Glasshouse
The Glasshouse
by Monique Charlesworth
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars A Dark and Atmospheric Tale, 6 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Glasshouse (Hardcover)
Monique Charlesworth's unusual debut novel: 'The Glasshouse', is set in Hamburg during the early 1970s, where we meet business man, Viktor Genscher, a handsome, well-groomed man in his late thirties, who has risen from humble beginnings as a homeless war orphan and is now a partner in the import-export firm of Rommer. Not content with running one business, Viktor is set on achieving his ambition of becoming a newspaper proprietor, and when we first meet him, he is on the verge of acquiring the Hamberg evening paper 'Der Abend' - or at least he was, until someone from his past catches up with him.

Twenty-one-year-old Johanna Rommer has known Viktor since she was a small child, and is in love with him - in fact, at one point, she and Viktor were engaged to be married, until Viktor suddenly called it off. Confused by Viktor's volte-face, Johanna cannot move on until she has discovered the true reason for Viktor's change of heart, even if that means that she has to put her whole future on hold until she is totally sure that he won't change his mind back again - but then she meets the very good-looking Sigi, who although is not at all her type, seems to be deeply attracted to Johanna and appears serious in his intentions towards her.

Ludvig Levinson is a grizzled, ageing judo teacher with a hatchet face and broken teeth who teaches martial arts to disadvantaged young boys in a rundown area in Hamburg - however his 'care' of the boys he teaches is not without strings as Ludvig expects something in return for his efforts. When Ludvig learns that one of his past 'protégés', Viktor, has turned his life around and has left his shady past behind him, Ludvig considers how he can use the information he has on Viktor to his best advantage. And, interestingly, Ludvig also knows Sigi, and Sigi owes him a favour…

Monique Charlesworth describes the situation and setting of her story particularly well and she brings the city of Hamburg - both during the 1970s and the Second World War - vividly to life. Her depiction of Ludvig, with his thin, wiry body, broken teeth and filthy fingernails is particularly well portrayed, as are many of the other characters, whether they have been allocated a major or minor role in the story. I also found it interesting the way the author gradually reveals Viktor's personality and allows the reader glimpses of the ruthless character beneath his urbane exterior. A dark and unsettling tale, and although like Kate Hopkins writing here, I would have liked to have known more about Johanna's back history and learnt more about what ultimately happened to her, I found this an unusual, gripping and atmospheric story and one that pulled me in from the very first page.

4 Stars.


Something in Disguise
Something in Disguise
Price: £4.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Very Enjoyable, 4 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First published in 1969, Elizabeth Jane Howard's fifth novel 'Something in Disguise' tells the story of May, whose husband was killed during WW2, leaving her a widow with two children: Oliver and Elizabeth, who are now twenty-four and twenty years old respectively. Some years after her husband's death, May married Colonel Herbert Browne-Lacey, a widower with a daughter, Alice; however May is beginning to realize that her decision to marry Herbert was most probably a very unwise one. Herbert, we soon learn, is a pompous bore - May's children, particularly Oliver, tease him whenever the opportunity arises - but Herbert is not just a bore, he is a selfish, domineering and penny-pinching bully. Having coerced May into buying (with her money) a large, rambling and dankly-cold house in the country, he rations the electricity and the heating, keeps their alcohol supply locked up in his firelit study and, when he is not at home, he spends his time at his club or in other 'pursuits' leaving May to cope with the upkeep of the huge house practically on her own - which she finds increasingly difficult, especially as lately she has been feeling rather unwell.

Oliver, who can't bear Herbert, has left home and lives in London and although a personable and clever young man, has difficulty holding down a job and drifts from one insincere love affair to another; Elizabeth, keen to make a new life for herself soon follows him to London. Even Alice, who tells herself that she loves her father, is desperate to leave home and finds herself accepting a marriage proposal from the very dull and suburban Leslie. In London, Elizabeth (who has spent six months training as a cordon bleu cook) takes a job with an agency which sends her to cook supper parties for affluent clients and, through her work, she meets the much older and very wealthy John Cole, with whom she falls in love, and he with her, despite opposition from his needy daughter who does her best to come between them. Oliver, financially strapped and keen to marry a rich debutante, tells himself he has fallen for the beautiful and amoral Ginny, but when he gets to know her better, discovers she is not quite as she appears on the surface. And while Elizabeth and Oliver pursue their own lives, May becomes mysteriously more unwell with each passing day and decides that perhaps she should write her will…

As expected from Elizabeth Jane Howard, this is a beautifully written story peopled with interesting characters and full of marvellous descriptions of situation and setting - even Alice's cat, Claude (who plays a rather significant role in the novel) is wonderfully described, and Herbert - who becomes more unpleasant and sinister as the story progresses - makes the reader (or this one, anyhow) feel increasingly uncomfortable the more we read about him. Wise, perceptive, darkly amusing and with more than one surprise at the end of the tale, I found this an entertaining and very enjoyable novel and one that will go straight back onto one of my bookshelves to be read and enjoyed again.

