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North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
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North and South (original 1855; edition 1970)

by Elizabeth Gaskell, Dorothy Collin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,1881241,195 (4.12)3 / 545
Member:snash
Title:North and South
Authors:Elizabeth Gaskell
Other authors:Dorothy Collin
Info:Harmondsworth : Penguin, 1970.
Collections:Sharon's Collection, Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Literature, Kindle

Work details

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (1855)

  1. 201
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Shuffy2)
    Shuffy2: Mr. Darcy and Mr. Thornton are both of the same cloth, a love story you can really sink into!
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  3. 51
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  5. 02
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    Shuffy2: If you like 'sequels', I recommend this one!
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English (116)  Spanish (2)  German (2)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (124)
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
This was not my favorite book to read and I was sadly disappointed as I really loved the movie. The author's style just clashed with my preference. It did not draw me in very well. The characters were well developed and the plot itself was fine, but I think the flow was lacking. I also hated the bits of poetry that began with each chapter on my Kindle.

As I said before, the plot is good, but I think that the author just needed to tweak her writing style a bit. ( )
  caslater83 | Jul 24, 2015 |
In a word: enchanting.

This book does not only have very interesting characters, but it also provides one with a rare insight into social issues of nineteenth-century Britain When I started reading this book I thought it would be a perfectly good way to kill some time. Little did I know I would be staying up until two o'clock in the morning because I can't rest until the many persistent misunderstandings between Mr Thornton and Margaret are cleared away.

North and South is about Margaret Hale who moves with her mother and father from the country to an industrial town. Originally prejudiced against the working class, she finds an 'human interest' as she calls it in the people of the town. Her father's new position as tutor throws her into the path of Mr Thornton, who is an owner of a mill in Milton and a man who seems to be at odds with all of her opinions. Their growing attraction to one another is a major plot line in the book, but it is not solely a romantic novel. This book addresses many social themes and contrasts the busy town-life with the stagnant southern manners of nineteen-century Britain. Margaret is a strong, likable heroine that I found very easy to relate to.

The rest of this review contains plot details.

I loved this book. I liked every single character, even Margaret's insipid cousin who was used by Gaskell as a foil for the hard-working and interesting people of Milton. Also Mr Lennox, who I felt was not a favourite of Gaskell's (only because she continually gave him opportunities to show his unpleasant side but never gave him a chance to redeem himself) provided some enjoyment.

I see a lot of people comparing North and South with Jane Austen's work, but I don't think that is possible. Margaret and Thornton are far from perfect characters. They have real, believable faults (unlike Austen's characters who's faults are very forgivable, if they have any at all. Looking at you, Elizabeth and Elinor and Fanny). Margaret is very opinionated, often about things that she doesn't really understand. She's naive and doesn't know what she wants. Thornton is too proud for his own good and in his own way, very sensitive. These are not the type of characters we see in Austen's work and they appear to annoy a lot of people. I found them real and honest.

The only reason I gave this book four stars instead of five is because I would've liked to see a better resolution. As I understand, there were some external factors that forced Gaskell to cut the ending short. It really is a shame because the build-up is so dramatic. The ending was perfectly adequate but I would've liked to see one worthy of Margaret's and Thornton's passionate, combative relationship. They spend so much of the time disagreeing and thinking ill of one another that I hoped there would be a conversation where some of the misunderstandings are cleared away for good. As it is, a lot of the 'clearing away' happens off-screen.

Another thing that surprised me in this book was the alarming number of people close to Margaret who died. I didn't see the point of her father or Mr Bell dying at all. Quite possibly Gaskell wanted to do something more with the fact that she was so alone in the world, but had to follow another course when she had to end the book so suddenly. As it is, it feels as if Mr Bell had to die simply to make Margaret rich so that she could go on and finally declare her feelings for Thornton on the next page.

All in all, this book made me feel a whole range of emotions and it has joined the pile of books that I wish I could forget only for the pleasure of discovering them again. ( )
  Ariza_E | Jun 11, 2015 |
5 Stars!

