From the list on surprisingly feminist Victorian.
Who am I?
I fell in love with Victorian literature after reading Jane Eyre when I was thirteen years old. Since then, I’ve worked my way through Victorian book after Victorian book, and my own novel, The Secrets of Hartwood Hall, is a love letter to Victorian fiction. One of my key interests within Victorian literature has always been its exploration of gender and gender roles. There are so many fantastic Victorian proto-feminist novels, and while some are still remembered and read, many more have been largely forgotten. These are just a few of my favourite proto-feminist Victorian novels, all of which are very underrated and very much worth a read!
Katie's book list on surprisingly feminist Victorian
Why did Katie love this book?
Hester, which came out in 1883, follows two central figures: Miss Catherine, an older woman who runs a bank – in itself quite a surprise to find in a Victorian novel – and Hester, her young relation, who is bored with her dull, ladylike life and wants something more.
What she really wants is to work, as Catherine does, but Catherine is determined that the bank will pass to a man. The novel focuses on their strained relationship – strained partly because they are so very alike. There’s so much I love about Hester, but I especially enjoy how it undermines and undercuts Victorian tropes about the novel and what is and isn’t a happy ending for a female character. It’s an absolutely fascinating read.