Sad and hopeless.
That's what it felt like to me. I'm not sure I understand the point this book is trying to make, though I appreciate the portrayal of the women''s conditions during that period. In many ways, it reminded me of Howarrd's End by E.M. Forster, especially in the rendering of the female characters and in their stubborn pursuit of martyrdom for whatever greater cause they believed in, whether self-sacrifice or social justice. One thing is sure: I wouldn't have liked to live in those Victorian times, particularly had I been a woman!