The last completed work by one of the greatest English novelists, this book proves that Victorian literature need not be staid, conventional, and formulaic. In fact, it is such a daring and intricately-wrought book that even some avid readers my be intimidated by it. I won’t fib: it’s a big bite to chew. But it is also a mouthful of rare, delicate flavors, and nourishing to the mind and heart.
In the imaginary village of Hayslope, on the frontier between the nonexistent English counties of Loamshire and Stonyshire, round about the year 1799, a strong, manly carpenter named Adam Bede lives with his doting mother (who becomes a widow in an early chapter) and his gentle, sensitive brother Seth. The brothers love the two pretty nieces of a prosperous farmer and his wife who live nearby. Adam’s intended is a vain, saucy, but irresistibly pretty little thing named Hetty Sorrel; the girl Seth wants to marry is a tender, modestly beautiful Methodist lay preacher named Dinah Morris.