In her mid-thirties, Marian Evans transformed herself into George Eliot—an author celebrated for her genius as soon as she published her debut novel. During those years she also found her life partner, George Lewes—writer, philosopher, and married father of three. After "eloping" to Berlin in 1854, they lived together for twenty-four years: Eliot asked people to call her "Mrs Lewes" and dedicated each novel to her "Husband." The relationship scandalized her contemporaries yet she grew immeasurably within it.
Intriguing, often brilliant ... Ultimately, Carlisle’s thoughtful, comprehensive account of this particular liaison exquisitely probes the complex, thorny, and fascinating question: How much does our choice of partner determine who we ultimately become?
The paradoxical nature of Eliot’s personality—forthright and elliptical, realistic and spiritual, passionate and analytical—emerges and then recedes, leaving us captivated ... With formidable erudition and insight, this sympathetic author paints her own memorable portrait of the soft-spoken woman who quietly revolutionized the English novel—and who scandalized society by never marrying her husband.