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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall  By  cover art

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

By: Anne Brontë
Narrated by: Alex Jennings,Jenny Agutter
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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

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

23 people found this helpful

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Another woman too willing to sacrifice her life

Not so long ago I read the statement by an author, in The New York Times Book Review column "By the Book" that in his opinion this is the best book of all the books by the Bronte sisters. So I added it to my list and listened to it. The story starts out intriguing and the writing is excellent. The performance is excellent. But it turns into one more 19th century story (and I love 19th century literature) about a woman who is willing to sacrifice herself - she'd almost die on a cross - for some kind of distorted sense of loyalty and duty to a man who wronged her and abuses her. We need more women who defy these expectations of a "good Christian" woman. They do exist.
That being said, there are some aspects of how she ended up in that circumstance that still resonate today: women who get too easily taken in by charm and good looks, and end up in bad relationships, and the shame - and many women still suffer that sense of shame in their communities - of admitting to family that you made a mistake, and even that the advice against the man should have been taken (though the alternatives in Helen's case were not very enticing). And then, of course, there are still today women who have no simple means to get out of a bad marriage, whether because their religion forbids it, their religion makes it difficult, or the community they are in makes it difficult. There are still good-for-nothing (and also abusive) men out there, and women would do well to be careful about who they commit themselves to, and protect themselves financially.
Finally, I don't agree with that author interviewed in "By the Book" - though the book is good, I don't think it is the best of the Bronte sisters' books that I have read (or listened to).

3 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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  • 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.

22 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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  • richard2
  • 11-21-22

Extremely well read by both narrators but

what a tedious moralising heroine who only hopes to reform and teach proper Christian behaviour to her rather horrible husband (and his nasty cronies)
The story feels interminable in some phases, particularly when Helen’s diary is being read. I disliked her and just about everyone else in the book!
I appreciate this is a portrait of 19th century values, and that Anne Brontë was particularly pious, but I honestly didn’t find much to admire in the female protagonist. Unlike Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights, it didn’t seem to have any of their iconoclastic power to me. Gave up about 3/4 of the way.

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  • KS
  • 09-07-22

Beautifully read

The performances are a tour de force and the novel makes a lasting impression. On a few occasions you might wish for the story to move on just a little bit faster but it is more than worthwhile to stick with it to appreciate the full scale of the author's exploration of the subject matter. I had a vague remembrance of seeing a TV adaptation many years ago and really enjoyed going to the text for this full rendition of the novel. Narrator Alex Jennings is particularly gifted but this audio book does benefit from the two narrators due to the novel's structure. How terribly sad the young Anne Bronte was not blessed with a longer life as she would surely have continued her extraordinary writing. I will certainly listen to this again.

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  • alison
  • 08-28-22

an interesting book

I loved this book for the picture of English culture and society in the early 1800s it creates.

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  • Lisa
  • 08-16-22

Excellent

A perfect classic novel very enjoyable story brought to life by the excellent narrators

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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