“Those bitter sorrows of childhood! When sorrow is all new and strange, when hope has not yet got wings to fly beyond the days and weeks, and the space from summer to summer seems measureless.”
Raised in the idyllic setting of Dorlcote Mill, the wild and wilful Maggie Tulliver adores her elder brother Tom and is forever trying to gain the approbation of her parents. Yet, as she grows older and the family struggle under the weight of severe pecuniary difficulties, she becomes increasingly caught between the divergent expectations of the four men in her life: a doting father, an obdurate and vengeful brother, a good-looking and frivolous suitor and an earnest old playmate who happens to be the son of her father and brother's sworn enemy.
Tragic and affecting, and drawing heavily on George Eliot's own rural upbringing and relationship with her brother, The Mill on the Floss is one of literature's finest evocations of childhood and adolescence, and introduces, in Maggie Tulliver, one of the most beloved heroines in the English canon.