Top critical review
For Middlemarch Obsessives
on May 1, 2014
This is a hard book to categorize. I think that it would not appeal to casual readers, and that it's only relevant for Middlemarch fanatics, which I became for a month or so.
Mead has the difficult task of trying to make us care about George Eliot, George Lewes her putative husband, Herbert Spencer and all ( even a "groupie" from back then)--even herself, Rebecca Mead. Lots of interesting info about Eliot's and Lewes' life together and how "beloved" she felt by him. Eliot was definitely the force in that "marriage". Lots of info about Spencer's rejection of Eliot and how unloved she felt from this blow to her ego before Lewes came along.
The info that Mead shared about her own life was cursory. The stated connections between Mead and Eliot didn't ring true. Of course, they were true--- just not emotional enough to seem important to me .
A big plus is that the tone of Mead's writing evoked Eliot's tone. If not for this and trying to see how Mead constructed her sentences to sound like Eliot's, I probably would have given this two stars. ( Too harsh. Mead deserves one more star for her research, which was significant.)