George I

Nottingham Evening Post, "Classic of the week", October 30 2004

Adam Bede, by George Eliot (Oxford World's Classics, £4.99)

George Eliot has a reputation as the Great She-Elephant: big, heavy, wise and slow. There's something to that - as Middlemarch shows, this is a woman who could keep a whole town alive in her head simultaneously - but this early book demonstrates what so much power can do with a relatively simple story. It concerns Hetty Sorrel, the beauty of a 19th Century Midlands village, petitioned by good-hearted carpenter Adam Bede and tempted by the local aristo. The consequences of her choice go all the way to the gallows, and put readers through one of the most efficient emotional wringers in