By lalae, Updated
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The novel starts in the present and flashes back to when Silas was a young man in Lantern Yard. In this religious community, Silas was revered, had friends and a fiancé. However, he was soon framed by his best friend and expelled from the town. Moving to Raveloe, he began a new life.
Silas has been hurt badly, so he has become a reclusive miser, full of anger and despair. This makes him the subject to rumors and lies.
Godfrey Cass has a scandalous secret, which his brother Dustan uses as blackmail: he is secretly married to an opium addicted woman! Dustan robs Silas after Godfrey would not lend him money, leaving Silas with nothing. One night, Molly decides to get revenge on Godfrey by showing up with their child. However, she dies in the snow and her baby wanders to Silas’ house.
Godfrey marries Nancy. Silas raises the child, Eppie, as his own, and it changes his life for the better. Godfrey, however, vows that he will never forget the child and promises to keep an eye on her. After 16 years, Godfrey and Nancy, who were unable to have children of their own, try to take Eppie from Silas. For the third time, Silas is faced with despair.
Unable to leave Silas and the life she has known, Eppiem, now 18, passes on the Cass’s offer to be their child. This makes Silas the happiest he’s ever been, and he knows now that he will trust for the rest of his life. Silas also has his gold returned to him after the Cass family finds Dunstan’s dead body at the bottom of a dried up quarry near Silas’s cottage, with Silas' gold next to him.
With all things having been restored to him, Silas decides to go back to Lantern Yard to see if any light was shed on his innocence. However, when he and Eppie get there, the town is gone. After they return to Raveloe, Eppie marries Aaron Winthrop. Silas, Eppie, and Aaron live happily in Silas’ cottage for years to come.
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