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I'm a grad student, an avid reader, a huge nerd, fervent roleplayer, wife, cat lover, tea snob, and obsessive keeper of lists.
Agnes Grey - Angeline Goreau, Anne Brontë I'd like, if I may, to start with a link to a webcomic that, having read most of the work of the Bronte sisters, I find utterly hilarious:

Dude Watchin' with the Brontes

I realize that this cartoon is more pertinent to The Tenant of Wildfell Hall than to Agnes Grey, but I discovered the comic after I read that one, so here it is. And it isn't entirely wasted. The dashing romantic handsome young man is, indeed, the jerk, and the sober, not-so-handsome young curate the worthy man.

But I didn't like Agnes Grey as much as I liked the Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Less happens, and the book seems to stretch on and on, making the same point that she has already effectively made, repeatedly.

This is not to say that the book is a waste - as a critique of how governesses were treated, and even more pointedly, the lessons that rich young men and women learn all too well, about being self-centered, and thoughtless, and greedy, and frivolous, Agnes Grey is an enjoyable read.

But it packs less punch, and with the main character, we know that, despite her wish to help her family out, she does have other options. In this case, Jane Eyre, with fewer options, gives more emotional drive. It's hard to talk about how badly governesses were treated (and they could be!) if there is something else the main character can do.

But at least Agnes doesn't fall in love with a jackass.