Quarantine reads #6: Female leads

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

This is a short 150 page novella by the youngest Bronte sister. It is loosely based on her own experience as a governess. Our protagonist is trying to pull her family out of poverty but working as a governess, although the job is more challenging than she expected. Its a story about love and family. Women pull themselves up, determined not to be defined by their patriarch’s failed money making scheme. I would say it is a good introduction to Bronte literature. Its not really complex but portrays the story of women from the past which I always find interesting.

My Own Story by Emmeline Pankhurst

I picked this up because it was free to download on kindle and it was about women’s rights so of course I wanted to read it. Emmeline Pankhurst writes her story of suffrage before the first world war. Its a really important story that is written in an easy to read way. It documents the horrific struggle women went through for our right to vote today. The treatment of suffragettes was much more violent than I had realised. It was a shocking story but one of never giving up despite the resistant and feeling of impossibility. I am excited to read more stories of women’s suffrage.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

This is a young adult novel about suicidal teens. There is a major trigger warning for depression and suicide. If you will be negatively affected by discussions of those themes, you can skip this book. We follow two teens, a guy and a girl, who meet on the edge of a building. They live very different lives but both suffer traumas – grief and separated families. It was hard hitting and had haunting descriptions of depression. It’s challenging topic to write about and I don’t think it did anything inherently wrong when dealing with it. I liked the characters but I didn’t fall in love will them but that’s a personal reaction.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

This novel has a great plot. It had very intricate events and characters. While being a long book at 600 pages, most of the time I felt engaged and was rooting for the characters. It was only at the end that I felt like there may have been some over-explanation. We start with a drawing master and his student falling in love and end up with a web of deception. I don’t want to say too much in case I ruin some reveals. What I can say is I highly recommend this book.

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