by George Eliot
Middlemarch is one of the great classic English novels, and with good reason. Dorothea's tale is a gripping one, and draws the reader in. She is a character who one wants to know better, wants to understand. She evokes great sympathy as we see her respond with such depth of character to all of the situations that arise in her life.
Puritan Evangelicalism underlies and permeates the novel. The story of Dorothea and all of her heartache is put together in such a way that it highlights the principle of atonement that is so fundamental to Christian thought. The reshaping of a life and mind in order to make the person more godly, more like Christ, seems to be the central thread that binds the novel together. It makes for a fascinating read.
One of the things I love most about the novel is its emphasis on what is often viewed as the insignificant. Dorothea, we are reminded often, is just an ordinary person, nothing exceptional. All the same, she is the subject of the redemption that is so important on the pages of the novel.
Middlemarch is one of my favorite books of all time. What draws me to it most of all is the attention given to someone not considered "great" in any way. It is a story for everyone, because Dorothea's struggles are of the sort that are so common. And that is, to me, what makes it so worth reading.
— Reviewed by Shelly Bryant