A mysterious young widow calling herself Helen Graham arrives at Wildfell Hall and immediately arouses her new neighbors' suspicions with her unconventional opinions and the attention she draws from the local bachelors. One of her admirers, a farmer named Gilbert Markham, readily offers his friendship but has second thoughts about Helen's reclusive conduct and the gossip it excites. When Helen allows Gilbert to read her diary, he discovers the reason behind her secretive behavior — a disastrous marriage to a ne'er-do-well, whom she ultimately flees in defiance of the legal lack of rights for wives. An instant bestseller upon publication under the pseudonym Acton Bell, Anne Brontë's book was later suppressed by her eldest surviving sister, Charlotte, because of its unorthodox content. Written with a realism that scandalized critics in its portrayal of adultery, alcoholism, and marital discord, this compelling tale has been hailed as one of the first major works of feminist literature.