The titular Marner is a lonely old weaver, spurning all of his neighbors in the town of Raveloe because he has never gotten over the betrayal of his best friend and fiancé when he was a young adult living in an ultra-religious community in England. It ended up with him being accused of stealing from the group's funds and kicked out. Now all he cares about is weaving and gathering that comforting yellow gold. His gold is stolen from him by Dunstan Cass, a prominent family's asshole kid who's in debt, for a change, and runs off with the money. The whole town rallies around Marner, who they feel empathetic towards for the first time since he came to town, but he is inconsolable. That money was literally the only thing he lived for, and when it was taken from him, it left a giant pit in his stomach.
Then, one day, he finds a kid in front of his fireplace. The baby has beautiful golden locks, and at first Marner, with his bad eyes, believes it to be his gold, returned to him. Yeah, it's not, it's a baby who wandered away from her drugged-out mom in the snow, but it's close enough for Marner! He keeps the child, since nobody's going to come to claim it. The mother, who died asleep in the snow, had the child by Dunstan's older, upstanding brother, Godfrey. Godfrey is trying to get into Nancy's pants, and he doesn't want to make it known to the Raveloe world that the kid is his, and that he was actually married to the kid's mother, Molly.
The years pass, and the kid, Eppie, brings Marner a long-lost sense of purpose and joy in life. Marner's making small-talk with the neighbors, making daisy chains with Eppie, and happily weaving the hours away. Godfrey is in a childless marriage to Nancy, and when Dunstan's skeleton is discovered with Marner's gold, he wises up and comes clean to her. They both go to Silas and ask to have Eppie back. Yeeahhh... It's been a long time. She's a teenager already. She gets to decide, and she stays with her "real" father, the one who raised her. Even when she gets married, she doesn't leave her father, but has her husband move into Silas's house.
Although Silas Marner was written in the 1860s, it was set in the beginning of that century, in the days when one weaver with a loom in his cottage produced enough goods for everyone in a town. It's a charming, compact little story that I've treated horribly in this review due to my tiredness and cramped hand making me not treat it as seriously as I should. There's also social commentary! Organized religion does not come out smelling like roses, for one thing.
Overall, I say it's deserving of its classic status. (It is a classic, right? I assumed it was, but that might've just been because of the author.)
#28 (2013/CBR5) "Attachments" by Rainbow Rowell
11 hours ago