While Eliot's work is tedious to some (like Dickens, she must have been paid by the word), this novel paints a charming portrait of life in mid-nineteenth century England. Critics have long noted the strength of the first two books of this novel, which was first published in serial form, because of its portrayal of the very realistic and human-like relationship between brother and sister characters Maggie and Tom. The language may seem archaic to readers, but the effort spent on this novel is worth the reward of a charming and sorrowful story. Eliot, actually Mary Ann Evans, was often criticized for books following the second (the novel is split into several lengthy "books," which include chapters) because they are didactic in nature and do not follow the expected conclusion. But do not let ancient critics deter you. This novel is still worth reading, if only for the way that we can relate to poor Maggie's struggle to be accepted by society in spite of her tumultuous emotions. This classic is not to be missed.