Books and articles on the history of modern Zionism often refer to the important role of Daniel Deronda, a 755-page didactic novel written by George Eliot, the pen name for Mary Ann Evans (1819-1880). The book, the last of Eliot’s seven novels, was published in 1876 and is noteworthy for its unusually favorable depiction of Jews, as well as for promoting the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. It was translated into a number of languages, including Hebrew and Yiddish, and was familiar to a number of early Zionist figures including Chaim Weizmann, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and Golda Meir. While Eliot is widely thought of as one of the most important writers of the Victorian age, I had never read any of her work. The COVID-19 period of self-isolation seemed to be an appropriate time to read Daniel Deronda.The book begins at an advanced point in the plot with a chance meeting of Gwendolyn Harleth a beautiful and ambitious young woman with a strong sense of entitlement, and Daniel Deronda, an educated young gentleman who has been raised in the charge of Sir Hugo Mallinger, a well-to-do Englishman; after which the story reverts in time to their separate tales. Gwendolyn’s family faces financial ruin due to an investment failure. She makes an unwise marital choice and becomes the trophy wife of a controlling, arrogant and wealthy aristocrat, who happens to be Sir Hugo’s nephew and heir. Meanwhile, Daniel rescues a young Jewish woman named Mirah and helps her find her brother, Ezra Mordecai, a frail consumptive, who teaches him about Judaism and about the national dream of Jewish people.