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Publisher's Summary

Middlemarch is a recognized masterpiece that explores the complex social world of 19th century England. It is concerned with the lives of several ordinary people, albeit ones with high social standing. The novel explores the very fabric of Victorian society in the 1800s, showing how various human passions, heroism, egotism, love, and lust, interrelate within this society. 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.
(P)2006 Tantor Media, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jennifer on 06-21-06

Engrossing, non-stuffy entertainment!

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!

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23 of 23 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Janet on 04-17-09

Affectionate and undeceived

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.

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17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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