5 Stars.

Also highly recommended by Elizabeth Jane Howard: The Beautiful Visit; Odd Girl Out; After Julius; Getting It Right; Love All and Falling.


The Prose Factory: Literary Life in Britain Since 1918
The Prose Factory: Literary Life in Britain Since 1918
by D J Taylor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Prose Factory, 2 Feb. 2016
D.J.Taylor informs the reader in the introduction to his interesting title:'The Prose Factory', that his book is a study of the recent development of literary culture in England and, amongst other issues, an enquiry into the diffusion of taste that was part of that development. He poses questions such as 'Why in the English twentieth century did certain kinds of writing prosper only for others to fall by the wayside? Why did certain critics succeed in forming or altering the opinions of the literary public and others fail? And what assumptions did the reader who picked up a novel in the 1930s, the 1970s, or the 2000s, bring both to the book itself and the figure of the person who wrote it?' Interesting questions indeed and Mr Taylor admits that there are no definite answers to any of those questions - but, he says, in posing them we learn something about the complex process by which a book is brought to its audience and the way in which literature, of whatever kind, works its effect.

Presented in three parts containing chapters with intriguing titles such as: 'Highbrows, Lowbrows and Those In Between'; 'The Pink Decade'; 'Late Bloomsbury'; 'Waiting for the Barbarians' and 'The Unschooled Reader', the author also includes an interesting section in each of the three parts of the book entitled 'Making a Living' where we learn that few writers rely solely on their earnings from their books to survive. In a chronological format the author looks at the decline in popularity of Georgian poetry and the rise of Modernism and of T.S.Eliot; the appearance of the Sitwell siblings: Edith, Osbert and Sacheverell, with mention of Edith's 'Facade' - a series of poems performed to music composed by the young William Walton; we read of Virginia Woolf and other Bloomsbury members and their part in shaping literary taste; we look at Hugh Walpole and the 'Perils of Success' and a whole lot more, including the emergence in the 1950s of the 'angry young men' and, later, the arrival of the 'golden generation' of young male writers such as: Ian McEwan, Martin Amis and Julian Barnes, as well as the ascent of women writers such as: Iris Murdoch and A.S.Byatt. There are, naturally, some omissions and, as commented by another reviewer writing here, there were many mentions of F.R. Leavis, but on the whole, I was caught up in Mr Taylor's enthusiasm for his subject and found this well-researched book an interesting, informative and enjoyable read.

4 Stars.


Smoulder
Smoulder
by Kim Hargreaves
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Patterns in Gorgeous Yarns, 31 Jan. 2016
This review is from: Smoulder (Paperback)
As I have commented in previous reviews of mine for Kim Hargreaves' knitting books, I have been knitting from Kim's books for many years, including the Rowan Knitting books - where Kim was, until she branched out on her own, one of the main designers. Fortunately, I have always been very pleased with the finished results - her designs and the yarns she uses produce garments that have a stylish hand-crafted appearance, rather than looking like a homemade effort. This particular knitting book: 'Smoulder' contains several patterns that I've promised myself I will find the time to knit: firstly there is 'Kitten' a neat little cardigan in Rowan Angora Haze (I'm going to make it a bit shorter, so it's more of a cropped cardigan); then there is 'Claudia' a lovely tunic with a boat-shaped neckline and side vents knitted in Rowan Kid Classic (I plan on making this longer so that I can wear it as a short dress over opaque tights or with skinny jeans); I am rather taken with 'Wren' which is a denim style jacket - but then on second thoughts I think I might prefer 'Fern' a blazer-style jacket with a back vent which is, like 'Wren', knitted in Felted Tweed. And I have to make 'Rosamund' a close-fitting cropped cardigan with a wide, deep neckline in Rowan Kid Classic and their lovely Kid Silk Haze - this would look great knitted in black and worn in the evening with a floaty skirt and heels or with fitted trousers. There are several other patterns in the book (including 'Ava' an attractive V-neck cardigan in Rowan Angora Haze which is shown on the cover) but as there are only so many knitted garments a person can wear and I have only limited time in which to knit them, I'll have to pass on the others. If you want to see all the patterns contained in this book, do visit Kim's website, alternatively English Yarns based in Shoreham, West Sussex, have a website where you'll be able to see all of the patterns in detail and they also sell the materials needed to knit the designs. John Lewis now also sell a wide range of Rowan Yarns online. Happy knitting.

