Number of pages: 624
A book that features both a love triangle and an industrial dispute.
It's fairly obvious in this book that the hero, Robert Moore should marry his lover Caroline; however, things get complicated when the eponymous Shirley appears on the scene.
Shirley is a richer, privileged woman, and Robert ends up proposing to her because he needs the money for his mill. Apparently, Shirley was also based on Charlotte Brontë's sister Emily, author of Wuthering Heights, and is a version of her, "If she had wealth and happiness".
The story also involves scenes in which mill workers riot at the prospect of losing their employment to new technology, although it doesn't take up a large amount of the story that mostly looks at the relationships between the three main characters. I remember noticing that a lot of the story involved Caroline and Shirley getting on like good friends, although Shirley does start to become nastier towards the end of the book.
This book felt somewhat different in tone to Jane Eyre, which I have read a few times, feeling less gothic, and making me think of the writing style of Dickens, possibly because of the number of side characters and various plot strands.
At times I found the book hard going, especially as there seemed to be long descriptions of people expressing their internal thoughts; I've also noticed that Charlotte Brontë often stuck several passages of dialogue in French into her novels. However, the main romantic plot is actually quite simple and mostly easy to pick up.
Next book: "Fundamentalism" and the Word of God (J.I. Packer)