Review of Silas Marner

My original intention when I started my summer reading challenges was to read one Gothic novel and then a Victorian novel and to continue this pattern until I completed all of them.  And so far I have stuck to this program.  However, the reviews will not match the order.  I read Dracula with a fellow blogger and currently she is on vacation so my next review is Silas Marner by George Eliot.  Before starting my challenge of reading 1001 novels this book was never on my list of books to read.  In fact, none of Eliot’s books were on the list.  However Eliot has five books on the 1001 list so I can’t avoid her.

Before discussing the novel I would like to share some background information about George Eliot.  Her real name was Mary Ann Evans.  She used a male pen name so her works would be taken seriously.  This isn’t to say that women writers during her time  were not published but she wanted to avoid the stereotype that female authors only wrote romantic novels.  She may have had another reason for using a pen name.  She may have wanted to hide from the public since her personal life at the time was unusual.  Evans lived with a married man, George Henry Lewes, for more than two decades.  Maybe she didn’t want people to voice their opinion about her personal life. Lewes was separated from his wife.  However he was unsuccessful in obtaining a divorce.  They lived together until Lewes’s death in 1878.

These facts intrigued me.  Also, since I am working on a Victorian reading challenge this summer, it was only fitting to choose two of her works to read since she is one of the leading English writers during the Victorian era.  Charles Dickens may be considered the preeminent Victorian writer but I am saving his novels for a different project which I hope to share soon.  He has ten novels on the list.

Silas Marner’s story was not the story that I was expecting.  And this was a good thing since to be honest, I thought the novel would be depressing and boring and that I would find it a chore to read it.  However, right from the start I was hooked.  Silas is a weaver who is wrongfully accused of a crime.  He learns that his friend set him up.  Silas’s fiancée breaks off the engagement when she learns of the accusation and she marries the friend who set up Silas.

Silas leaves his town and moves to Raveloe.  Here he lives as a recluse who only lives to work and to hoard his money.  Each night he counts his money and this is his only source of happiness.  That is until his money is stolen.  Silas is devastated.  A twist of fate intervenes when a young child with golden hair wanders into Silas’s home.

This story has many twists and turns.  And it wasn’t boring.  There are crimes, unsavory characters, mystery, and love.  I’m glad that I read the novel.  Henry James wrote, “I think Silas Marner holds a higher place than any of the author’s works.  It is more nearly a masterpiece; it has more of that simple, rounded, consummate aspect…which marks a classical work.”

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
This entry was posted in Books and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Review of Silas Marner

  1. I was forced to read this in High School and I loathed it! Perhaps now that I am , ahem, older, I should go back and give it a re-read.

  2. TBM says:

    I really thought that I would loath it as well. I was surprised by how much I loved it. I do believe if I read this in High School I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. Being older and having gone through my own bumps and bruises helped me understand the turmoil of some of the characters.

  3. Carl v. says:

    I’ve always wondered about this novel but never bothered to actually look up what it is about.
    Whenever I hear the title I think of some movie, now the name escapes me, in which you hear a teacher say something about “back to Silas Marner” and you hear the classroom groan loudly.

    Now that you mention Dracula it reminds me that I hadn’t heard anything from you about it in awhile so I am looking forward to your friend’s return so that we can hear your thoughts. I am really itching to discuss it.

    • TBM says:

      LOL…I don’t know that movie, but if you read this book in school I don’t think you will appreciate it as much.

      Hopefully soon I we will post our discussions on Dracula! I loved that book!

  4. hugmamma says:

    Not sure you’ve convinced me to like, or even read Silas Marner. Still sounds a little too dark for my taste. However, I didn’t know the facts about George Eliot’s personal life. That would make me want to read more…about the author. I’m a huge fan of biographies. Besides learning about the people about whom they’re written, I get a history lesson about the times as well. Kills the proverbial “2 birds with 1 stone,”…literature and history.

    thanks for sharing… 🙂

    • TBM says:

      I won’t lie, this book is dark. But the ending was worth it for me.

      I didn’t know anything about Eliot until I looked into it a little. I think her biography would be fantastic if you can find a good one on her. I love biographies. Don’t know if you know, but I studied history in college and I took many classes on the writing of biographies. I love history and bios!

  5. Skye says:

    This suspiciously sounds like a telenovela I saw once on TV. Lol.
    Is this a good father kind of book? Cause I love novels that portray great fathers.

  6. I read this book ions ago and loved it. Guess I must love dark works. I think it deserves a reread. Thank you for your review. I am putting it on my list….which is getting longer and longer…..

    • TBM says:

      Ah….the list is never ending. I was surprised by how much I liked this novel. I looked forward to sitting down with it and seeing what would happen next. I’ll have to try more of her works since I think I might like her.

  7. Haven´t really read any George Eliot although I knew about her background (intriguing, especially for those times). Might have to save this one for the long dark winter nights…..more atmospheric!

    • TBM says:

      A dark winter night would be perfect for this novel. It is short and dark! I didn’t know anything about Eliot except that she used a pen name. I found it fascinating for the time period. Scandalous….I love it!

  8. Nice review! I read Silas Marner last year. While I wasn’t totally bowled over by it, I did find Eliot’s insights in to the mind of human beings quite startlingly true.

    • TBM says:

      Thanks. She does have a way of letting the reader get into the minds of her characters. Some of her characters are not nice and being in their head made me uncomfortable, but it was needed in order to understand the story.

  9. Jennifer O. says:

    I know Middlemarch holds a special place in many people’s hearts, but I just haven’t been able to bring myself to read the damned thing. It’s so LONG.

    I have, however, read Eliot’s Silas Marner and loved it.

    Thank you for the review and the background information.

    On an interesting side note: there are quite a lot of quotes by writers commenting on the author’s physical appearance. Really makes you think about how women are judged by their looks. Seldom do you read of men writers commenting on other male writers’ appearances.

    • TBM says:

      I have Middlemarch on my summer reading list. When I picked up the copy I sighed a little. It is big.

      That is a very good point about writers commenting on the appearance of female writers. There was so much against women writers during her time. I think this has changed somewhat today, but obviously women are still judged on their looks quite a bit in today’s world. I don’t know if this will ever change completely.

  10. Jo Bryant says:

    I’ve never heard of Silas Marner. I will put it on my to do list.

  11. Pingback: Middlemarch by George Eliot | 50 Year Project

Thanks for commenting, I would love to hear from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s