My day four book of choice is Daniel Deronda by George Eliot …
… which is not just, as the title implies, about Daniel Deronda. It’s a tale of two physically beautiful people who are driven by an inner darkness – Deronda himself and Gwendolen Harleth. Both characters are outsiders in their cloistered worlds and, as the story progresses, they become more and more drawn to each other – as much emotionally as physically. The chemistry between the two is so intense, it leaps off the page and yet there’s a real subtlety to it that leaves you wondering right to the end – will they or won’t they?
I’ve read several of Eliot’s books and, for me, no one does heartache quite as well as she does and, even though you’re positively drowning in the stuff, you can’t help but want more. Such is the quality of her writing.
Much is made of Gwendolen’s haughtiness but I found Deronda equally so and – ti has to be said – somewhat patronising, to the female characters in particular. Nonetheless they are both fascinating protagonists. The minor characters too bring additional depth and complexities that make this such an engrossing read.
I won’t give away the ending but the fact that it doesn’t end entirely happily is another reason to like this book. Eliot does not do saccharine.