Review: Silas Marner by George Eliot

I first picked up Silas Marner early on in 2011 with nothing but good intentions but failed on numerous occasions to get past the first 20 pages or so. Determined to finish it I picked it up a few days ago and am so very glad that I did.

The book presented a few challenges with its small text (I loathe small text) and descriptive opening passages that I quickly over came as the narrative  introduced the reader to the main characters and set the premise for the story.

Silas Marner is a weaver who left his home town with a broken heart and wrongly accused with the disappearance of church funds. He arrives in the Midlands and settles just outside a small village alone and with no friends; partly because he does not want them and partly because the villagers find him a little odd. Silas lives only for work and counting his piles of gold each night that he has collected from slaving over his work. On one foggy night his gold is stolen and here begins the story of an old man learning how to love and who finds a purpose in life through the guardianship of young Eppie.

Silas is not the only member of the village history with a turbulent past. Geoffrey Cass, the Squire’s son, is concealing a secret that he will do just about anything to keep. His rogue brother, Dunstan Cass, is blackmailing him and has often been known to take sudden flight from his family life and go pursue his own interests. I believe that this is a book that expertly weaves the plot and subplot together – each affecting the other but still managing to stay true and faithful to their own paths and characters.

Silas Marner is a story about the capacity of love to heal wounds and make damaged beings whole. It deals with love, a theft, mystery and rural village life. Much to keep the reader entertained and I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

‘It is seldom that the miserable can help regarding their misery as a wrong inflicted by those who are less miserable.’

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