North and South

North and South

4.4 234
by Elizabeth Gaskell

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North and South tells the story of Margaret Hale, a southerner newly settled in the northern industrial town of Milton, whose ready sympathy with the discontented millworkers sits uneasily with her growing attraction to the charismatic mill owner, John Thornton. The novel poses fundamental questions about the nature of social authority and obedience, ranging from…  See more details below


North and South tells the story of Margaret Hale, a southerner newly settled in the northern industrial town of Milton, whose ready sympathy with the discontented millworkers sits uneasily with her growing attraction to the charismatic mill owner, John Thornton. The novel poses fundamental questions about the nature of social authority and obedience, ranging from religious crises of conscience to the ethics of naval mutiny and industrial action. Margaret's internal conflicts mirror the turbulence that she sees all around her. This revised and expanded edition sets the novel in the context of Victorian social and medical debate and explores Gaskell's subtle representations of sexual passion and communal strife.

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"[An] admirable story … full of character and power"
—Charles Dickens

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Random House
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North and South

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"[An] admirable story … full of character and power"
—Charles Dickens

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North and South 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 234 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first saw the BBC miniseries about 18 months ago. I was enthralled. The story has many similarities to the beloved Pride and Predjudice, but the setting and scope of the story are much deeper. The story is primarily set in the two different worlds in Victorian England. Gently born and raised Margaret is pulled away from the genteel life she is accustomed to in the South of England, to live in a northern manufacturing town. The two very differing climates are metaphors for the experiences and people by whom she is surrounded. Her own predjudices are tested along a personal journey that opens her heart and mind. Themes of devotion and love are timeless. The more weighty issues of poverty, fair business practices and moral duty are also timeless. In our age of greed, a lot could be gained by reading some of the Victorians like Elizabeth Gaskell and Charles Dickens. This book may not be an easy read to everyone. But if you've read Austen and/or Dickens, it is an enjoyable book. This reader loves history and also loves good romance. I read the final chapter three times because I found it so deeply satisfying. If you have seen the BBC adaptation, you'll find that it's not entirely true to the book. However, I found them to have the same soul and spirit. North and South is now part of my permanent collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw BBC's movie production of North and South first and then decided I had to read the novel by Elizabeth Gaskel. I was not dissapointed. If anything it will enhance the movie experience because it gives you more details/information about the characters, their actions and events that take place in the novel. This story tells of the hardships that people faced on a daily basis. The love story of John Thornton and Margaret Hale is especially touching because they both had to overcome prejudices 'on her part' and missunderstandings 'on his part'. What a wonderful novel. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who has already seen the movie. I have to admit both the movie and the novel of North and South surpasses all versions of Pride and Prejudice.
Libejin More than 1 year ago
I recommend it to everyone who likes Victorian era classics, romance, and good historical imagery. I read North and South the first time during my first semester of grad school in 2008 after watching the BBC version on DVD. So I got to compare the endings and read the commentary & footnotes, & etc. I liked the book version better than the DVD, except for the ending and watching Richard Armitage play John Thornton. After re-watching the DVD a few times over 3-1/2 years I bought N&S for my Nook and re-read it with fresh perspective this month (June 2012), and love the book even more than the first time I read it. I understand the ending much better because I get the spirit of the message Gaskell meant for us to come away with. The dvd ending (on the train) gives us a metaphorical visual of what E. Gaskell would have written if she'd been given 21st Century freedom at the time of the Victorian periodical. I am in love with her John Thornton (again).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has become one of my favorites. It's up there with Pride and Prejudice. The guy is a true hero in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book, like others of this era, takes a little bit to get into, but once in it, I love it! Lots of meat, i.e. at least 2-3 different stories going on that have substance to them.
Belinda_Kroll More than 1 year ago
I never thought it possible, but this book supplanted Pride and Prejudice as my favorite romance, reasons being that it brings outside philosophical, political, and economic pressures into the romance. The romance is not just that there are misunderstandings and ruined reputations, but that there are actual lives at stake; entire towns that could fall if the mill workers refuse to work; people could be killed in riots; there is communal strife and an inability to communicate between the social classes. This is an ambitious work that I am head over heels in love with because the prose is poetic, the themes are strong, and the characters sympathetic. Gaskell gives the secondary and tertiary characters all the love, compassion, and motive that is usually reserved for main characters alone. I could go into a detailed analysis of the writing tricks Gaskell uses to appeal to her audience (the sympathetic Victorian woman), such as describing the illnesses of those around Margaret, the way Margaret's eyes sometimes exhibit a childlike wonder or surprised pain, and the way Margaret shoulders the problems of those around her for that is her role as the daughter in the family (really, this is a brilliant piece of Victorian literature), but I won't. I will tell you that if you like reading classics (my childhood was defined by classics, and I desperately miss the feeling of losing myself in that world), you must read this book. If your writing tends toward the classical style, this is a great example to take note of. There are moments when Margaret almost reminds me of Jane Eyre in her contemplations of her role as a female in the world, which makes sense because Mrs Gaskell was actually a sort of social friend of Charlotte Bronte's. In fact, Mrs Gaskell wrote the first biography of Charlotte, and helped create the rather mythological story behind the woman who wrote such great works as Jane Eyre and Villette. P.S. The BBC made a two-part miniseries of this book in 2007, and it is excellent. Things have been changed, obviously, to fit the book into a four-hour showing, but it is a great adaptation and the reason why I read the book in the first place. * Review originally posted at my blog, Worderella Writes: *
