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Publisher's Summary

Fleeing a disastrous marriage, Helen Huntingdon retreats to the desolate mansion, Wildfell Hall, with her son, Arthur. There, she makes her living as a painter. Finding it difficult to avoid her neighbors, she is soon an object of speculation and gossip. Brontë portrays Helen's eloquent struggle for independence at a time when society defined a married woman as her husband's property.

Public Domain (P)2015 AudioGO

What listeners say about The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Average Customer Ratings
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Relatable Romance and Dialogue

This is only the second Anne Bronte book that I've read, but I enjoyed it more than Agnes Grey. It is primarily told from a man's perspective which I don't usually see! The book is unique because the main character is a man for the first 15ish chapters then switches to a woman for maybe 10 chapters before going back to the man again. The lover's conflicts in this story are surprisingly relatable for being written in 1848, especially if you have ever suffered mental abuse from a spouse or partner. That being said, the story overall is not dark or depressing at all. Nothing so shocking that it is hard to read. It is mild and insightful!

Plus, loved the two narrators in this version! Very elegant accents and portrayed the emotional scenes very well!

21 people found this helpful

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Excellent performances of an abridged version

Performances are great. But take note - this is either an abridged version or there is a recording error. Almost all of Chapter 28 is missing.

20 people found this helpful

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Beautiful Brontë!

I found Tenant of Wildfell Hall Is a marvelous noble filled with subtle intrigues and not-so-subtle commentaries on both virtuous and despotic personalities. One seldom could find a better comparison between virtue and vice as one finds in this book. The story is entertaining and the narrators are exceptional!

13 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

I found the narration to be quite delightful and was sorry when the story came to a close. I'd recommend this to everyone!

10 people found this helpful

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A really excellent audio version

I’m the sort of person who had tried to read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall once upon a time, before life and other things got in the way and I sort of forgot about it. Honestly this audio book was the best thing to get me back at it again. Where reading the book myself was sometimes a bit tedious, I thoroughly enjoyed having it read to me. I definitely recommend this version to anyone interested in the story. It’s a nice long one for if you do a lot of commuting and the story is, while not always the most exciting, very enjoyable. The two narrators do a good job of helping distinguish between a large cast of characters, and are never dull or monotonous to listen to.

8 people found this helpful

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19th Century Heroine

To write so honestly about human nature, domestic unhappiness, alcoholism, and adultery must have been shocking and perhaps disturbing to the readers of this novel in the mid to late 1800s.

In 2019, I applaud Brontë for her transparency and authenticity.

I felt for her protagonist, Helen Huntington, and could only imagine the strength and fortitude a woman of the Victorian era needed to persevere as she did and with honor, trust, and faith.

Gilbert Markham was also quite likable. Although moody and quick to anger at times, his morality and character developed beautifully as the story unfolded.

Brontë did an excellent job of weaving the two stories and perspectives into one.

A powerful and intelligent historical fiction.

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent performances

Alex Jennings and Jenny Agutter share the credit for this beautifully narrated production of Anne Bronte's powerful novel. The story includes within the framework of a traditional courtship plot an unconventional exposure of the plight of a woman trapped in a marriage with an alcoholic abusive man.

9 people found this helpful

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Highly Recommended

I was unfamiliar with Anne Bronte's writings until I listened to this recording. The themes in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall will be familiar to a 21st Century reader - spousal abuse, alcoholism, and a woman's attempt to maintain her own identity - and are more modern than in her sisters' better known Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Due to the organization of the story, the use of two narrators is very effective and both narrators are outstanding.Although it is a long book and at times disturbing, I highly recommend the book and this recording. I look forward to reading/listening to Anne Bronte's other novel Agnes Grey.

3 people found this helpful

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Not Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights

In pursuit of educating myself of the classics, my latest endeavors has been the Bronte sisters. I love Jane Eyre. I loved Wuthering Heights: But this novel just didn’t do it for me. It was predictable. The mysterious woman and the man who falls in love with her and the process of revealing her mystery through misleading assumptions and secrets is the storyline. I understand well the Brontë sisters were innovators as female novelists of their times. I believe this novel reflects the scope of life and it’s limited attainable accomplishments for women of the time. But I conclude that this novel was the romance novel of the day and the reinforcement of morality of the period. I read it. Check.

5 people found this helpful

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Show Don’t Tell. Persuade Don’t Preach.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for Temperance and Christianity, too. But when those themes are handled this overtly and artlessly, I lose interest. I may even start to laugh.

Which is too bad, because for the first two thirds or so, Anne Bronte had me going. She let the situation speak for itself. Her characters lived. Her plot engaged. Then, somewhere around chapter 40-something, the wheels fell off the bus.

Through her own spiritual arrogance—marrying a known wastrel against everyone’s better judgement, with the calm assurance that she can save him—our heroine lands herself in the central mess of the novel. Understandable, of course. Human nature, you might say. But somewhere around chapter 40-something, Helen Graham starts delivering extended set-piece sermons on what heaven is like. And when she’s not admonishing moral turpitude, she’s reprimanding those who acquiesce to her religious strictures because the language they use doesn’t suit her. The final blow comes in the last few minutes when, choosing a heavy-handed symbol to express her undying love she then explains, in exhaustive detail, the meaning of that heavy-handed symbol.

