22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Not Just for Romance Lovers,
This review is from: Middlemarch (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
This story is somewhat off my usual fayre. Ostensibly it is a romance story, or rather three romance stories that are intertwined. As such it is a book I never before bothered to read as I would not want my cool macho image to be dented by the sight of me flicking through a romance! But I managed to get a copy for my e-reader from "Manybooks" and thus read it in secret!
And I am very glad I did so. Of course, this is a classic so the judgement of history is already there as to the worth of this book, and nothing I add here can change that. Without a doubt this is a book that can be read and enjoyed by many many people. What I can add to this is that it can also be enjoyed by people who do not go in for icky romances! And the reason I can say that is that the real strength of this story does not lie in the romances themselves, but in the wonderful observation ad depiction of life in the 1830s of rural England.
From the opening pages where you have people namedropping Wilberforce and other such luminaries in their social circles, you are drawn into experiencing life amongst the tight Victorian social circles. You see how people wish to better not just themselves but others, but are often frustrated by the cages of convention. You see characters reform themselves, and others ruin themselves. You see people who are not evil and yet do evil deeds for human reasons. You see a mirror on the souls of the characters and ultimately ourselves as readers.
George Eliot's characterisations are wonderful. Her writing is still accessible to the modern reader, and whilst she makes some use of techniques where the narrator knows all and can moralise on the reader's behalf - something you would not find in a modern work - these techniques do not wholly detract from the work, and were - of course - quite common in Victorian fiction. One plot element also reminded me of Dickens in the unfolding coincidences in the background of two characters. But whilst the work is therefore clearly Victorian, it remains very readable. The auction scene and some other scenes were very funny, and as you recognise the types of characters being portrayed in real people - past and present - you will be amused by this work.
So if, like me, you don't do romances - don't skip this work. It is well worth reading.
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Initial post: 5 Aug 2012 23:00:22 BDT
Thanks for the review, I've been wanting to read Eliot for a while and I certainly don't do romance or "bonnet and shawl" stuff but you've sold it to me. Thanks.
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