Set in the industrialising England of the Napoleonic wars, a period of bad harvests, Luddite riots, and economic unrest, Shirley is the story of two contrasting heroines and the men they love. One is the shy Caroline Helstone, trapped in the oppressive atmosphere of a Yorkshire rectory, whose life represents the plight of single women in the 19th century. The other is the vivacious Shirley Keeldar, who inherits a local estate and whose wealth liberates her from convention.More
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The forgotten Bronte novel
Well forgotten by me anyway. I have recently been re-reading and listening to many of the better known 19th century novels and have really enjoyed them. Most recently I read and listened to Jane Eyre and then Villette which are both well known. However, Shirley meant little to me and I was pleased to find an audio edition available. Like both novels already mentioned Shirley deals with the plight of the poor 19th century woman through the character of Caroline Helstone (and her mother), but also the difficulties facing a rich one, Shirley, as well. It also comments on the behaviour of the clergy and the uprisings in the Yorkshire textile industry. The story held my attention and it was beautifully written. While none of the main protagonists really pleased me I did care about what came of them. When listening to the Tenant of Wildfell Hall I really wished I had downloaded the abridged edition but I didn't regret any of the time spent listening to this and importantly it was beautifully read.
Very nice to listen to