Tag Archives: 1832 Reform Act

George Eliot – Felix Holt: The Radical

thFelix Holt has all the challenge of Middlemarch but very little of the enjoyment.  This was disappointing as I have always loved George Eliot; the Mill on the Floss is one of my favourite books.  Adam Bede and Silas Marner were also very readable but Felix Holt remains one of Eliot’s least known novels with good reason.

Set in context of the 1832 Reform Act, the extremely annoying Harold Transome has returned from abroad to take control of Transome Court.  To the surprise of the local landowners he intends to stand as a Radical in the forthcoming elections despite not being very radical at all .  Esther Lyon, the heroine, finds herself drawn to Felix Holt the serious, genuine, radical who unintentionally attracts her over by telling her how shallow she is and other such lines.

The novel is very slow, the politics is very long-winded and hard to understand even if you know about the 1832 Reform Act.   It  becomes mildly enjoyable towards end with more emphasis on Esther and Felix.  The problem with this book  is that Felix not developed character, he just seems stuck up and annoying.  Choose another George Eliot instead.

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