Book #5: The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
The Mill on the Floss centres around Tom and Maggie Tulliver, whose parents own the eponymous Mill on the Floss. The first chapter is about their childhood, and how they grew up together, including an episode where Maggie runs away from home, and the plans to send Tom to a boarding school.
When Tom goes to boarding school, he makes friends with a hunchbacked boy named Philip, who falls in love with Maggie. However, Philip's father then sues Tom and Maggies' father, who ends up bankrupt and bedridden following a riding accident; the mill has to be sold to Philip's father, and it drives a wedge between the two families, causing Tom to start hating Philip. Maggie remains very much in love with Philip, despite her family's objections.
The relatonship between Tom and Maggie is fleshed out very well from the start and is made to be one of the story's main focuses. Maggie's continued love for Philip is very well set out, as events conspire to prevent them from finding happiness, including the appearance of Stephen, who is eager to marry Maggie himself. The storyline just keeps getting bleaker as the story continues, and at each point when there seems to be some hope for the characters, a sudden plot twist spoils things. There is also a noticeable deterioration of the relationship between Tom and Maggie running throughout the story.
Overall, I enjoyed this immensely, and it was very well written, in a way that was sympathetic to all characters, even those who should have been very dislkeable. I found it to be very easy to read, despite being long-winded in places, and so I would definitely recommend it to others.
Next book: The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy