North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell

North and South

What a book. Margaret Hale – what a woman and Mr Thornton – what a man. I haven’t read many books from this era but if all the heroines are like the ones I have read about so far, I can’t wait. I read The Woman in White recently and was struck by the similarities between that heroine Marion Halcombe and Margaret Hale. From their shared initials to their challenging personal circumstances and both being the wind beneath the wings of their apprently prettier female relatives. Most importantly their incredible strength of character and selflessness. I loved it.

The story follows the fortunes of the Hale family as they move from a relatively comfortable life in the South of England to what Margaret perceives as the harshness of the industrial town of Milton in the North. She finds the weather colder, the people coarser, the town smoky and misses her previous life terribly. Finding herself in the middle of a strike by the millworkers, she comes to see life in Milton through different eyes and her feelings begin to change.

Despite the many hardships that fall upon the characters, many on Margaret herself, she is the sort of person who strives always for the good and inspires those around her to do the same. There are several transformations in this story.

Just wonderful.. and that is without mentioning her dealings with a certain Mr Thornton…

Published: 1855

Pages: 425 + notes

Challenges: Classics, Elizabeth Gaskell mini challenge, compass, Guardian 1000 novels, Support your local library

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7 responses to “North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell

  1. Thank you! I have recently read Cranford and I’ve been wondering which Gaskell to read next. Clearly this has to be the one!

  2. I really want to read this, but I just saw the adaptation (which is incredible), so I’m reading Cranford as my first Gaskell and then I’ll try out this one.

  3. Fleur – Oh I hope you do read it. I will look out for your review and will be interested to see what you think and how it compares to Cranford – which I think will be my second Gaskell read.

    Eva – as soon as I finished reading this I wanted to see the adaptation – the BBC version with Richard Armitage? Now I really can’t wait to see it. He looks very Darcy like on the cover..

  4. I haven’t read North and South, but I loved Woman in White. Hmm… maybe I should reread it and also read some Gaskell…

    Greetings,
    Tiina

  5. I am reading this book next and have to admit I was a little nervous about it but feel much better after reading your review. I noticed in your post that this book will also count towards the guardian challenge…I didn’t know this, so thank you for making me aware (I originally chose it for the compass review).

  6. Hi Book Psmith – I have to admit I chose it for the compass challenge mainly and it fitted into the other challenges nicely.. now I just need to find and finish an East and a North book and finish them in the next few weeks…!

  7. I just finished North and South and thought I would drop by and say you were right…what a book. So good and that last chapter was the best (I was getting a little nervous there). Have you read other books by Gaskell? If so, what others have you liked by her?

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