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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a classic - a near perfect book
This is a lovely, beautifully crafted book. George Eliot may (as the negative reviewer says) have rejected her low church upbringing. But her remaining affection for its principles and for the people of her childhood (Adam is modelled on her father and the Poyser's farm is a place where she lived as a child) shine through and create what I find to be her warmest and...
Published on 25 Sep 2009 by bookelephant

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Adam Bede by George Eliot
This is George Eliot's first novel and the first of her works that I have read. It is the story of strapping young carpenter, Adam Bede, who falls in love with the beautiful, but fickle, Hetty. Hetty meanwhile is in the throes of a love affair with the young heir to the manor, Arthur. Knowing that farm girl Hetty is an unsuitable match for gentleman Arthur, Hetty agrees...
Published on 7 Jan 2012 by iandliz


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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Adam Bede by George Eliot, 7 Jan 2012
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This is George Eliot's first novel and the first of her works that I have read. It is the story of strapping young carpenter, Adam Bede, who falls in love with the beautiful, but fickle, Hetty. Hetty meanwhile is in the throes of a love affair with the young heir to the manor, Arthur. Knowing that farm girl Hetty is an unsuitable match for gentleman Arthur, Hetty agrees to marry Adam, much to Adam's delight. But Hetty does not love Adam and has some difficulties of her own to overcome and so runs away, getting into trouble that will ultimately destroy her.

This book is a bit of a chunkster and takes an age to get going. The characters and scenery are meticulously drawn and at least 50% of the book is taken up with this. But when the story really gets going it is a masterpiece, it is tense and fast-moving and has the reader on the edge of their seat waiting to find out Hetty's fate. But then the novel fizzles away again. Hetty disappears off the radar completely and Adam instead falls for his brother's love, the rather dull preacher-woman, Dinah, which is rather a disappointing end and one can't help but feel sorry for Adam's brother, Seth, who surely can't be ok with this outcome.

Whilst this novel had moments of brilliance, it was quite hard going at times and I wouldn't recommend it to someone unfamiliar with the classics. I found it interesting as Eliot's first novel and can see how she would have gone on to much greater things with her subsequent work and it has whetted my appetite to read Mill on the Floss or Middlemarch and experience her best works.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 12 July 2014
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4.0 out of 5 stars Paul's Adam Bede review, 21 Jun 2014
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A great book by GE, in the mold of Dickens or Hardy. Loved the relationship between the brothers and the love interests. It all ended up well in the end after tragic events.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourites, 12 Jun 2014
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If you are fond of Victorian novels with tragedy, drama and a love story then Adam Bede is for you. It is a wonderful read and I wanted to start it all over again as soon as I had finished it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A country story, 11 Mar 2014
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Brilliantly written, with beautiful descriptions of English country life at the time. The story is maybe predictable, but only from a modern viewpoint. Interesting, engaging, worth reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 10 Mar 2014
One of the best books i have ever read. George Eliot is one of the greatest 19th century writers and her prose and insight make this a joy to read
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5.0 out of 5 stars Adam Bede, 25 Feb 2014
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I enjoyed this book as I am fascinated by authors from 18th and 19th century, giving an insight into the way of life then.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Life in rural 19th england, 22 Feb 2014
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It is long on setting the scene. So reflects the ponderous pace of rural life. Eliot's plots are linked to a small group of characters.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A neglected classic?, 12 Sep 2013
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SPOILER ALERT!

Having been a George Eliot fan for many years ('Middlemarch' is my favourite novel of all time) I have been far too long getting round to reading 'Adam Bede'. I'm not sure whether this is a neglected classic or simply neglected by me, though I have noticed there seem to be few TV or film adaptations, perhaps an indication of the book's relative obscurity.

It certainly deserves to be better known and more often read. Though not without faults (it was, after all, Ms Eliot's first novel) it is for the most part rich in its descriptions, absorbing in its plot, and generally strong in its characterisation. It is a slight pity that the 'saints' (Adam Bede and Dinah Morris) are not so imaginatively drawn as the 'sinners' (Arthur Donnithorne and especially Hetty Sorrel) and therefore interest us less, but the same could be said of many undisputed classics - Tess of the D'Urbevilles, for example, featuring the insipid Angel Clare.

In fact there are a number of strong parallels between this novel and 'Tess' which make me wonder if Hardy used George Eliot's work as a model for his own. Hetty, like Tess, is a pretty girl of the country labouring classes, seduced and left pregnant by a member of the local gentry. Both babies die in infancy. Both women are arrested, tried and committed to hang, though in Hetty's case there is a rather contrived 'deus ex machina' reprieve brought by her repentant seducer. Both novels are set in rural England and both present a large supporting cast of colourful countryfolk who provide vernacular comic relief. Both are moralistic works of their time, though Hardy's characteristic pessimism about the human lot runs counter to the early George Eliot's optimistic, overtly Christian outlook.

I am not claiming for 'Adam Bede' superior provenance over 'Tess of the D'Urbevilles', much less as high a place in the unofficial league table of English literature, but I would hope readers will be stimulated by this review among others favourable to the novel and not wait as long as I did to read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 10 Sep 2013
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I had never read any George Eliot before though I am a fan of the Victorian writers in general. I read this book on holidays with my family and found myself sneaking off to read it. Yes it can seem a little heavy on the moralising but it's really a beautiful evocative book that has stayed with me
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Adam Bede (Wordsworth Classics)
Adam Bede (Wordsworth Classics) by George Eliot (Paperback - 5 April 1997)
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