I read this book by Elizabeth Gaskell after watching the BBC movie in January. I fell in love with the movie so I had to read the book. North and South is one of the best love stories I have ever read. I enjoyed it thoroughly and I will continue to read this book over and over.North and South is primarily a love story. The hero is mill owner John Thornton. The heroine is Margaret Hale. Mr. Thornton grew up in the industrial North of England. Margaret grew up in the south. John Thornton is a strict and no-nonsense taskmaster. Margaret Hale is from a place where life is much slower and calm. John Thornton falls in love with Margaret immediately, but Margaret cannot stand Mr. Thornton and misjudges him as a human being.
I love this story even more than Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice because Elizabeth Gaskell does more than highlight social mannerisms and customs. In North and South there are sub plots surrounding social issues. There is the clash between the mill workers and the “masters” who own the mills and enable them to feed their families. The hazardous working conditions in the cotton mills is highlighted. You also get a picture of what life was like during the industrial revolution in England.
After I finished reading North and South I purchased this unabridged audio version. Listening to this story being read in its entirety is even nicer. I highly recommend the book and this audio version.
In my estimation, North and South deserves all the same praise and attention that Pride & Prejudice receives. It is truly a literary classic!