The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

  • by Anne Brontë
  • Narrated by Alex Jennings, Jenny Agutter
  • 16 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Exclusively from Audible
The story of a woman's struggle for independence from an abusive husband. Helen 'Graham' has returned to Wildfell Hall in flight from a disastrous marriage and to protect her young son from the influence of his father.
Exiled to the desolate moorland mansion, she adopts an assumed name and earns her living as a painter. Gilbert Markham, a local man intrigued by the beautiful young 'widow' offers his friendship but becomes distrustful when her reclusive behaviour sparks rumours and speculation. When she offers her diary for him to read only then does he discover the dark truth of her shocking past.
The second and last novel written by Anne Brontë, the youngest of the six Brontë children, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall deals with alcoholism, physical and emotional abuse, unhappy marriages and adultery. Anne's novels are distinctly different from that of her sisters, filled with gritty realism. After her death, Anne's sister, Charlotte, prevented its republication perhaps due to her belief that it was overly graphic and an 'entire mistake'.
Despite first being published in 1848, The Independent described it as a 'frighteningly up-to-date tale of single motherhood and wife-battering.' It is considered one of the more shocking of the Brontë stories and due to Helen's breaking of social convention and law holds firm as one of the first feminist novels.
Narrator Biography
Three-time Olivier Award winner actor Alex Jennings is known for portraying Prince Charles in The Queen (2006) as well as appearing in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), Babel (2006) and The Lady in the Van (2015). His television work has included Cranford (2007), Silk (2011-2014), and Victoria (2016). He has narrated many audiobooks including Charlie Connelly's Attention All Shipping, which in 2008 was chosen as one of the top 40 audiobooks of all time.
Jenny Agutter began her acting career as a child in 1964's East of Sudan and is well known for appearing in three adaptations of The Railway Children. She starred in the critically acclaimed 1971 film Walkabout as well as receiving a string of Hollywood roles. She won an Emmy for her role in The Snow Goose (1971), as well as a BAFTA for her role in Equus (1997). More recently she has appeared in several television dramas, including Spooks (2002-2003), and Call the Midwife since 2012. She has performed in numerous theatre productions, including roles with the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. She has also narrated audiobooks Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle and Jane Austen's Emma and featured in the Doctor Who audio dramas The Bride of Peladon and The Minister of Chance. In 2012 she was appointed OBE for her charity work.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

highly recommended

This is an inspiring and beautifully written book and one I will probably re-read, as fresh today as when it was written over 150 years ago; English prose at it's height. The narration is as well superb. This ranks with Jane Eyre as one of my all-time favourites.
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- Christopher

My favorite Bronte book

Despite being lesser known than her sisters' works, "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" may be the best of the Bronte books. Anne is a good writer; terrific at description, and there is humor here and richness of character development. I really loved this listen. The story is long and, I will admit, tedious at times (it's a Victorian novel after all!), but this edition of the audio book has handled the strange structure of the book very well. Both Alex Jennings and Jenny Agutter render their portions of the narrative beautifully.
A word of warning, however. This claims to be an Unabridged version, but it is not so. Because I was listening to the book as a book club assignment, I followed along with the written version and found some puzzling omissions. Just why they chose to abridge some parts -- especially in the central, diary portion of the book -- I can't imagine. The cuts are small and not terribly important, but nevertheless are there. Anyone wishing to experience the entire work should be aware of the abridgment.
But it's a fine trip! I'm very pleased to have learned that there is more to the Brontes than "Jane Eyre" and "Wuthering Heights".
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- C. Telfair

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-14-2006
  • Publisher: Audible Studios