The story is set in the in a fictional English town of Middlemarch. It interweaves the stories of several major and minor characters, focusing centrally on Dorothea Brooke an idealistic and ardently religious young woman. Many describe Middlemarch as Eliot's finest work and a masterpiece of Victorian era literature. Real. Intelligent. What do these terms mean and how might they help us read this complex, lengthy, and wonderful narrative? There are many ways to answer this question, and no single approach to reading this novel.