The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

  • by Anne Bronte
  • Narrated by Frederick Davidson, Nadia May
  • 15 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Like her sisters Emily and Charlotte, Anne Brontë published under a male pseudonym, yet still this novel was scorned by many for its exposure of the abusive male chauvinism that was concealed, like all things sexual, during the Victorian Era.Just as Anne had to use a male pseudonym in order to publish, Helen Graham, the novel's protagonist and a battered wife, must assume an alias in order to gain freedom from her suffering. With her young child, Helen takes up residence at Wildfell Hall, shrouding her past in secrecy, yet earning the attentions of a young, unmarried country gentlemen. Anne Brontë employs the atmosphere of the bleak Yorkshire moors and the cold, rugged gloom of the fictional mansion to set the stage for a tragedy that reveals the secret violence in a society considered well-mannered.

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What the Critics Say

"Frederick Davidson and Nadia May take the roles of the storytellers, and they do an excellent job of portraying both the male and female voices....The choice to use both male and female narrators was a good one, enlivening the story and underlining the differences between the sexes in Victorian England." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

What if Darcy had gone over to the Dark Side?

The Bronte sisters' stories have a darkness about them. Not surprising perhaps during a period when death lurked in the fogs and chill of night taking persons away without notice. Life expectancy was thirty or forty The greatest killer of women was childbirth. This darkness runs throughout works such as Wuthering Heights, Shirley, The Professor, Villette, Jane Eyre and of course Anne Brontes' Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

Beautiful and brilliant ballrooms, great mansions, jewels, fine gowns, magnificent carriages, everything that wealth can provide is the background of this beautiful princess meets handsome prince, princess marries prince, princess then founds prince falls considerable short of her expectations, then prince dives headlong into the cesspools of London and the continent. Girl becomes a woman and takes command of her situation and with her young son runs hiding in the old dilapidated mansion, Wildfell Hall.

Frederick Davidson and Nadia May did a magnificent job. This is a hard book. One cannot love this book. It is the dark underbelly of upper class British society in the 17-1800's. So glittering and splendid, so debauched beneath the surface. Except for the leading lady and man, I hate, despise, detest most of the characters in this book. Yet, I have gone though the book again and again. When the horrors of what Nadia May reads overwhelms, the calm, aristocratic, matter-of-fact voice of Frederick Davidson soothes and bring one back to peace and tranquility

Fortunately Bronte stories end much better and much happier than the above description would lead one to expect. Well, this one ends well for the woman and her child. As for the husband, not so well but frankly good riddance.
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- Joseph R

Readers are OK, but I can't recommend the book

The book is narrated from the alternating points of view of male and female narrators, so it helps that the audiobook has two alternating readers. Hearing the male and female voices makes the novel better as an audiobook than as a book to read. Unfortunately, though, it is a minor novel. It feels repetitive, dated, dull. There are better choices out there.
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- Cherie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-23-2007
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.