Middlemarch is quite a long book. The first half left me a bit bored, but the second half picked up nicely. I never got the impression the book dragged on, nothing seemed extraneous, but it was all so long there were times I got tired.
Dorothea and Lydgate are the two main characters, with a few secondary characters. Eliot wonderfully captures emotions and personalities, as well as the social dynamic of a small country town. The overall story waxes and wanes, there are romances, but much of the book is about control - being an independent and honest man, asking for help, a woman's role in society; as well as doing the "right thing."
I was surprised that Dorothea didn't do more to help the poor and needy. Yes, she did give the donation, but from the beginning of the book I thought it would have been a major theme. Not so much.
I enjoyed the Garth family the most, and I liked Fred and Mary's plotline the most. Lydgate wasn't likeable. He wavered between a scientific, medical man to a man completely wound up in a false fairytale. It was ironic how he kept secrets when he demanded that Rosamund not keep any herself.
I am glad Dorothea got her happiness in the end. I was fearful that it wasn't going to end up that way at all. Although in the beginning her actions seem ridiculous, understanding her unusual ways make the reader form a deep connection to her.