George Eliot's most ambitious novel is a masterly evocation of diverse lives and changing fortunes in a provincial community. Peopling its landscape are Dorothea Brooke, a young idealist whose search for intellectual fulfillment leads her into a disastrous marriage to the pedantic scholar Casaubon; the charming but tactless Dr Lydgate, whose marriage to the spendthrift beauty Rosamund and pioneering medical methods threaten to undermine his career; and the religious hypocrite Bulstrode, hiding scandalous crimes from his past. As their stories interweave, George Eliot creates a richly nuanced and moving drama, hailed by Virginia Woolf as 'one of the few English novels written for adult people'.
It took me a while to really get into the story. I found the beginning tedious and dull, I was seriously considering not finishing the book. But I kept on reading and I was glad that I did, because halfway through the story really picked up. I found that it was then the interesting characters were finally introduced into the mix and everything became more lively. Although at times I felt that the author got into a lot of political ideals and such and I realize that she's giving the reader a chance to know the way communities (even rural ones) work...there's politics in everything.
The characters that stand out the most for me were Dorothea and Lydgate. The are both idealistic in character and they have a need to help others. And they also have a goodness within them that was at times very surprising. And the both made relationship mistakes along the way, Dorothea marries a man that she thinks that will help her be a better person and Lydgate has a knack for falling quickly in love. I also liked Fred and Mary, I found that their friendship and eventual love was believable. Fred's gambling issues was a problem that Mary didn't want and she kept on refusing until he got himself straighten up, Fred needed to grow-up and take responsibility for his actions. Mary was truly a strong character with an independent personality. I admit that at times I hoped that she would end up with Mr Farebrother. He was another one of those characters that held the story together. He was a friendly person with a hobby that was wasn't considered to be appropriate for a man of God.
With all that was going on - too much in one book in my opinion, I was happy to see the end of the book. The author gave us an epilogue, which was a bonus. It was a nice touch.
Middlemarch by George Eliot a.k.a. Mary Ann Evans (4/5) Classic Literature; Published: William Blockwood & Sons (1871); 18th & 19th Women Writers Reading Challenge (4); 1001 You Must Read (77); Books 2010 (70);