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North and South Paperback – Large Print, October 9, 2006
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"Gaskell saw the emotional and economic realities of ordinary life with a steely honesty." —The Times
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Top Customer Reviews
I was able to appreciate the romance and building of tension between Margaret and Mr. Thornton now, especially after having watched the BBC miniseries and the wonderful Richard Armitage playing Thornton. Right now, to me, there are four memorable classic literary heroes -- Mr. Darcy, Heathcliff, Mr. Rochester and now Mr. Thornton. He is gentler and not as brooding here as he is portrayed in the miniseries, but he is as compelling as I had remembered him. The last few pages are my favorite, especially this line: "While she sought for this paper, her very heart-pulse was arrested by the tone in which Mr. Thornton spoke. His voice was hoarse, and trembling with tender passion, as he said: `Margaret.' " What a romantic line and I wish it had been added to the miniseries.Read more ›
A lot of reviewers have covered the ground admirably on the story itself, so I won't go into too much detail on that. In addition to the fine development of plot and characters alike, what I found refreshing about the novel were:
a. Unlike a few other writers of her time, Elizabeth Gaskell focuses a lot more on the thought processes and feelings of the male characters in the novel. For example, you don't get to hear a lot of what Darcy or Edward Ferrars are thinking in Pride and Prejudice, or Sense and Sensibility, except almost tangentially. In sharp contrast, Mrs. Gaskell gives quite a detailed peep into what John Thornton and Richard Hale are thinking, throughout the novel. As someone who is always interested in the differences in thought processes between the sexes, I found this to be refreshingly different from other novels of the time.
b. Being in business, it was quite a new experience to read about John Thornton's evolution first as a business owner and then as a "leader", to use that overused term of today. Mrs. Gaskell appears to have a remarkably sophisticated understanding of both management and labor issues.Read more ›
In so many ways, though, this novel is a treasure. It's not easy to write a political novel with a strong love story and good characterizations. Gaskell takes on quite a bit and mostly succeeds in her task of describing the changes industrialization brought to England. She balances her sympathy for the workers in the factories with the dilemmas posed to the mill owners by new machinery, competition from abroad, and the threats of potential workers' strikes. She contrasts very effectively the excitement of this new way of life against the nostalgia for the agrarian past. These were new concepts in Victorian England, but they are not so foreign today that we cannot readily understand their significance.
She gives us a sympathetic and spirited heroine in Margaret Hale, who is wise beyond her years. Another colorful character is Nicholas Higgins. I found myself looking forward to his scenes because he provides the humor in an almost-humorless book. (It is funny at the end, though, and I would have liked to have seen more of this tone.)
Mr. Thornton is a character we can readily identify with--someone who triumphs over adversity and seeks to constantly better himself. Someone with high standards, yet none higher than he holds himself to. Margaret is his match in every way.
I did see many plot similarities with "Pride and Prejudice" in the love story.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fabulous writing and beautiful use of the English language, not to mention a riveting love story set in the industrial age in northern England. Don't miss this one.Published 9 days ago by JR
Movie is so much better. The wording is really antiquated so it makes it a hard read.Published 9 days ago by NoelleDenver
I loved this book! The characters you love and hate, almost at the same time. It was easy to get attached to the story and follow its length without feeling bored. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Amanda L. Turner
Excellent story. Lots of good historical information of the industrial revolution in England with a delightful romance to round it out.Published 22 days ago by Jeannie Anderson
This is a must read before watching the new mini series on the History Channel! (Or even the one with Patrick Swazey)Published 22 days ago by Miriam Williams
Another great story by Elizabeth Haskell! Similar in plot to Pride and Prejudice but set in a more industrial setting. Very well written and interesting.Published 27 days ago by L. Macdonald
This is an excellent novel, but this particular kindle edition does not have the traditional chapters. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer