Mary Anne Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880; alternatively "Mary Ann" or "Marian"), known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of them set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight.
The novel spans a period of 10 to 15 years and details the lives of Tom and Maggie Tulliver, siblings growing up at Dorlcote Mill on the River Floss at its junction with the more minor River Ripple near the village of St. Ogg's in Lincolnshire, England. Both the river and the village are fictional. The novel is most probably set in the 1820s – a number of historical references place the events in the book after the Napoleonic Wars but before the Reform Act of 1832. It includes autobiographical elements, and reflects the disgrace that George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) herself experienced while in a lengthy relationship with a married man, George Henry Lewes.