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George Eliot in Love

3.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  39 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
George Eliot is one of the most celebrated novelists in history. Her books, including Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda, and Adam Bede, are as appreciated now as they were in the nineteenth century. Yet her nonconformist and captivating personal life—a compelling story in itself—is not well known. Ridiculed as an ugly duckling, Eliot violated strict social codes by living with a ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 28th 2010 by St. Martin's Press
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Nov 16, 2010 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
A full-length review is coming since I received this via but a few words until then: this book is sympathetic, well-researched, and paints a clear picture of the woman who brought us great (some would say THE greatest) Victorian novels. She was so insecure that without being encouraged by the love of her life, George Lewes, there might have been no "Middlemarch," arguably one of the greatest novels of that century. She was poor in health but rich in love (by middle age anyway) ...more
Dec 27, 2010 Julie rated it it was ok
I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.

I gave this book the fifty page test and it failed. I'm just going to list out all the things that bothered me, as that's the easiest way to do this.


1) The tone Maddox uses keeps switching around. One paragraph she's making jokes directly to the reader and the next she's super formal. Since it's non-fiction, it would have been nice for her to pick one tone of narration and stick with it.

2) Many sections are entirely unorganized and go off of
Feb 22, 2013 Lizzie rated it liked it
Impulsively picked up a copy of this at The Book Barn about a year ago. Yes, it is silly.

Surprising no one, this isn't a very good book. I chose to read it because it serves the purpose of reading a George Eliot biography with a quickness -- I wanted to get through one and didn't really have time to tackle Karl -- and because I am really interested in the major romantic relationship in George Eliot's life. So, on the off-chance this book was good, or insightful or new, I was curious.

But, it is m
Linda K
Aug 30, 2011 Linda K rated it liked it
In today's culture, a woman author living with a married man would be hardly noticed. In 1850s' England, however, it was scandalous. Mary Ann Evans became the author George Eliot under the encouragement and guidance of her soulmate Henry George Lewes and lived with him for 25 years. Their love and devotion was perfectly matched in one another, although he had a wife and children. His wife, Agnes, bore children with someone else. It is the stuff of a good soap opera.

Most women writers of that tim
Oct 26, 2010 Oldroses rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Many years ago when I first became aware of George Eliot as a Victorian woman who openly lived with a man without benefit of marriage, I eagerly sought out her novels thinking they would be as scandalous as her life. Imagine my disappointment upon discovering that the books were conventional Victorian novels, no different from the books of Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope or Henry James, all of whom she knew and with whom she socialized.

The mystery of how a woman who flouted Victorian conventio
Nov 08, 2010 Gwen rated it it was ok
Perhaps it is because I don't often read biographies, but I didn't particularly care for the subject matter. It was well written by Brenda Maddox, but Marian, Mary Ann, Marrianne, or George, did not lead a particularly exciting life and she and her chosen "significant other" seemed to be sick most of the time. I have never read one of her books and the only one I had even heard of was Silas Marner, have lead a sheltered life? I may also have been influenced by the fact that she was said to be an ...more
Nov 13, 2010 Carol rated it really liked it
There is much to love in this little book. There is a love story that escapes the strictures of the Victorian times. George Eliot (Marian Evans is one of her many names) lived many years with George Henry Lewes who already had a wife and children. There are insights into her novels, Silas Marner, The Mill on the Floss and Middlemarch. The writing process for George Eliot was often torture, beginning with depression and ending with feelings of insecurity. When she was born with her father’s coars ...more
Colleen Turner
Nov 13, 2010 Colleen Turner rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-read
I received this book as a first-read from

When I first requested this book on goodreads I thought it was a novel. When I received it and realized it was nonfiction I was worried I wouldn't like it as other nonfiction books based on the lives of authors (such as Becoming Jane about Jane Austen) I had trouble even finishing. They were dry and seemed to stick only to the facts which, while important for the type of work they were, did not stimulate my interest. This, in contrast, was
Catherine Siemann
Dec 30, 2010 Catherine Siemann rated it it was ok
Shelves: victorians
I can't fault this book in the truth-in-advertising department: it focuses on Eliot's love life, to a degree that her intellectual and artistic achievements seem more like backdrop. There are some not-particularly-well-supported assumptions about her early sexuality, and generally not enough depth in exploring her character and ideas. We're told rather than shown how fascinating she was. Fine as an introduction; fantastic if it raises interest in reading her fiction; but there are numerous full- ...more
Nov 16, 2010 Sue rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: George Eliot fans
I've always loved her books, so I was very interested to learn more about the author. I was thrilled when winning this book gave me that chance. GE was a women well ahead of her time. While the author did a great job on this biography, I found myself wishing GE had written her own autobiography. I would love to hear about her life in her own words. However, she probably would have vastly underplayed her strengths, so perhaps this is for the best. A shame so many of her personal letters were lost ...more
Dec 28, 2012 Siegrist rated it liked it
Apparently in a library somewhere George Eliot's 14 year old essays survive! I loved the excerpts from letters in this book. An easy to read synthesis of the writers life, it seemed a little disconnected from its subject. I found the banging on about her purported unattractiveness a little tiresome. I would have liked more sense of Eliots interior life - her intellect and emotions. Neverthess for fans an interesting read. I've come away with a hankering to reread the novels.
Mar 24, 2011 Lily rated it it was ok
While I adore George Eliot and am intrigued by her life and times I was unable to finish reading this. Maddox's takes what is a real-life drama of societal scandal, adultery, true love and of the course the accompanying heartache and bleeds it of any sentiment or passion. Her writing is lifeless and leaves for tedious reading. A truly disappointing find.
Amanda J
Oct 17, 2010 Amanda J rated it liked it
Maddox delivers a very readable biography of novelist George Eliot, a woman who refused to live up to society's rules and expectations.
Dec 12, 2010 Barb rated it really liked it
What a totally fun book to read. She had an interesting life. I recommend this for anyone who likes biography (George Eliot didn't.)
Feb 03, 2011 Diana added it
Interesting and insightful. Full of little details that makes her life and loves interesting.
Jun 08, 2011 Molly marked it as own-to-read
Won in a First Reads giveaway.
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Brenda Maddox, Lady Maddox FRSL (born 24 Feb 1932) is an American author, journalist, and biographer, who has lived in the UK since 1959.

Born in Brockton, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, she graduated from Harvard University (class of 1953) with a degree in English literature and also studied at the London School of Economics. She is a book reviewer for The Observer, The Times, New Statesman, The New
More about Brenda Maddox...

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