‘I see that a man cannot give himself up to drinking without being miserable one-half his days and mad the other.’
When Helen flees from her alcoholic husband in order to protect her son she defies societal convention. Earning a living as an artist, she becomes the mysterious tenant of Wildfell Hall as she hides herself away and uses her art to support her child. However, the beautiful and reclusive young woman soon begins to stir up malicious gossip and speculation. Captivated and drawn to Helen, Gilbert Markham becomes suspicious when he begins to hear these stories, however it is only when he reads Helen’s diary that he learns the full cruelty that her husband subjected her to in her previous life.
Rejecting the societal norms surrounding marriage in Victorian Society, Anne Brontë’s novel, said to be based on the experiences of her own brother Branwell, shocked her readers at the time and still remains a scandalous read today.