'Silas Marner' is George Eliot boiled and drained, and what's left is more like an allegory or a fable than a novel. The lesson against parsimony and categorical judgement of our neighbors weighs heavy and overrules the characterization.
In her first two novels there was considerable time spent on developing the rural village community and the local gentry. There the social commentary and the humorous perspective on our daily hypocrisies added to the spirit of the book, they weren't the reason for it. In 'Silas Marner', other than the selfish sons of the squire (more lessons!), there is little time spent on any character not named Silas Marner. And he's a drip.
This is an approachable book, suitable for school children, and I mean that derogatorily. I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I have others. Where are the Poysers and the Aunt Gleggs?