I'm over a hundred pages in and no-one called Shirley has yet turned up. There's a lot of politics and a lot of religion and the omniscient narrator talks too much. The hero is unpleasant (but not attractively so like Rochester) and the heroine insipid. Bronte says in her preamble that we're not to expect a romance and, by George, she means it. At times her determination not to give us another Jane Eyre seems wilfully perverse- as though- in the attempt to extend her range she's quite deliberately avoiding what she knows to be her strengths. The most interesting characters are a tough old parson and a bunch of comedy curates.