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The story of a woman's struggle for independence from an abusive husband. Helen 'Graham' has returned to Wildfell Hall in flight from a disastrous marriage and to protect her young son from the influence of his father.
Exiled to the desolate moorland mansion, she adopts an assumed name and earns her living as a painter. Gilbert Markham, a local man intrigued by the beautiful young 'widow' offers his friendship but becomes distrustful when her reclusive behaviour sparks rumours and speculation. When she offers her diary for him to read only then does he discover the dark truth of her shocking past.
The second and last novel written by Anne Brontë, the youngest of the six Brontë children, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall deals with alcoholism, physical and emotional abuse, unhappy marriages and adultery. Anne's novels are distinctly different from that of her sisters, filled with gritty realism. After her death, Anne's sister, Charlotte, prevented its republication perhaps due to her belief that it was overly graphic and an 'entire mistake'.
Despite first being published in 1848, The Independent described it as a 'frighteningly up-to-date tale of single motherhood and wife-battering.' It is considered one of the more shocking of the Brontë stories and due to Helen's breaking of social convention and law holds firm as one of the first feminist novels.
Three-time Olivier Award winner actor Alex Jennings is known for portraying Prince Charles in The Queen (2006) as well as appearing in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), Babel (2006) and The Lady in the Van (2015). His television work has included Cranford (2007), Silk (2011-2014), and Victoria (2016). He has narrated many audiobooks including Charlie Connelly's Attention All Shipping, which in 2008 was chosen as one of the top 40 audiobooks of all time.
Jenny Agutter began her acting career as a child in 1964's East of Sudan and is well known for appearing in three adaptations of The Railway Children. She starred in the critically acclaimed 1971 film Walkabout as well as receiving a string of Hollywood roles. She won an Emmy for her role in The Snow Goose (1971), as well as a BAFTA for her role in Equus (1997). More recently she has appeared in several television dramas, including Spooks (2002-2003), and Call the Midwife since 2012. She has performed in numerous theatre productions, including roles with the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. She has also narrated audiobooks Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle and Jane Austen's Emma and featured in the Doctor Who audio dramas The Bride of Peladon and The Minister of Chance. In 2012 she was appointed OBE for her charity work.
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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Yes. It's a good story.
Unfortunately several parts of the narration were inaudible due to low volume. When Alex Jennings was speaking some of Helen's dialogue he did it in a whisper. No doubt this was for dramatic effect, however without increasing the volume it is inaudible. This is irritating and inconvenient. This is by no means a criticism of Alex Jennings narration, it is a criticism of direction/production.