111. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Alright, by now you guys must have figured out I have thing for Classics mainly Victorian novels. They’re sort of my guilty pleasure!

I have seen the 2004 BBC Adaptation of North and South, and I was hooked.

North and south, pride and prejudice, classic
(Image from Amazon.com)

It is like Pride and Prejudice but more serious and more prejudiced. If you liked P&P you will certainly want to watch this.

I am re-watching the series because I don’t want that North and South bubble to burst too quickly, and I must say it stayed true to the book quite a bit.

The two main characters have such strong and clashing personalities that at times I wondered how will they ever make it?

But lets move on to the actual story.

Summary:

North and South follows the life of a young Margaret Hale – who is currently living in London with her aunt Shaw – where they’re currently preparing for the wedding of her cousin. Having been brought up in London for the past few years, she misses home considerably.

“Oh, I can’t describe my home. It is home, and I can’t put its charm into words”

Her father being a pastor has been living in Helstone, among the greenery and beauty of the country side. When she returns after the wedding her father reveals that he is leaving the Church due to certain doubts that he has.

Hence, her life is uprooted once again and they move down South to Milton where all the Cotton trade is taking place.

Prejudiced against tradesmen, for always thinking about money , Margaret is soon at odds with Mr. Thornton – a popular Tradesman in Milton – who becomes her father’s pupil.

“It is bad to believe you in error. It would be infinitely worse to have known you a hypocrite.”

After adjusting to life in Milton, she befriends certain workers of the factory and learns firsthand the struggle laborers face.

Finding herself in a unique position whereby she dines among the elite and befriends the labor class, Margaret struggles with what is moral and Christian like, and how the system is wrong.

“Well, He had known what love was-a sharp pang, a fierce experience, in the midst of whose flames he was struggling! but, through that furnace he would fight his way out into the serenity of middle age,-all the richer and more human for having known this great passion.”

She meets with the society, mainly Thornton’s proud mother and foolish sister, and difference of opinions is soon revealed. But one day, after asking for a waterbed for her ailing mother, she is caught up in the riot and in order to save Thornton from the mob she clings to him in front of everyone, risking her reputation.

“it seemed as if she could dream her life away in such luxury of pensiveness, in which she made her present all in all, from not daring to think of the past, or wishing to contemplate the future.”

With this move things start to change between those two, Margaret’s home situation changes as one tragedy after another befalls her, and Thornton loses out on profits.

With their fates changing, soon enough their paths separate, only to reunite in the most surprising circumstances.

Review:

Like I said in the beginning, I really loved this book, mainly because of the similar themes as to Pride and Prejudice and how strong both the main characters were depicted.

Also, this book gave a very interesting insight into the society of Industrial England, and how societal norms were reformed. The nuances of those times and the language was aptly described and I honestly felt transported to that era.

If you like Victorian novels and movies, this will be a wonderful treat. The story reads beautifully, and the clashed between the characters is so real, you’re at odds with themselves.

elizabeth gaskell
(Image from Pinterest)

Please watch the show, you won’t regret it. I’m already swooning at the chemistry between those two!

Also, this book is currently on discount at book depository, click here if you feel like you found your next book affair.

Onto the basics:

  1. Rating: 5.0/5.0
  1. Favorite quote: “Of all faults the one she most despised in others was the want of bravery; the meanness of heart which leads to untruth..”
  2. Reader level: In between hard and easy.
  3. Should you read:  Defnitely!!
  4. Would I read it again: Oh, absolutely.

Till next time,

-Sarah

 

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