The Duncker brothers, Max and Wolfgang, own a thriving publishing business in Germany. When Max's gambling gets out of hand, Wolfgang sends him to pay court to a celebrity author, Sibyl, also known as George Eliot.
Yet Wolfgang has an ulterior motive: for his brother to consider Sophie von Hahn as a potential wife. Both women have Max in thrall. Out of his depth, Max finds himself precariously balanced between Sophie and the Sibyl.
I enjoyed this quirky love story very much. There is a very intrusive narrator, who loves to break into the plot to discuss19th century contemporary issues and cultural phenonemons (for example, a description of an early performance of "The Flying Dutchman"). The author also lets her heroine (George Elliot) digress into discussions on ancient and modern philosophy etc. Sounds weird I know, but I enjoyed it!