The novel is set in the small town of Middlemarch and follows the inter-related lives of several characters. At the heart of the book is Dorothea, a kind-hearted and honest woman, who longs to find some way to improve the world. She marries an older academic, Casaubon, against the advice of her friends and family. Casaubon tries to assert his influence over Dorothea, but she refuses to succumb to Casaubon's will. Casaubon soon dies of a heart attack, and Dorothea marries his cousin, Will. But, in a last attempt to control Dorothea's life, Casaubon's will states that if Dorothea marries Will, she will lose her claim to Casaubon's estate.
Other unforgettable characters in Middlemarch include the young doctor, Lydgate, who come to the town to start his own practice. He soon falls in love with Rosamund, a woman who has spent her life in Middlemarch, and they eventually marry. Fred Vincey, used to a lavish lifestyle but also a gambler, falls into debt as he waits to inherit money from a rich neighbor. He drifts toward the clergy, and longs to marry Mary Garth. But until he proves himself worthy, Mary will have nothing to do with him.
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George Eliot does not need my praise since Middlemarch radiates enough light to brighten the entire 19th century. Before reading this book, I never knew anyone could combine excellent narrative, characters so rich you could eat them with a spoon, and moral instruction more genuine than anyones religion and make a whole world of them. The narration is fabulous, worthy of Eliot's brilliance. If you can only read one more book before you die, read this one.
I was looking for something to take me through a VERY long car trip, and I admit I was a little skeptical given the length of the book and that it was a "classic," but I can see why this style of novel was so popular in the days before TV. This collection of characters from a small town in England are distinct and throughly entertaining. The storytelling was so good that I found myself looking forward to getting in the car again to find out what happened next. The narrator is wonderful-- much better than I thought she would be given the price and the size of the book. I read Middlemarch in high school, and didn't enjoy it nearly as much. I highly recommend giving this a try!
Kate Reading is a perfect narrator of George Eliot's classic leisurely novel. Eliot draws her characters in full, protagonists' and antagonists' strengths and flaws noted in affectionate and undeceived clarity, her brilliant wit dry but not cruel. This is not a novel to skim for the action; the joy is in the language, the turns of phrase, the subtle discoveries. Listening to Kate Reading narrate the story is like visiting a brilliant worldly woman who shares her observations, delightful details occurring to her as she speaks.
I read comments primarily for insights on the quality of the narration, and I can confirm that the reading of this very enjoyable novel is excellent.
Yes, probably the finest English novel ever. I wanted it to go on and on. Eliot created a profoundly romantic love story and several compelling sub-plots set in her fictitious English village populated with intriguing characters and rich details of life in Georgian England. It is beautifully read.
I had no idea this was such a wonderful book. It's long been on my list of "should read but have no intention of reading."
It's a tremendously wise and funny soap opera, as well as a fascinating look into an interesting time of transition in England, and I listened to it all over again the moment I finished it. The reader did an excellent job at suggesting the personality of the main characters without over-acting (always my preference), yet having some fun with some of the odder side characters.
I can see why this has been such an important book.
I loved both the book and the reader, Kate Reading. This may be my favorite book so far on Audible. The writing tends toward the intelligent, concise and wise, but then there are those inscrutable parts I could never discern. It's moving too, now that's different for me, to care so much about characters. Dorothea is a gem for all time. What a wonderful, wonderful book this is. I want to get more George Eliot and more books by Kate Reading.
After listening through Dickens and Austen, among other British writers, George Elliot rates among the best with wonderful dialogue and storytelling. The reader is excellent.
Absolutely Brilliant! I was totally engrossed the entire 31 hours, barely able to tear myself away. George Eliot's writing is unbelievable, and Kate Redding does it total justice. Buy this book! You won't regret it.
Well, God help poor Wendy. This is a brilliant reading of one of the greatest works of fiction in the English language. In fact, I have regretted that Ms. Reading hasn't recorded more of the works of great writers, such as this one, and fewer of the middling popular fiction titles that are on her list. She has a tremendous gift, apparently is a gifted actress under a different name, and her talent for creating characters shows as she brings to life an entire village of characters in Middlemarch. I read this book every decade or so -- and I'm hard put to it to say which experience, reading or listening, is more thrilling when the recording is as good as this one is. I wish Ms. Reading would read all of the works of Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope, and I would love to hear her reading of Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel.
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