Sunday, July 18, 2010

Book Review: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Book: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Genre: Classic Literature, Victorian
Published: 1855
How I Got the Book: required for class

Synopsis (from
North and South is a novel that exposed Victorian inequalities. Margaret Hale a woman from the South of England moves to the industrialized North of England where she is shocked by the huge inequalities between the rich and the working class. This serves as a backdrop for a conflicted love story. Margaret finds herself falling in love with John Thornton, the owner of the local mill. But her concern for the Mill's striking workers complicates the relationship. A classic tale of class and love.

My Thoughts: I couldn't find a great summary of the plot ANYWHERE online and that leads me to say that this book is WAY over looked. If you like classic literature or Victorian this now! It's smart, well built, perfectly written. It offers a superb look at industrialization. I feel like I have walked the countryside and cramped London streets with Margaret! And Margaret and Mr. Thornton's love is one of the best and most convincing I have ever read. I *got* that these two people were in love and were compatible despite being 'North and South' opposites. The big issues in the book are class and country versus city. The dialogue is sharp and interesting. I feel Gaskell does it better than Austen, but hey we all know who gets the glory despite what I say.

Characters: Margaret is a fantastic heroine. She was an advocate and spoke her mind. She felt real. And I heart Mr. Thornton...not perfect a good complicated character and a good match for Margaret. The Higgins family was a good representaion of the working class.

Cover Art: Once again a painting of a woman doing something. Eh, I think this book deserves better.

Overall: ★★★★


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