5 Stars.


The Noise of Time
The Noise of Time
by Julian Barnes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Struggle Between Integrity and Survival, 28 Jan. 2016
This review is from: The Noise of Time (Hardcover)
Set mostly in Stalinist Russia, Julian Barnes's 'The Noise of Time' is a brief, but absorbing fictional biography, which provides the reader with an interesting and thought-provoking overview of the life and times of the composer Dmitri Shostakovich. In 1936, Joseph Stalin attended a performance of Shostakovich's opera 'Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk' and was not impressed. Stalin left the performance before the end and shortly afterwards an editorial was published in 'Pravda' strongly criticizing Shostakovich's work and referring to it as 'Muddle Instead of Music', and if that were not worrying enough, further pieces followed denouncing the composer as an enemy of the people. The reader first meets Shostakovich late at night as he waits on the landing outside his apartment, fully clothed and with his suitcase packed, in readiness for the anticipated visit by the NKVD. Having already attended an interview at the 'Big House', where he was invited to denounce certain members of his acquaintance and was then released, he now waits night after night on the landing for the expected visit from the secret police - which doesn't arrive. The crisis passes, but the extreme anxiety caused by the fear of his imminent arrest, coupled with the realization of what he might be prepared to do to avoid imprisonment and its aftermath, never leaves him.

We next meet Shostakovich in 1948, and then in 1949, when Stalin informs him that his presence is required as a representative of the Soviet Union at the Cultural and Scientific Congress for World Peace in New York. Reluctant to attend, Shostakovich points out that it would be difficult to do this when his music has been banned in Russia, only to discover that he has suddenly been reinstated. In New York he is forced to read from a prepared speech criticizing Stravinsky, a composer Shostakovich greatly admires and this, and other incidents, add to his feelings of humiliation and guilt. Our next encounter with the composer is in 1960, after the death of Stalin and with Russia under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev, when Shostakovich is informed of his imminent appointment as Chairman of the Russian Federation Union of Composers, a position which requires him to become a Communist Party member - something that he has so far managed to avoid and which now causes him yet more inner turmoil as he struggles to cope with feelings of despair and self-contempt.

Deftly composed, as one would expect from Julian Barnes, this story (the title of which is taken from Osip Mandelstam's memoirs) discusses themes of conscience, self-knowledge and personal integrity, and is a masterclass in brevity. However, despite being brief in length, the author - who presents his story in a series of vignettes revealing insights into the mind of his composer - ably conjures up the oppressive atmosphere of Stalinist Russia and the terror experienced by those who fell foul of the authorities during the purges. And although it may be true, that in terms of physical action, not a huge amount takes place during the course of this novel, Mr Barnes has directed his focus on Shostakovich's inner thoughts, his fears and imaginings and has cleverly condensed his character's life story in order to provide a crystallised and rather unsettling account of one man's struggle between integrity and survival.

4 Stars.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 29, 2016 6:39 PM GMT


The Life and Loves of Laurie Lee
The Life and Loves of Laurie Lee
by Valerie Grove
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Readable Account, 24 Jan. 2016
Laurie Lee was an elusive character, who although wrote three autobiographical books ('Cider With Rosie'; 'As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning' and 'A Moment of War') he never revealed the whole truth, and what he did reveal, as Valerie Grove's interesting biography tells us, sometimes lacked veracity. Born in 1914, Laurie Lee was brought up in a small cottage in Slad, Gloucestershire, by his doting mother, Annie - a "scatty,garrulous, emotional" woman, whose husband left her to bring up seven children alone. Wanting to spread his wings, Laurie left Slad one morning in June 1934, and walked to London (he could just as easily have cycled, or caught the train, Valerie Grove comments: "But walking out was the poetic route to the gypsy life…the romantic troubadour's way. Laurie Lee had unwittingly begun creating his legend.") Once settled in London, Laurie, who was already a competent artist and violinist, sent some of his poems to magazines and newspapers, the first of which was published in 'The Sunday Referee' - a national paper which also published some of Dylan Thomas's poems. Before long, however, Laurie was keen to be on the move and although he knew very little about Spain, he decided that that was where he wanted to be and off he went. Whilst busking with his violin through Spain, Laurie met poet, Roy Campbell, and his wife Mary (the eldest of the beautiful Garman sisters - one of whom, the married Lorna Wishart, would later have a significant impact on Laurie's life) and he also met the middle-aged and very well-connected Wilma Gregory, who later became Laurie's patroness.

