my take: reading middlemarch in middle age is an experience worth having. and if you can have jennifer holberg (of calvin college) teach it to you, you are very lucky. i underlined. i starred. i reread passages. this book is timeless. and the great thing is, it's huge! once you get into it, there are lots of pages in which to dwell in this town in England in the 1830's and find what we have in common with them. seriously, i found an observation that reminded me of the book blink, and a passage that might as well have come from love wins. the plot is quiet ... a bunch of people get married and must survive their choices...but the wisdom of the narrator, observations of both narrator and character, and the universal humanity found in these characters will make you forget that george eliot (maryann evans) wrote this in the late 1800's.
i read this in my 20's or 30's ... reread in my 40's & discussed it with folks mostly over 70 ... a read that gets richer with age! for period pieces, if you can't "get into it" try listening to the beginning on cd ... i supplemented my actual reading (deadlines for class) with listening in the car & laundry room & hot tub... newly released reading was tremendous.
my source: took a CALL (calvin academy of lifelong learning) class with my mother and great aunt.
my recommend: if you've got time and a little mental muscle, this will be a rewarding read.
my rating: all time all star.