She’s not an attractive character. Yes, love is blind. However, beyond a chivalrous response to nasty neighborhood gossip about who she is and where she came from, I detected no allurements that could inspire the dogged affections and hopeless yearnings of the man who, inevitably—and at far too great a length—becomes her husband.

Again, I don’t disagree with her ecclesiastical effusions; my goal is heaven, too. And drinking oneself to death is not my idea of fun. But this is a novel, not a sermon, art, not an encyclical. I wish Anne Bronte could have taken a page from Austen and woven her faith into the texture of her story. Instead, she goes in for the didacticism of Dickens and Tolstoy at their worst. Inevitably, Helen Graham and her erring husband become cardboard cutouts, pure good vs. irredeemable evil and, after an investment of some twelve hours, deeply, disappointingly uninteresting. And there were still four more hours to go.

Despite the falloff in literary quality, our two readers maintain a high standard throughout.

1 person found this helpful

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  • KT
  • 02-15-16

Abridged Version

What disappointed you about The Tenant of Wildfell Hall?

My overall review is only 1 star and this has everything to do with the audiobook which claims to be unabridged.The narration is pleasing as far as I have endured to listen, and the story of the original book is excellent.To my disappointment, I started realising that the audio book was missing several parts, as I also have a printed copy which at some points consulted along with the audio. I stopped listening altogether and turned to the print book when I saw that Chapter 28 is almost entirely taken out of the audio book.I feel extremely cheated in my purchase and I will not recommend to anyone who's after an unabridged version of the book.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Catriona
  • 03-30-17

Fantastic stuff!!!

I loved this audio book.
I have just listened to it twice through.
Truly amazing that Anne Bronte wrote this when she was only in her mid twenties. Published the year before she died, age 28.
She must have had wisdom well beyond her years. I very much enjoyed both narrators.
I couldn't stop listening.
I very highly recommend!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Pamela
  • 01-18-22

Wonderful Narration from Jennings & Agutter

The narration of this novel is excellently performed by Alex Jennings and Jenny Agutter. But even they cannot hide the dragged-out plot and repetition of the story. I would add a cautionary note here the violence displayed by Gilbert the male protagonist would be seen as someone in need of mental health assistance and anger management.
It is a book of interest in the context of social history and for capturing the social mores and zeitgeist of the nineteenth century. Viewed in that light it is very instructive. As a work of literature not so much.
I know die-hard Bronte fans will relish it and I bow with respect to them.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Strawberry
  • 08-30-21

A Wonderful Story So Well Told

This was a wonderful story, so well told by Anne Bronte. I am so in awe of her wisdom, insight, knowledge and depth. The story was not all happy, but real life to what happened to a woman with a beautiful soul that fell in love with the wrong man and suffered an unhappy marriage. Her strength, integrity, courage and also forgiveness. Just loved this book so much and may read again. The two narrators were excellent, but most of the book is read by Jenny Agutter, and I hung on her every word, and felt like she was really Helen telling the story. A beautiful voice to listen too. And Loved Anne Bronte's book, she was an amazing women to have written this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • beverley foster
  • 05-31-18

Too long

Far too long I did stick with it until the end but I cannot say that I enjoyed the book. I found it quite frustrating. Excellent narration as you would expect from two eminent actors but even they could not bring the book to life for me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Judy Robson
  • 12-31-21

great story

loved this book. Narration brilliant.
hightly recommend
what else can I say, wonderful book to hear

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  • Sarah Swords
  • 10-19-21

Anne Bronte’s genius at portraying character and the social injustices of her day.

The story is wonderfully evocative of nineteenth century manners, class and society.

The feminist themes running through it are as relevant today, the wonder is they were written then. Much maligned for her choice of subject matter, Anne Bronte insisted that life should be written about ‘warts and all’.

This is a fascinating novel and should be part of anyone’s library and education.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-10-21

Stonkingly good in all respects.

Wow, Anne Bronte. A brave and gripping novel. Beautifully read and performed. Entertaining and thought-provoking. The best kind of audible experience.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-06-20

Good.

Enjoyable but not moving.

A little too moralising throughout - a quality absent in such overt quantities in other Brontë sister's books- such as Wuthering Heights.

Eloquently and well written , although some passages closely resembled similar scenes from Austen's work.

I do not feel any of the characters really achieved any solidity or brilliance of personality, like Cathy or Heathcliff, but rather recited sermons or philosophiphied from writ. The husband character is quite convincing, though predictable.

In the scheme of things a very good book worthy of reading but it has failed to win my heart or transport my imagination.

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  • S. A. Stevens
  • 09-24-20

A Book to Read, to Listen and to always Remember.

What a wonderful narration by both speakers. Held me captivated and fulfilled. I read the book as a child and the narration bought the whole book alive to me just as my imagination did those many years ago. Loved it.