Minal Book Club
The novel is framed as a series of letters from Gilbert Markham to his friend about the events connected with his meeting a mysterious young widow, calling herself Helen Graham, who arrives at Wildfell Hall, which has been empty for many years, with her young son and a servant. Contrary to the early 19th century norms, Helen pursues an artist's career and makes an income by selling her pictures. Mrs Graham's strict seclusion soon gives rise to gossip in the neighbouring village and she becomes a social outcast. Refusing to believe anything scandalous about her, Gilbert befriends Mrs Graham and discovers her past. In the diary she gives Gilbert, Helen chronicles her husband's physical and moral decline through alcohol and debauchery in the dissipated aristocratic society. Ultimately Helen flees with her son, whom she desperately wishes to save from his father's influence.