If you are a fan of [a:Jane Austen|1265|Jane Austen|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1380085320p2/1265.jpg] then you will love [a:Elizabeth Gaskell|1413437|Elizabeth Gaskell|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1223499865p2/1413437.jpg] [b:North and South|156538|North and South|Elizabeth Gaskell|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1349633381s/156538.jpg|1016482].

This is a story of two worlds colliding in all the wrong ways. From the first encounter you know things are not going to go well.

I was captivated from the start, and it was hard to pick a side. I wanted to be on Margaret side, but it was hard when she showed her naivety and lack of understand of her new home came out.

I loved how she spoke her mind and dished out just as much as was thrown at her.

The love story, I don't know what it is but I love the old style romance. There's just something about thoes minor subtle things that makes it all the more intimate.

Call me old fashion but it's that romance I like.

I highly recommend this book. As I said, if you're a Jane Austen fan, then you'll love North and South..

Happy reading

-Emily ( )
  E.A.Walsh | Jun 11, 2015 |
I’m sitting here making an undecided facial expression and smacking my lips somewhat like after I do make when I’ve eaten something that doesn’t taste bad exactly, but it’s certainly nothing I would try again and I feel like my tongue has been coated unpleasantly so that I get to continue to taste it until I brush my teeth. Yeah, that’s how I feel about this book.

In fairness, I should disclose that I went into this reading adventure with some fairly high expectations because so many Jane Austen fans recommended her so whole heartedly. In fact, they were well nigh as intrigued with Ms. Gaskell’s characterizations as they were with Ms. Austen’s. It has stellar ratings on Goodreads. And I feel beyond let down.

A word about Ms. Gaskell: I was told she was a contemporary of Austen, perhaps on the later end of Austen’s writings. She is not. Elizabeth Gaskell was actually a contemporary of Dickens and contributed many short stories to a circular that Dickens published. And there’s the rub. I hate Dickens. I do. Just. Simply. Hate. Dickens. She also wrote a biography of Charlotte Bronte. I hate Bronte. Either one. Simply. Hate. Bronte. It’s all so dismal and dreary. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good “humanity sucks and should be wiped out” story as much as the next person, but I’ve always felt that Dickens-esque novels were too heavy-handed and ended up focusing on part of a story that I never found that interesting.

North and South was long: 400 some-odd small print, larger pages. It was extra hefty on description and meticulously written dialogue with Northern Englanders accent. I actually almost gave up on it out of sheer boredom at around 40 pages. As it was the only book I had with me on the train to and from work, I kept reading another 5 or so pages, and to its credit, it did become more interesting. But for a book that is about social class divisions and the struggles within each group to understand the lot of the other, it was decisively shallow. I felt like many of the “key” scenes were simply too contrived. There is no reason for Mr. Thornton, the male protagonist, to fall head over heals with Miss Hale, the female protagonist. They meet and instantly dislike one another, but, in my opinion, Glaskell is never able to convince me why their feelings change for one another. The author’s contrivance to move Mr. Thornton’s heart is really only a moment where Miss Hale (bravely but mostly stupidly) puts her body between Mr. Thornton and a bunch of rioters to protect him. Really? Hunh? At some point she throws herself at him still to “protect” him and the author has Thornton reflecting much on the feel of her against him. So his hatred for her “superior” ways all vanish in a cloud of smoke over a little lust? Isn’t there a town harlot for that?

Much later, of course only after making Miss Hale an heiress, and conveniently, an heiress over the very property upon which Mr. Thornton works and lives, Miss Hale realizes that he is all that is good in a man. I’m not certain why this change of heart because the author never tells us. It is true that Mr. Thornton does make great personal strides as a human being learning to understand the plight of others. But that she should decide she loves him on that alone seems, well, wholly unconvincing.

