A Brontë a Day – Day 20: We Need To Talk About Shirley

Who here has actually read Shirley?

I feel like out of all the Brontë novels, it’s the one you’re most likely to avoid. It’s long, it’s complicated, it’s widely regarded as Charlotte Brontë’s “sophomore slump” and it has entirely too many curates. I personally wasn’t planning on going in any closer but a guest post on my website convinced me otherwise.
Pennington argued that Shirley was in fact the Brontëest of all the Brontë novels. And although it’s chaotic, messy and is definitely the sort of book you turn in to your publisher when 3 of your siblings die in less than 9 months … it is indeed the Brontëest book you’ll ever read. Think Yorkshire. Think the oppression of women. Think strong heroines kicking serious posterior. Yes, it’s a bit of a slog in places getting up that hill but once you’re there, the views are spectacular.
Are there any other fans out there? Hoping so!
My review is here
I agreed to participate in the #ABrontëADay Challenge during May for the A Walk Around the Brontë Table Facebook group. I will also be sharing posts on my Instagram feed.
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6 thoughts on “A Brontë a Day – Day 20: We Need To Talk About Shirley

    1. Oh yes! I am NOT a Louis fan! It felt like such a betrayal of Shirley that she ended up with that guy. It’s strange – before I read this, it seemed so improbable that there was a lesbian subtext in a Charlotte Bronte novel but having read it, I really think that Caroline and Shirley would have been far better off going off together. And in a way, by marrying brothers, that’s what they achieved.

  1. Again, I need to re-read this. I didn’t exactly care for it the first time around, but that was probably more to do with me than the book. I was probably to young and was expecting another Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, which of course it is not. I remember being impatient to encounter Shirley, and I found Caroline a bit hard going. was Robert really worth all that moping? Now that I know what to expect, and have acquired a lot more patience with Caroline’s type, I think I would get more from the book. I’ll give it another go.

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