When I first began this novel I was obsessed with Downton Abbey-- so I convinced myself that this book would be a lot like Downton, even though this novel is set well before the 1900's . While this book was not a look at the lives of the rich and the poor as Downton Abbey is, they could easily take plotlines from Middlemarch (as they seem to be doing with Jane Eyre). Regardless of its likeness to a popular television show, Middlemarch surprised me by being a novel that was both romantic while being aware of the ups and downs that come with love.
This novel is not a romance novel between a couple-- instead it is a collection of relationships that allows the reader to analyze what makes a good companionship and what makes a bad companionship. This in-depth dissection is precisely why Mary Anne Evans chose to write her novels under the male pseudonym George Elliot, because it allowed her to stray from the usual constraints that were placed on female writers in the 1860's and 70's. Middlemarch is an epic without the epicness. It is a beautiful tale of normal people during a political time. It is a true insight on how the "middle"men cope in such a big world with so many other "things" going on.
Up next: Of Mice and Men