If you have read Wuthering Heights and read the biography of the author it is but a natural step to try to read books written by the other sisters as well. For me, it was because it astonishes me how so much talent must reside in the same home. Though this book will never be at par with her sister’s classic work, it is still no mean feat to write an above average novel for just anyone. The story feels very autobiographical at times and is almost written with a simplicity of a correspondence between friends.
The story of a young woman who leaves home to work as a governess to supplement the meagre income of her parents. that is something that we all can identify with I am sure. The urge to prove that you can earn your own living and see the world in the bargain. Unfortunately for our heroine the charges in her care turn out to be bats out of hell. The mother does not see anything wrong with her darlings and the governess is not allowed to scold or speak harsh words to correct them. After trials and tribulations a plenty in the first household she next takes up a position in another with grown up daughters. Though I was absolutely sympathetic to her in her first household in the second I was a little discontented. The author comes across a religious fanatic of sorts with her aversion to music and dancing. Also with very stern views of conduct as regards to young ladies and gentlemen. Being a little jealous of the beautiful elder sister is very understandable but her aversion to the younger one’s love for riding and dogs is not. All the people she comes across are unkind and cruel to animals. It sometimes began to feel almost like a ‘rant’ against the so-called ‘higher society’ of the era. Surely, some people must have been good people.
However, all said and done, it must be read once at least. Her attitude to women’s liberation may have been ancient but some thoughts on God and religion did make me think, and look for my copy of my Bhagvad Gita to clarify my own questions of life and death.