For several years, my critique partner/co-writer Genevieve Turner has been trying to get me to read Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848). “It’s a feminist novel with a kickass heroine,” she’s argued. “You’ll like it.” Every time I’d mention some obscure nineteenth-century American novel with a subversive heroine, she’d say, “But in Tenant of Wildfell Hall, something even more shocking happens.”
And I…have been stubbornly refusing, or–if not refusing–avoiding. I like Jane Erye a lot; you may remember my theory that while Jane Austen gave romance a parcel of plots, the Bronte sisters gave the contemporary genre a style. (I’ve actually written about Austen, see also this.) But I’m a bit lukewarm on the Brontes I’ve read other than Jane Eyre.
However, loving Gen as I do, I’m going to trust her and avoid Tenant no longer. You’re cordially invited to a read-along. Bronte fangirls on their tenth re-read (like Gen) are welcome; so are newbies (like me)! The book is divided into three volumes. Our plan is to discuss Vol. 1 on Twitter on December 21 at 9 PM EST/6 PM PST using the hashtag #TOWH. We’ll tackle Vol. 2 at the same time on December 28 and Vol. 3 on the evening of January 4.