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What Is The Best Brontë Sisters Novel?

The Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, are among the most significant literary figures of the 19th century. They were born in the early 1800s in the village of Haworth, Yorkshire, England, and lived most of their lives there. Their works, which predominantly revolve around themes of love, independence, morality, and the struggles of women, have, for good reason, continued to captivate and inspire readers worldwide. Their work are all unique and so the comparison may be a difficult one, but if you had to recommend one book by the Brontë sisters to a friend, which would it be?

A brief review of the books in this poll are in the table below but if you need a refresher about the contents of each book review the book summary below.

Book Publication Year Author Notable Accolade
Wuthering Heights 1847 Emily Brontë Classic of English literature
Jane Eyre 1847 Charlotte Brontë Classic of English literature
Villette 1853 Charlotte Brontë Highly regarded for its exploration of isolation and the tension between independence and conformity
Agnes Grey 1847 Anne Brontë Known for its critique on the treatment of governesses and women's independence
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall 1848 Anne Brontë One of the first feminist novels, challenging existing Victorian morals

What Is The Best Brontë Sisters Novel?

Emily Brontë (1818-1848)

Wuthering Heights may be Emily’s only novel, but it is a good one. It is a tale of love and revenge on the Yorkshire moors. It tells the story of Heathcliff, an orphan brought to live at Wuthering Heights by the kind-hearted Mr. Earnshaw. As he grows up, Heathcliff develops a passionate relationship with Mr. Earnshaw’s daughter, Catherine, but due to social pressures and misunderstandings, their love story takes a tragic turn. The novel is known for its deep psychological insight, complex characters, and dark atmosphere.

Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855)

The oldest and most well known of the three in her time, Charlotte was a literary prodigy producing two books widely read and discussed in modern times.

  • Jane Eyre: One of the most famous Gothic novels of its time, Jane Eyre narrates the life of the titular character from her mistreated childhood to her time as a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she falls in love with the mysterious Mr. Rochester. The novel delves into themes of love, morality, social class, and women’s independence.

  • Villette: Less known but equally powerful, Villette tells the story of Lucy Snowe, an Englishwoman who travels to the fictional Belgian town of Villette to teach at a girls’ school. It explores her experiences, relationships, and challenges in this new environment. The novel touches upon themes of isolation, identity, and unrequited love.

Anne Brontë (1820-1849)

Anne also produced two magnificent novels who deserve a place in this vote.

  • Agnes Grey: This novel is a semi-autobiographical account of Anne Brontë’s own experiences as a governess. It tells the story of the titular character, Agnes Grey, and her challenges dealing with the families she serves, illuminating the hardships faced by governesses and the mistreatment they often endured. It also touches upon the limited opportunities available to women of Anne’s status during that time.

  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: A pioneering work in feminist literature, this novel tells the story of Helen Graham, who moves to Wildfell Hall with her young son. As the story unfolds, readers learn about her past and her marriage to an abusive and dissolute husband. The novel broke conventions by addressing issues of women’s rights, alcoholism, and moral redemption.


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7 months ago

[…] Wuthering Heights currently ranks as second in the fan vote  and the in-house selection for the best novel by the Bronte sisters. Nevertheless, she and her sisters, Charlotte and Anne, used the strategy of publishing under a […]