Saturday, October 24, 2009

North and South

North and South (Penguin Classics) North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Book 38 of 50 for the New Author Challenge
Book 5 for the Classics Challenge

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I told myself I had to read this before I watched it. And, although it wasn't the quickest or easiest read on the planet, it was well worth it.

North and South is the story of Margaret Hale, the daughter of a country parson who has a crisis of conscience and decides to give up his profession. Because the scandal of leaving the Church of England is so great, the family moves north to Milton (presumed Manchester) where life in an industrial town contrasts so greatly with their idyllic rural life.

Before leaving the South, Margaret is proposed to by her cousin's brother-in-law, whom she turns down because she only considers him a friend. But on arrival to the smoky North, Margaret meets John Thornton, a wealthy cotton manufacturer, whom she despises because of his supposed inferior station.

In the North, Margaret befriends a poor family with a consumptive daughter. She learns much about the struggle between master and worker and even finds herself involved in a strike. These parts, which were written using the local worker's accent, were a little dry and difficult to read. But the social struggle is real and could even be compared and contrasted to those involving unions today.

There is a nice love triangle in this book and I definitely have a new Victorian male to swoon about in Mr. Thornton. But there is a lot of heartache too, much of it revolving around the social and political commentary of the time. This is a classic I am glad to have read and I look forward to reading more of Gaskell's works.

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Source: Purchased


Molly said...

I am very anxious to read Gaskell's works as well. I look forward to reading this one as well as Cranford. And I am like you -- I much prefer to read the book before I watch the movie.

bermudaonion said...

The story sounds wonderful. I would have to get used to the language and then I'd probably enjoy it.

Kim said...

I've been wanting to read this one too. I listened to Cranford but I can't say I really liked it. This one sounds better.

Britt said...

My friend gave me this movie.... still haven't watched it. Or read the book.

I really need to get on that!

S. Mehrens said...

I came upon your blog while looking for information on the Miss Buncle Books, which I'm currently reading through. I am also an Elizabeth Gaskell fan. I read North & South in 2008 and it instantly became a favorite. The movie is well made, but the book has a lot more depth.

If you are interested you can read my review here:

You can see my Miss Buncle reviews (I've posted the first two) by visiting

Karenlibrarian said...

I've wanted to read this since I read Wives & Daughters, one of my all-time favorites. Darn it, there are just so many good books to read! But I'm looking forward to Elizabeth Gaskell on the Classics Circuit -- are you participating? It starts in December and should be great.

alisonwonderland said...

This is the probable pick for one of my book groups in November, so I'm glad to hear that you liked it.