Whilst Laurie was in Spain the Civil War broke out and, caught up in heavy shellfire, he suffered an epileptic fit - a disorder which, throughout his life, Laurie tried hard to conceal. Wilma persuaded Laurie to return to England with her, but once home Laurie wasn't able to settle and in 1937 (after meeting the "beautiful and fascinating" Lorna Wishart), he managed to find his way back into Spain with plans to join the International Brigade as a volunteer. Although Laurie's intention was to help the Republicans in their fight against Franco's Nationalist army, under the stress of the situation he suffered several more epileptic fits and, after only nine weeks in Spain, Laurie was sent home to England, which caused him lasting embarrassment and shame. However, back again in England, Laurie was now able to focus more on his writing and was also able to spend time with Lorna Wishart, with whom he fell deeply in love and who became his muse. After several years with the very alluring, but self-centred Lorna (who gave birth to their daughter, Yasmin) Lorna ended their liaison, leaving Laurie heartbroken and reluctant to ever again involve himself so wholeheartedly in a relationship. There is, of course, much more to this well-researched 500+ page biography than I have mentioned in this review, where the reader learns of Laurie Lee's love affairs (both before and after his marriage); his courtship of the lovely teenaged Kathy (niece of Lorna Wishart), who later became his much-younger wife - who selflessly devoted herself to Laurie and was remarkably tolerant of his infidelities, his difficult behaviour and his increasing reliance on alcohol; of Laurie's road to fame through his famous memoir 'Cider with Rosie'; of his friendship with Cecil Day-Lewis and Rosamond Lehmann; of his affair with Elizabeth Jane Howard, and a huge amount more.

Valerie Grove, who had the cooperation of Laurie Lee's widow and access to all of his papers, has produced an interesting and very readable account of her subject, and although sympathetic in her approach to a man she describes as effortlessly charming, Ms Grove does not shy away from revealing Laurie Lee's less admirable qualities or from discussing the veracity of his some of his autobiographical material. Interestingly, Laurie Lee was referred to by his brother, Jack, as "The most devious person it is possible to invent" and even after reading this well-researched biography, he still appears somewhat of an enigma, but one that I now know very much more about than I did before. Recommended.

4 Stars.


Laurie Lee: The Well-loved Stranger
Laurie Lee: The Well-loved Stranger
by Valerie Grove
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Readable Account, 24 Jan. 2016
As another reviewer has already commented here, Laurie Lee was an elusive character, who although wrote three autobiographical books ('Cider With Rosie'; 'As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning' and 'A Moment of War') he never revealed the whole truth, and what he did reveal, as Valerie Grove's interesting biography tells us, sometimes lacked veracity. Born in 1914, Laurie Lee was brought up in a small cottage in Slad, Gloucestershire, by his doting mother, Annie - a "scatty,garrulous, emotional" woman, whose husband left her to bring up seven children alone. Wanting to spread his wings, Laurie left Slad one morning in June 1934, and walked to London (he could just as easily have cycled, or caught the train, Valerie Grove comments: "But walking out was the poetic route to the gypsy life…the romantic troubadour's way. Laurie Lee had unwittingly begun creating his legend.") Once settled in London, Laurie, who was already a competent artist and violinist, sent some of his poems to magazines and newspapers, the first of which was published in 'The Sunday Referee' - a national paper which also published some of Dylan Thomas's poems. Before long, however, Laurie was keen to be on the move and although he knew very little about Spain, he decided that that was where he wanted to be and off he went. Whilst busking with his violin through Spain, Laurie met poet, Roy Campbell, and his wife Mary (the eldest of the beautiful Garman sisters - one of whom, the married Lorna Wishart, would later have a significant impact on Laurie's life) and he also met the middle-aged and very well-connected Wilma Gregory, who later became Laurie's patroness.

