Book Review: Anna of the Five Towns

Anna of the Five Towns Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett is a classic British novel published in 1902 that was then turned into a miniseries in the ’80s (I haven’t seen the series yet…).

I think perhaps the language used by Bennett was my favorite aspect of this novel. His words are rich and beautiful–reminding me why I love reading in the first place.

The main character, Anna Tellwright, was a little dry at first, but as her character grew and evolved so did my investment in her. By the end of the book, I genuinely wanted her life to turn out well. The cast of supporting characters all play their roles well–from the sympathetic little sister and respectable love interest to the spoiled friend and codger of a father.

The plot is slow to evolve, dealing more with Anna’s personal evolution than the changes in her physical world. Her delightfully ignorant eyes are opened to the world and she learns about standing up for the weak, as well as lessons in grace, forgiveness and friendship.

The end holds a slightly surprising twist, but, in true British literature fashion, it is hardly sensational. Although slow going, this was an enjoyable read–and a new author to me.

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