Well! Finishing this book IS an accomplishment and I do feel I have accomplished something. The first one hundred pages were torture to read through. I almost stopped reading. However, the second half of the book was much more interesting. This is not a quick read. It is slow and difficult. I felt like I was plodding through it most of the time.
Jane Eyre is one of my favorite classic reads. I have read Jane Eyre more than once. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall also by Anne Bronte are also favorites. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte while, in my opinion, a little different, I did like it. I’ve always enjoyed reading books by the Brontes. Shirley is the exception. I’m not sure I can write a review or even where I should begin.
Napoleon is at war. England is industrializing and the textile workers are protesting by destroying textile machinery.
Although Shirley is the title of the book, I didn’t fell that Shirley was the female protagonist. She inherits an estate and becomes wealthy. Caroline, seems to be our main female character. She lives with her uncle in the rectory. Her uncle, while not a brutal man, is not a loving and nurturing fellow either. Shirley and Caroline meet and seem to be on friendly terms with one another. This book is not a romance, but people do fall in love and get married. Caroline is in love with Robert but she believes Robert will marry Shirley. Shirley is in love with the tutor, Robert’s brother. Robert is not present in most of the story. I liked both men, there wasn’t any reason not to like them.
I didn’t really have a favorite character, although I did like Shirley and Caroline. Everyone seemed somewhat mundane to me. I don’t want to create any spoilers, so I will stop here. I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading a book, especially a classic, but this wasn’t a favorite of mine. I might read it again sometime to get a better understanding of the story.
Have you read Shirley by Charlotte Bronte? What are your thoughts?