Whilst Laurie was in Spain the Civil War broke out and, caught up in heavy shellfire, he suffered an epileptic fit - a disorder which, throughout his life, Laurie tried hard to conceal. Wilma persuaded Laurie to return to England with her, but once home Laurie wasn't able to settle and in 1937 (after meeting the "beautiful and fascinating" Lorna Wishart), he managed to find his way back into Spain with plans to join the International Brigade as a volunteer. Although Laurie's intention was to help the Republicans in their fight against Franco's Nationalist army, under the stress of the situation he suffered several more epileptic fits and, after only nine weeks in Spain, Laurie was sent home to England, which caused him lasting embarrassment and shame. However, back again in England, Laurie was now able to focus more on his writing and was also able to spend time with Lorna Wishart, with whom he fell deeply in love and who became his muse. After several years with the very alluring, but self-centred Lorna (who gave birth to their daughter, Yasmin) Lorna ended their liaison, leaving Laurie heartbroken and reluctant to ever again involve himself so wholeheartedly in a relationship. There is, of course, much more to this well-researched 500+ page biography than I have mentioned in this review, where the reader learns of Laurie Lee's love affairs (both before and after his marriage); his courtship of the lovely teenaged Kathy (niece of Lorna Wishart), who later became his much-younger wife - who selflessly devoted herself to Laurie and was remarkably tolerant of his infidelities, his difficult behaviour and his increasing reliance on alcohol; of Laurie's road to fame through his famous memoir 'Cider with Rosie'; of his friendship with Cecil Day-Lewis and Rosamond Lehmann; of his affair with Elizabeth Jane Howard, and a huge amount more.

Valerie Grove, who had the cooperation of Laurie Lee's widow and access to all of his papers, has produced an interesting and very readable account of her subject, and although sympathetic in her approach to a man she describes as effortlessly charming, Ms Grove does not shy away from revealing Laurie Lee's less admirable qualities or from discussing the veracity of his some of his autobiographical material. Interestingly, Laurie Lee was referred to by his brother, Jack, as "The most devious person it is possible to invent" and even after reading this well-researched biography, he still appears somewhat of an enigma, but one that I now know very much more about than I did before. Recommended.

4 Stars.


The Spire
The Spire
by William Golding
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars An Extraordinary Novel, 21 Jan. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Spire (Hardcover)
William Golding's extraordinary novel 'The Spire', set in medieval times, tells the story of Dean Jocelin, who believes God has chosen him to put into effect the building of towering spire on an already completed cathedral. This belief becomes an obsession and one which totally possesses Jocelin, causing great difficulty for many of those around him, not least because the cathedral has been built on marshy ground with virtually no proper foundations, and adding more weight to the main structure is absolute folly - in fact the new spire soon becomes known as 'Jocelin's Folly'. Refusing to listen to the expert advice of his master builder, Roger Mason, who makes it known that for a spire to stand it must go down as far as it goes up, Jocelin forces Roger to continue piling stone upon stone ever upwards until the pillars supporting the cathedral begin to 'sing' and then, eventually, to shriek under the immense pressure of the spire. And it is not just the structure of the building that comes under great stress, for the spire soon casts a shadow over the lives of the people who work and live in the vicinity of the building and, before long, more than one person is driven to the point of insanity…

It states on the cover of my 1964 hardback edition (purchased from Amazon Marketplace) that ''The Spire' is an immensely impressive evocation of a totally obsessed, or possessed, will - and of the very feel and texture of the building the will created..' and I would certainly agree with that. William Golding (who for many years taught at Bishop Wordsworth's School, situated within the medieval walls of Salisbury's Cathedral Close) has a wonderful way of describing things - the cathedral building, the technical details of constructing the spire, the weather, the weather's effect on the building work in progress and on the people themselves, Jocelin's obsessive determination to see the spire built regardless of the financial and emotional expense incurred along the way, and more. This is an imaginative, unusual and rather mystical story where ambiguity and allegory abound, and although not an easy read, it's a novel that once begun makes the reader (or this one, anyhow) want to continue without break until the last page has been turned. A rather impressive achievement.

