LOVED. THIS. BOOK.
So, my introduction to the youngest Ms Bronte early the year was a little lukewarm - It's not that Agnes Grey was bad, it just... wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. Or, to be more honest with myself, I wasn't as able to ken it as I would have liked. Wildfell Hall has not this problem, and is now entering as the third member of my holy trinity of Bronte novels alongside Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre (in all honesty, I liked it better than Jane Eyre. It's more difficult to compare it to Wuthering Heights, they're very different books).
Wildfell Hall was a fairly straightforward book, concerning the fates and fortunes of a young woman who suffers through a painful marriage - even that is talking too much, though. I very seldom think much about spoilers, because usually I just don't care if a book surprises me or not in determining whether I like it. And Wildfell Hall didn't surprise me, anyway - I knew what it was about before I started. But, it's easy to go into this book, having decided what it is before you start - and if you're looking for a sad-marriage-story and nothing more, I think it's very easy to get that. There is so much more to the book, though, for me, that to just read this is a melodrama is to miss the best of Anne's quiet intelligence.
I would also say that, while I know the Brontes are far more popular with women, this is a book that, as a person of the male persuasion, I'm particularly glad I read (which is not to discourage women from reading it to any degree, just to encourage men). Ms Bronte is a very sensitive portrait painter, and the men in this book come through as honest, believable, and human, in a way that made me connect with them - something I honestly usually have trouble doing, with male characters - and thereby see things abotu my own role in our male-dominated world that our society is designed to normally veil from us. This book, much like Tender Morsels earlier this year, has teh powerful distinction that I feel I am a better human being for having read it.
I know the review is vague, but again, I don't want to hammer your brain into my thoughts if you want to read it - it's the sort of book that ought to teach you about the self you brought to read it.