Anna of the five towns follows the seemingly ordinary life of the humble and dutiful Anna Tellwright, who as a young woman learns of her coming-of-age inheritance, reserved for her by her mother. Despite her wealth, she remains under the control of her father, in both the real and financial world. Money aside, the novel follows Anna’s first stirrings with love, struggles with religion and her father’s wrath.
Arnold Bennett’s writing is marked by vitality of style, giving an insight into the harshness of life and providing a perceptive portrayal of Victorian communities in Staffordshire. His regard for the small scale aspects of life create a humble and compelling story.