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Posted October 12, 2012
Stole my heart
This book is my new go to. Where Pride and Prejudice is light and funny, this is dark and brooding. It is the middle ground between Jane Austen and the Brontes. Not quite so Gothic and dramatic but still touching and beautiful. It is a compulsive read. Just buy it. You won't regret it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 20, 2010
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No Better Novel than Gaskell's North and South
Recently, I read in The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English's treatment of North and South that "Margaret, from the genteel home counties, moves to Milton Northern, where she meets mill-owner John Thornton, a heroic, uncultured bully who owes something to Bronte's heroes." This is the British North and South of the 1850s, not the American Civil War soap opera, and I love this book! I read it for the first time in 1994, and I think I've read it at least 9 times since then. I love the culture clash, not just between the North and South (or industrial and genteel society), but between the mill-owners and the mill-workers, as well as between the different factions of the mill-workers. It's very vibrant and intense, and written in a way that surprises its reader. It is very different from the normal 19th-century novel. It's very gritty and industrial, instead of beautiful and rustic; and yet the love story between Margaret and John is immensely beautiful. So much so that it seems to purify the smoky setting. The reader wants to be in Milton almost as much as she wants to be at Pemberly or Thornfield Hall. As reader observes each character, she expects one reaction and gets another. The characters are wonderful. The review I quoted calls Thornton a bully, but he's not, really. Margaret just deliberately misunderstands him. He is rather Brontean, or even Darcyan, but he's much more realistic and relatable than either Rochester or Darcy. Margaret Hale, too, is just as powerful and passionate in her delicate, feminine way, as Elizabeth Bennet or Jane Eyre. In many ways, she risks more than either of these fellow heroines. She suffers, but often alone without the shared sadness of her lover or the familial support of a sister. For Margaret, life is uncertain in so many ways, but she braves her way through that uncertainty and loneliness and finally dares to save not only herself, but he who she loves best-even when she is unsure of his love for her. All of this makes North and South one of the best British novels ever written (if not THE best). The BBC's 2004 adaptation of North and South is among the best period dramas I've seen as well (though sometimes a reader mourns the slight losses of, or changes in, the novel). The film uses a more contemporary, dynamic filming style that makes it a bit more edgy than the usual. The acting is amazing too. All of the principal actors should have gotten BAFTAs.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 10, 2009
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