‘I opened this book with high expectations. They have been admirably fulfilled.  Here we have a stand alone thriller about two lonely people who pursue a relationship of monthly weekends together in remote spots.  Suddenly one of these two fails to get to the rendezvous-vous and the other realises how very limited her knowledge of her  companion is . . . Gradually the reader pieces together some of the facts as an atmosphere of rising tension envelops everything. The intelligent way Jay, Lisa and others plan their actions is enjoyable and the suspense of the tale is palpable.’


Middlemarch revisited

Posted on Aug 18, 2014 in George Eliot | 3 Comments

I’m back from holiday now. My reading challenge was the book that my book group has chosen as an optional big read: Middlemarch. It was wonderful reading it when I was able to immerse myself in it in a way that’s difficult among the distractions of home (and the internt). I got through it in a week or so. It was hugely satisfying – and so interesting rereading it at this stage in my life.

I must have been around the same age as Dorothea when I first read it in my late teens and reading it now, when I am so much older, gave me new insights. It is of course a book about marriage. but this time round I found myself also thinking about the parents, or those standing in for them. What was Mr Brooke thinking of, allowing Dorothea to marry Casaubon, when he could have made her wait at least until she came of age?

And then there is Rosamund Vincy, whose blonde perfection, narcissim, and ignorance has troubled me in the past. I’ve wondered if George Eliot was a little hard on her. She is the polar opposite of the kind of woman that George Eliot was. This time round I thought about the way Rosamond had been educated – or rather not educated – and the way she had been brought up. Both she and Fred had been very indulged, spoilt even by their parents. At the beginning of the novel Fred is hanging around, hoping to be saved from having to work by a timely inheritance, and really is saved by the love of a good woman. Rosamund goes into  marriage knowing nothing of her own responsibilites, expecting only to be petted and to have her own way in everything as she had with her parents. Eliot traces the impact of this with chilling precision.

There’s more I want to say, especially about Mr Casaubon, but that can wait for next time. What a pleasure it has been, encountering this book again,


  1. Carol
    August 18, 2014

    I read this in my early twenties and should go back to it. Thanks for tweaking my interest.

  2. Moira, Clothes in Books
    August 18, 2014

    It is so much a book you can read at different stages of your life and get something different out of it. I share your concerne about Rosamund Vincy – I actually wanted to include her when I did a recent Guardian piece about literary spouses who get a raw deal, but there wasn’t room.


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