I actually had to re-read the last couple of chapters to make sure that I didn’t miss anything because one moment they are without any contact for a few years and the next he sees her in London and kisses her. I was convinced that my book must have been missing a few pages, but no, it just ended quickly. And that is one of my greatest pet peeves: rambling on and on and freaking on only to end the story without properly tying up your loose ends or making the tying up believable. I feel betrayed as a reader who invested my time to slog through your unnecessary detail.

The long and the short of it is that I ought to have stopped 40 pages in when I originally thought to give up. Why do people like this story? Two thumbs down. ( )
  mullgirl | Jun 8, 2015 |
I can't believe it's taken me so long to finally read this! I fell in love with the story when I first saw the adaptation on TV, bought the book (and the DVD!) soon afterwards... and it has been sitting on my shelves for FIVE YEARS waiting for me to finally get my act together! Anyway, it was definitely not a short read, but so very worth it.

Basic storyline: Margaret Hale and her family move to the Northern industrial town of Milton from their sweet Southern village. The whole family is uprooted and struggles to settle into the smoky, noisy, dank atmosphere of their new home. Their earliest acquaintances there are the Thorntons - dignified Mrs Thornton, her silly daughter Fanny, and her handsome son John, wealthy master of the Marlborough Mills and a famous name in cotton. Despite Mr Thornton's best efforts, Margaret believes Milton society to be inferior to their status as gentlefolk, and so the scene is set for a 'Pride and Prejudice'-esque story of wounded egos, longing glances, misunderstandings and, finally, true love.

Despite the similarities between this novel and the Austen favourite, there are big differences. This book is much more complex, and much grittier, leaning further towards Dickens in some respects. The poverty of the Milton workers, in which Margaret takes a philanthropic interest, is a major focus of the novel. The misfortunes of the Higgins and Boucher families, and their constant struggles against injustice, illness and uncaring employers, are carefully explored and movingly rendered. At the same time the progressive ambitions and difficult decisions made by the masters are never overlooked, providing a balanced view of industrial progress in the mid-19th century. And alongside all this Gaskell pointedly shows the contrast between the frivolity of the London social scene and the harsh life of Milton, as well as slowly drawing the reader deep into the lives of the Hale family, who have their own preoccupations, hardships and tragedies to bear.

All in all, this is a wonderful novel. It provides a fascinating insight into a time and an existence very different to modern life, while never losing the intimacy that draws the reader into the lives of these characters. I cried several times over the course of the novel, and had the HUGEST smile on my face at the inevitable and well-deserved happy ending. These characters burrowed their way into this reader's heart over the course of the book, and I've learned a little to boot. A fantastic read - and if you haven't seen the BBC adaptation with Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe, you should! It's what started my love affair with this story and I've been watching it very happily as I've been reading... Highly recommended. ( )
  elliepotten | Jun 2, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Gaskellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Easson, AngusEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ingham, PatriciaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ingham, PatriciaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jong, Akkie deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kwiatkowska, KatarzynaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leyrer, GindaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pérez, ÁngelaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shelston, AlanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shuttleworth, SallyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sorbier, Françoise DuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sorbier, Françoise DuIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vonghizas, ConstantinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Edith!" said Margaret, gently, "Edith!"
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140434240, Paperback)

"How am I to dress up in my finery, and go off and away to smart parties, after the sorrow I have seen today?"

When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice. This is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, as their fierce opposition over his treatment of his employees masks a deeper attraction. In North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell skillfully fused individual feeling with social concern, and in Margaret Hale created one of the most original heroines of Victorian literature.

In her introduction Patricia Ingham examines geographical, economic and class differences, and male and female roles in North and South. This edition also includes a list for further reading, notes and a glossary.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:43 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

From her home ground, her father's comfortably middle-class living in Hampshire and her aunt's establishment in Harley Street, Margaret is exiled to the ugly northern industrial town of Milton. Surprisingly, her social consciousness awakens. It is intensified by a relationship with the local mill-owner, Thornton, that combines passionate attraction with fierce opposition. The novel explores the exploitation of the working class, linking the plight of workers with that of women and probing the myth and reality of the 'north-south divide'.… (more)

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18 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140434240, 0141028122, 0141198923

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