shirley parenteau ship of dolls
“Shirley” is Charlotte Bronte’s second novel and is set against the backdrop of the Luddite uprising against the Yorkshire textile industry in England during the industrial depression that followed the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812. First published in 1849, the novel is the story of mill operator Robert Moore, whose business is troubled by the economic climate; his distant cousin Caroline Helstone, for whom Robert has affections; rich heiress and landowner Shirley Keeldar; and Robert’s brother Louis, a poor tutor, whom Shirley has fallen in love with. “Shirley” is a classically romantic tale that deals with the timely themes of industrial unrest in Britain at the beginning of the 19th century and the role of women both at home and in business. The shy and timid Caroline and the independent and headstrong Shirley are both deeply affected by the decisions of the men in their lives and by changing social roles and expectations for women. They both must grapple with whether they are free to marry for love or if money will control yet another aspect of their lives. Bronte’s popular novel is both an insightful social commentary and a mature and touching portrait of women trying to follow their romantic desires in an increasingly complicated world. This edition includes a biographical afterword.