Strange that so many people complained about this book after having been forced to read it in High School. I had never heard of this particular Elliot book until I acquired the list of "1001 books to read before you die." I can see where the language in this book would be troublesome to many young students, particularly if they have little to no experience reading anything from the time, much less anything written in phonetic slang. But the theme should be universal.
Short Synopsis - we follow to individuals through the tale, the title character - Silas Marner, a weaver who has had a long run of bad luck in dealing with people who has then holed himself away from society and fills his days with weaving and counting his slowly growing stack of gold. The other is Godfry Cass, a wealthy son of a land owner who's poor in morals and scruples. Through a series of events triggered by Godfry and his brother, Silas is thrust into various situations of both grief and joy. Always Silas maintains his high moral standard and simple way of life and is thusly rewarded for it.
As is standard in the literature of the time - the good get what they deserve and the morally lacking get their just ends. The interesting part that Elliot weaves in to the tale is that the unfortunate events that happen to Silas, all end up leading him to true happiness. Now I don't want to give the story away as many others have, but I will say that once you get past the first third or so (where the reader will find themselves wondering if ANYTHING is ever going to happen) the book picks up and becomes very enjoyable.
The language may be tough for some, but once you get about 20-30 pages in, you shouldn't have much trouble reading it. If all else fails, read it out loud. On the whole this is a very enjoyable book, though not my favorite - the story is fun and happy and leaves the reader feeling rather warm and fuzzy.