This book was my Favourite Book of 2017!
It is a masterpiece and will certainly be getting a reread later this year. One of my Top 2 Favourite Novels of All Time!
Where to begin really?
Every single character was so developed and so fleshed out. They all felt so real and if you enjoy literary fiction where you can connect to the characters over the length of a large page count, this is the book for you! Their personalities are so in-depth; they just fizz off the page and into your mind so clearly.
I love Dorothea. She was absolutely phenomenal and she was always one of my favourites to read about. Another personal favourite of mine was Mary Garth: whilst everyone around her called her plain, she was a really capable spirit and assertively knew what she wanted from Fred Vincy the whole way through, as well as being strong and capable enough to make other independent but really quite difficult decisions. Lydgate, as well, was someone who the reader gets to know so well! It’s one thing maintaining one character’s personality…but to write such a vast amount of characters, develop each and every personality brilliantly and maintain ALL of those characters throughout 900 pages is a really impressive thing to do for an author. For that reason, I really respected how well George Eliot wrote all these people. I certainly will miss reading about them!
The writing style was another thing I loved. It was wonderfully written; her writing style certainly isn’t an easy writing style to read (it’s very meaty!) but it absolutely hooks you. Believe it or not, this book is a page-turner! Considering a) it’s very long and b) it’s a very slow-paced book with not much “action”, it’s incredible how much the writing and the detail completely immerses you. Throughout nearly all of it, I constantly felt that I needed to keep going and it engrossed me far more than any old ridiculous action thriller would have done. The writing style in this was glorious and so detailed; it was interesting; it was spell-binding and it made the whole experience even more glorious.
Another honourable mention goes to the story. This story keeps you completely engrossed even though there isn’t really anything seriously dramatic that happens! There is romance and conflict but it is completely kept within the boundaries of reality. You won’t be getting any exciting adventures or passionate emotion in this novel but you will get a story which you will fall in love with, which you will be there for until the final page and appreciate all the more for it being entirely believable. I know a lot of people stop reading this book halfway through and they complain that “nothing happens” and “the story’s too flat”. There is an element of truth! The story’s realistic and it is very slow (a much more positive translation of those negative reviews!) but it is captivating. You will believe me when you read it.
This book is very long but by the time I reached the end, it was such an eventful finish! I have never in living memory felt that me finishing a book was such a milestone but the fact that the book was no longer there in my life, for this one, felt like such an impact because I had been reading it for so long by that point that it had almost become part of my daily routine. I remember waking up and feeling really fresh, as if a huge part of my life had finally been completed. If you enjoy it, you will miss this book when you finish it!
I know a lot of people (including people who still loved it) thought this book was too long. Have to disagree: I am glad this book was as long as it was and I wouldn’t change that for a second.
One of the things that would be affected by this novel’s length is the intricacy: it is a book which focuses on so many themes that I don’t think would be as prominently shown had this book been shorter. It focuses on love; it focuses on marriage; it focuses on society; it focuses on elements of history; it focuses on medicine; it focuses on work; it focuses on finances; it focuses on your role in life and how you perceive it: it is about so much! All that just adds to how wonderfully intricate the book is.
Overall, I loved this book. It was such a ride: a long ride but certainly a ride that was worth it. I will, of course, be rereading this in the future (probably next year, maybe before then!) and I would recommend this to no end. If you don’t enjoy really long, paced out books that take a lot of time; if you see yourself losing patience with something like that, I would still recommend this as you might be pleasantly surprised but it may not be absolutely PERFECT for you. But please, nobody dismiss this (unless it sounds REALLY not your thing!) because I think it’s a masterpiece.