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Silas Marner by George Eliot - Review

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

My heart sank when I realised this book had been chosen for December for my book club, because I really don't read classics, like, ever. My main problem with them is when sentences are just so long that I forget what the beginning was by the time I get to the end. Just a few full stops here and there would be so useful! But I am really glad I persevered with this book because I ended up really enjoying it and I think the rest of my book club will have, too. I bought it for just 99p on Kindle which was an excellent way to read it.

So, Silas Marner is an incomer to Raveloe, a village in the Midlands. He is a weaver, and he lives in a tiny cottage on land belonging to the local squire, Squire Cass. The book is set at the beginning of the 1800s. Silas came from the north, but was excluded from his religious community after he was framed for robbery. He has been in Raveloe for well over a decade by the time the book starts, but he's still regarded with suspicion. Locals think he is a bit of a miser. Silas has been saving up his guineas for years and has quite a stash which he keeps under the floor under his loom. He is a strange sort of fellow, betrayed by his community, and doesn't have many friends. 

Meanwhile, there are the Cass brothers. Sons of the Squire, they are all quite lazy and spoilt. The eldest, Godfrey, has a secret he is keeping from his father - that he is married to a working class woman, who is also an addict, and that they have a child. His brother Dunstan knows this secret and threatens to expose it unless Godfrey pays him money. Godfrey has stolen some money from a tenant of the land, and the whole thing is in a whole mess. He eventually agrees that Dunstan can sell his horse in order that he can get enough money to pay his father the missing rent. Dunstan takes off with the horse but comes a cropper... Meanwhile, Godfrey can't do what he really wants, which is to marry Nancy Lampeter, with whom he is in love. 

I wasn't sure how the two parts of the book were going to intertwine, but I was really amazed at how this played out so I don't really want to give too many spoilers. I really liked the book and the narration. Silas is a likeable character even when he is miserable. Godfrey is too, even though he is a weak man who does many stupid tihngs throughout the book. I couldn't quite get a grip on Nancy and I'll be interested to see what others thought of her. In all I really liked this and am glad I got to read it. I'm giving it five out of five! 

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