The Mill on the Floss is another Victorian novel about a woman stuck between a rock and a hard place. Meet Maggie, a young lady who tries to be with her beloved, a dashing young man who cares for her immensely as she is able to look past his physical deformities, whose family, ironically enough, ruined her own; young love is thus tested once again. Unfortunately for Maggie her brother ,Tom,is dead-set against the proposed marriage and fights to keep the two apart. Maggie, wanting to be loved by her brother and to have her dying father pleased with her, must precariously balance between the desires of her family and the desire of her heart.
Written by George Eliot, the story is beautifully constructed and made to last. The characters feel alive– if not a bit melodramatically over blown in true Victorian fashion– and so are able to present to the reader a simulacra of true humanity. While the plot is plodding and will not please anyone who reads for fun it grows on you over time… if you enjoy literary criticism. Other than that you will likely find it boring because god knows I routinely found myself raging against how bland and dry everything seemed at first. But if your forte is this time period or you love peeling beneath the layers, then this will be another instance of love at first sight.
That being said, read with caution: but at least read it.