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North and South

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Book Overview: 

Set in Victorian England, North and South is the story of Margaret Hale, a young woman whose life is turned upside down when her family relocates to northern England. As an outsider from the agricultural south, Margaret is initially shocked by the aggressive northerners of the dirty, smoky industrial town of Milton. But as she adapts to her new home, she defies social conventions with her ready sympathy and defense of the working poor. Her passionate advocacy leads her to repeatedly clash with charismatic mill owner John Thornton over his treatment of his workers. While Margaret denies her growing attraction to him, Thornton agonizes over his foolish passion for her, in spite of their heated disagreements. As tensions mount between them, a violent unionization strike explodes in Milton, leaving everyone to deal with the aftermath in the town and in their personal lives.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .seemed to spin about me, and mock me with its length of hours and minutes, and endless bits o' time—oh, wench! I tell thee thou'd been glad enough when th' doctor said he feared thou'd never see another winter.'

'Why, Bessy, what kind of a life has yours been?'

'Nought worse than many others, I reckon. Only I fretted again it, and they didn't.'

'But what was it? You know, I'm a stranger here, so perhaps I'm not so quick at understanding what you mean as if I'd lived all my life at Milton.'

'If yo'd ha' come to our house when yo' said yo' would, I could maybe ha' told you. But father says yo're just like th' rest on 'em; it's out o' sight out o' mind wi' you.'

'I don't know who the rest are; and I've been very busy; and, to tell the truth, I had forgotten my promise—'

'Yo' offered it! we asked none of it.'

'I had forgotten what I said for. . . Read More

Community Reviews

So about 5 years ago a friend and I were fangirling about Jane Austen generally and debating the merits of the various film adaptations of Pride and Prejudice--Colin Firth and Elizabeth Garvie (from the 1980 BBC version) FTW, by the way--and she says, "You have to watch this!" and hands me a coup...more

It's Pride and Prejudice for Socialists.


This will be a quote/pic review, I don't have time for a long one, and this is such a classic, that whatever I write won't be good enough :)
There will be spoilers as some of my fav quotes, just so you know :)

Thornton and Margaret <3

"He almost said to himself that he did not like her, before th...more

I have just completed reading this book for the second time and it has been even better then the first time.

I'd already seen the BBC series before reading the first time so I already knew the story, and I wish I'd come to the books afresh in a way though I do not think that would have altered in...more

I finally figured out why I love North & South so fucking much: John Thornton is as invested in his relationship as I am. And that means a great deal. It's very rare to get such a deep look into the emotions of the male love interest but Gaskell didn't shy away from showing us our beautiful p...more

“Oh, Mr. Thornton, I am not good enough!'

'Not good enough! Don't mock my own deep feeling of unworthiness.”

It took Margaret and Mr Thornton 451 pages (my edition) to reach here and what a journey it was. Painful at times, and adorable at others.

Margaret came to the industrial town of Milton fr...more

Cualquiera que ansíe vivir la Revolución Industrial desde todos los puntos de vista, NECESITA este libro.

I can't quite put my finger on why I love this book quite as much as I do. And even for someone who does re-read books as much as I do, to get through 3 copies of one book is quite a feat. For me, the most remarkable achievement of Gaskell is that she is able to combine so many elements of variou...more

"Pride and Prejudice" wouldn't have been a bad title for this comparative study of English society in the midst of the Industrial Revolution.

I must say that I was prejudiced against it before starting, and have to swallow my pride and admit I was wrong!

I thought it would be a dry copy cat versio...more

Update June 16, 2018: I watched the BBC production this past week and it was outstanding! I highly recommend pairing the book with the movie. While I rated the book 4 stars, the entire package of paper and screen is a sure 5+ stars. The movie adds that extra bit of magic that I found didn't come...more

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