There was a time when I finally finished all of Jane Austen's books (twice) and I suddenly didn't know where to turn next. I loved reading about dances, and witty banter, and most importantly, Society with a capital S. After getting stuck in a long reading rut, I stumbled upon North and South, and despite the lack of dances, I found beautiful writing, memorable friendships, and a fair amount of tempestuous romance. This book is more political and industrial than my Austen-norm, but it was just the right book for my fix. I found myself sucked into the troubling world of cotton factories, and unjust class prejudices. Margaret Hale has now become one of my favorite heroines. She's pulled out of her comfortable country lifestyle and thrown into this busy working environment, and we are reminded that there are two sides to every story.— Leah
NORTH AND SOUTH (1854) by Elizabeth Gaskell is both a social commentary and the romantic story of a young lady, Margaret Hale, who is relocated with her family from the affluent South of England to the industrial North.
Margaret comes in contact with the difficulties of the working class and her sympathies are engaged. She also encounters the fascinating John Thornton, a wealthy local mill owner and a man of true integrity. Romantic tension ensues, reminiscent of Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. However, unlike an Austen heroine, Margaret lives in a world of harsher realities, with few things whitewashed, and suffering going hand in hand with ultimate exultation.
A classic portrayal of nineteenth century industrialization, and of the complexities of the human heart.