Aglaia More than 1 year ago
I first saw the BBC movie and I read the book straight away. It is a very well written, enjoyable novel set in Victorian times and through the main protagonists it introduces us to the divide between the industrial north and the more gentlemanly, leisurely south and how different the outlook, temperament and lifestyle of the people from each place is. I truly enjoyed the book. People often compare it to Pride and Prejudice - I would not go that far, but the love story is compelling and the author`s social awareness and sensitivity, her portrayal of the industrial revolution and its effects on people is magnificent and very real. I liked the main characters very much. Recommended.
writersdd More than 1 year ago
North and South always delights the reader with a glimpse into the north of England during the Industrial Revolution. The characters show the stereotypes of the day: the North was thought to be always busy, always working, always thinking of money; while the South was thought to be more relaxed and sedate. The resolution is very satisfying for the romantic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this after having watched the BBC miniseries. I love them both.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After a friend gave me Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, I picked it up and started reading, intrigued. I was shocked at how quickly I was pulled into the storyline for a book written so long ago, and pleased with the incredible characters and plot. This is a great book and great love story to boot, and I highly recommend reading North and South. It's a great read, and courageous, plucky, tender-hearted Margaret Hale will live on in my mind as a great heroine for a fantastic book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This copy is relatively free of errors and the story is delightful. If you are a fan of jane austen you must read this book and you wnt be sorry!
MsMe11 More than 1 year ago
The best book,great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Timeless classic !
Beautiful_Mermaid More than 1 year ago
If you're a fan of Pride & Prejudice or Jane Eyre you are definitely going to love this book. Mr. Thornton is this proud man but deep down he is so lovable, you will want marry this character. Love Elizabeth Gaskell, one of my favorite times in England.
bars14 More than 1 year ago
Set in 19th century Victorian England, this book is a remarkable one. Mrs. Gaskell shows the contrast between the gentrified south and industrializing north in the guise of a romance. It is also a social commentary on the life and times of the rapidly industrializing north. Along with Middlemarch by George Eliot, this book is my absolute favorite.
Juli_licious More than 1 year ago
I first saw the BBC mini series and decided to read the book. I, absolutely, loved this book, even after trying to decipher the language of the Milton locals. Mr. Thornton is a favorite now, right alongside Mr. Darcy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely the best by Elizabeth Gaskell. BBC made a great movie of it as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was like reading Jane Austen for me. A great sweeping story. The e book has many errors in it though, which is annoying. The page numbering is way off, too. It says there are 1300 pages but dont get worried-it is only around 400. The pages skip two at a time or more. This story gives a great picture of Industrial Revolution in England and class struggle. You dont want to miss the romance in this, either. Worth the wait. You will see what i mean. Read it for sure and watch bbc miniseries too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my fav book! North and South is great. A good book for the nook!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Par1949 More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this romantic novel down!! Ms. Gaskell did an outstanding job transporting ones back to a time where it took a man of strong character to eek out a living for his family and keep his dignity and humility in the industrial north of England. The strong love and determination of Mr. Thorton to win the heart of the woman he loved, Miss Hale, will be an inspiration to ones who read this novel!! This novel is a must read for all us "romantics" who desire to be transported to to a time where love between a man and a women is spell-binding!
Melanie Davis More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books. It shows the difference of classes and regions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put it down, after reading this I watched the BBC movie.. it too was equally wonderful!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 'North and South', Elizabeth Gaskell effectively analyzes and dissects Victorian era social norms. The novel's protagonist, Margaret Hale, is an independant-minded woman who is not afraid to speak her mind or take charge of a given situation. Her story is one of self-discovery, as she comes to face great hardship in the city of Milton (Manchester) and learns to empathize with the plight of the less fortunate. Gaskell paints a huge canvass of characters from all different social backgrounds: the poor, factory workers, the middle class, the educated, capitalists, and manufacterers. Margaret Hale makes a good protagonist because she serves as a sort of middle-ground character: an outsider who is able to befriend both the rich and the poor. The novel serves as a commentary on the class struggle and social unrest of mid-nineteenth century Britain. It deals with the motivations behind these problems and seeks to reconcile them. I found the novel to be a fascinating character study and a complex look at how the Industrial Revolution affected British society. The story drags, however, in some parts and becomes rather contrived near the end. Like all Victorian novels, 'North and South', is long and sentimental. Still, if you're interested in British literature, 'North and South' is worth checking out. Elizabeth Gaskell deserves more attention for her body of work.
anne40 28 days ago
This is a wonderful and smoldering Victorian romance but it is so much more. The characters begin to develop from the first page The backdrop of the industrial revolution and the rise of trade unions allow Margaret Hale and John Thornton to change and grow. I loved the other characters as well, Hannah Thornton, Higgins, Mr. Hale, etc. and even Fanny. You will want to read the book more than once in order to discover the many nuances. One of my favorite scenes toward the beginning of the book was the bracelet that kept falling on Margaret's arm which fascinated John Thornton. Elizabeth Gaskell as a female was able to enter John Thornton's mind and heart.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Bio of her friend bronte and cranford darker and with the conventions of the time whch will seem brutal today all of her works are in a complete works of gaskell n nook