4 Stars.


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
by Anne Brontė
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.00

5.0 out of 5 stars The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, 17 Jan. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Anne Brontė's second (and sadly, her final) novel tells the story of young gentleman farmer, Gilbert Markham, whose curiosity is aroused when he hears of a mysterious, young widow who, with her small son, has moved in as the tenant of Wildfell Hall. When Gilbert meets the beautiful widow, artist Helen Graham, he is deeply attracted to her and although Helen initially resists his attempts at friendship, she gradually begins to enjoy his company encouraging Gilbert to hope that they may have a future together. However, Helen's reclusivity and her reluctance to become better acquainted with her neighbours, causes unpleasant rumours to circulate, especially when it becomes known that she has been receiving regular twilight visits from her landlord, Mr Lawrence. Gilbert, jealous and hurt by what he feels is Helen's duplicity, accuses her of deceiving him - an accusation which results in Helen entrusting him with her journal, the reading of which she feels will clarify her situation more effectively than a verbal explanation. As Gilbert reads Helen's diary, he learns how six years previously, against the advice of her aunt and guardian, Helen married the good-looking, but feckless Arthur Huntingdon who, after their marriage revealed himself to be not only feckless, but a dissolute alcoholic and adulterer, set on corrupting their young son. As Arthur's physical and moral decline continued, despite his wife's entreaties to him to reform his ways, Helen - more for the sake of her son than for herself - made plans to leave her husband and support herself with the proceeds from her art, but when Arthur discovered her intentions, he made her brutally aware of how it would be impossible for her to put her plans into action...

First published in 1848, and very controversial for its time, Anne Brontė's powerfully depicted story with the boldness of its central theme, is considered to be one of the first feminist novels and one which challenged the established morals of Victorian society. As Brontė biographer, Winifred Gerin, states in an afterword to one of the editions on my bookshelves: "Anne Brontė was not only shocking the social conventions of the day, but flouting the current laws of the land. In 1848 wives - and still more the children of a marriage - were wholly subject to a husband's control"; and the writer and suffragist, May Sinclair, commented in 1913 that the slamming of Helen Huntingdon's bedroom door against her husband reverberated throughout Victorian England. Anne Brontė's work is often overshadowed by that of her older sisters, Charlotte and Emily (and Charlotte, for various reasons, did not approve of 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall'), but I admire Anne's writing just as much as that of her talented sisters, and have read and very much enjoyed this novel and her first novel: Agnes Grey more than once over the years, and have also bought copies for friends and family. Recommended.

5 Stars.


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Collins Classics)
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Collins Classics)
by Anne Brontė
Edition: Paperback
Price: £2.50

5.0 out of 5 stars The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, 17 Jan. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Anne Brontė's second (and sadly, her final) novel tells the story of young gentleman farmer, Gilbert Markham, whose curiosity is aroused when he hears of a mysterious, young widow who, with her small son, has moved in as the tenant of Wildfell Hall. When Gilbert meets the beautiful widow, artist Helen Graham, he is deeply attracted to her and although Helen initially resists his attempts at friendship, she gradually begins to enjoy his company encouraging Gilbert to hope that they may have a future together. However, Helen's reclusivity and her reluctance to become better acquainted with her neighbours, causes unpleasant rumours to circulate, especially when it becomes known that she has been receiving regular twilight visits from her landlord, Mr Lawrence. Gilbert, jealous and hurt by what he feels is Helen's duplicity, accuses her of deceiving him - an accusation which results in Helen entrusting him with her journal, the reading of which she feels will clarify her situation more effectively than a verbal explanation. As Gilbert reads Helen's diary, he learns how six years previously, against the advice of her aunt and guardian, Helen married the good-looking, but feckless Arthur Huntingdon who, after their marriage revealed himself to be not only feckless, but a dissolute alcoholic and adulterer, set on corrupting their young son. As Arthur's physical and moral decline continued, despite his wife's entreaties to him to reform his ways, Helen - more for the sake of her son than for herself - made plans to leave her husband and support herself with the proceeds from her art, but when Arthur discovered her intentions, he made her brutally aware of how it would be impossible for her to put her plans into action…

First published in 1848, and very controversial for its time, Anne Brontė's powerfully depicted story with the boldness of its central theme, is considered to be one of the first feminist novels and one which challenged the established morals of Victorian society. As Brontė biographer, Winifred Gerin, states in an afterword to one of the editions on my bookshelves: "Anne Brontė was not only shocking the social conventions of the day, but flouting the current laws of the land. In 1848 wives - and still more the children of a marriage - were wholly subject to a husband's control"; and the writer and suffragist, May Sinclair, commented in 1913 that the slamming of Helen Huntingdon's bedroom door against her husband reverberated throughout Victorian England. Anne Brontė's work is often overshadowed by that of her older sisters, Charlotte and Emily (and Charlotte, for various reasons, did not approve of 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall'), but I admire Anne's writing just as much as that of her talented sisters, and have read and very much enjoyed this novel and her first novel: Agnes Grey more than once over the years, and have also bought copies for friends and family. Recommended.

5 Stars.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20