North and South
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North and South

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  54,101 ratings  ·  3,402 reviews
"She tried to settle that most difficult problem for women, how much was to be utterly merged in obedience to authority, and how much might be set apart for freedom in working."

North and South is a novel about rebellion. Moving from the industrial riots of discontented millworkers through to the unsought passions of a middle-class woman, and from religious crises of consci...more
Paperback, 451 pages
Published June 1st 1996 by Penguin Classics (first published 1855)
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Blacky *Romance Addict*

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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 their conversation ended; he tried so to compensate himself for the mortified feeling, that while he looked upon her with an admiration he could not repress, she looked at him with proud indifference, taki
Aug 29, 2011 Fiona rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: fans of pride and prejudice
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 anyway, the way I perceived them. Though Richard Armitage certainly does help and I swooned over Thornton even more.

What I love about North and South is the passion and the realness of the characters, th...more
Jul 01, 2007 Ailsa rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Fans of 19th century lit in general
Shelves: classics
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 various 19th century novelistic traditions and yet not have the novel collapse into incomprehensibility.

The broad scope of the novel, coupled with insightful depth and comment means that each reading of the bo...more
I read this because I'd seen the BBC production, and wondered if Margaret Hale would be less silly in the book. North and South sounds like it should be about social and geographic divisions, but it's actually about finding balance amidst constant change. Although I found her character annoyingly reactive, the Miss Hale of the novel is decidedly less silly than she of the movie.

I've read comparisons of Mr. Thornton to Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy, but I don't personally see much likeness--aside from...more
Duchess Nicole
"And yet, yo see, North and South has both met and made kind o' friend in this big smoky place."

I almost feel like a fraud reviewing books like this. I know that there are probably many details that I miss entirely, some nuances that go straight over my head, but these are my thoughts...however scattered they are.

Margaret Hale's father has been the spiritual leader of his community of Helston for decades. Now he questions his faith...not necessarily his belief in God, but maybe the infallible c...more

I came to this novel, as is the case for many readers, through the BBC television adaptation, which I watched for the first time earlier this year. While I had not consciously avoided the novel and its adaptation until now, it's probably the case that I have been unconsciously avoiding Victorian fiction for some years, preferring the less ponderous novels of the earlier 19th century (particularly Austen) and the leaner style of 20th century fiction.

However at the moment I’m in the mood for Victo...more
Second read, November 2012, with Simran. My rating jumps to 5 stars

My second read of North and South was even more enjoyable than the first. Coming back to familiar people and places, I was able to understand, in more depth, the shades of the story Gaskell is telling. This is a story of opposites: culture, climate, way of living, that Margaret Hale is thrust into against her will. While she is at first repulsed by the ways of the Industrial North, and by the stern men that are the masters, she...more
I've been having conversations with my sister over the various articles being written on McDonald's unethical procedures of late. It's not the first time the topic has come up, but it is the first time since she was hired at said company's behest to earn her pocket money. I'll talk about employees cleaning their uniforms off the clock, she'll point out the ease of our home bound washing machine, I'll comment on the level of her paycheck, she'll speak of the guarantee of college, I'll bring up ni...more
Anneliese Bennion
On Sunday evening I finished reading Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South. It's the book they based the wonderful BBC movie on, in case you were wondering. It took me three weeks, maybe four to read this novel. I think that's the longest time I've spent with a book this year (not including when I've reread some of my favorites). A couple of years back I remember starting this book, but for some reason or another I didn't finish it. Just recently I came upon a website that posted pictures from the...more
Why have I not come across Elizabeth Gaskell's work before?! I have been missing out. I came across North and South through a recommendation from my good friend to watch the mini-series. So, eventually I did watch the mini-series and I absolutely loved it! I was intrigued by the characters and the story and I really wanted to read the novel. So in a few short days I began reading the original novel. And I really, really loved it.

The novel did seem quite daunting, being one of the longer classic...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
Caution: Spoilers and Snark abound!

I’m afraid this review will not be popular with fans of the author, or those who see classic literature as unassailable. But after slogging through this book (especially so soon after discovering Villette, a truly excellent classic!), I feel obliged to warn potential readers, and let those who were disappointed with the book but wary about criticizing a classic know that they aren’t alone.

So, then: a recipe for North and South:

- Add one romantic plotline borrow...more
I love this book.

The writing is nineteenth century and may not be accessible for all readers, but I find this style soothing and rhythmic. More than anything, though, the book touches the romantic inside me.

A vast majority of the story has little to do with romance. Gaskell focuses much of the text on industrialization, unionization, and the human condition. These topics are not too terribly interesting to me, and I would normally feel impatient with these passages. But I was more than willing t...more
You could call this the industrial revolution version of Pride and Prejudice: woman of lesser means meets stern, rich man; she hates him; he loves her; she rejects him then learns to appreciate him and finally falls in love with him.
However, the roles are a little more complex.

John Thornton is a wealthy cotton manufacturer in Milton, but he's worked hard to get to the top. He's a nouveau riche with worn hands. Margaret is an ex-parson's daughter, fresh from the idyllic south, transplanted to di...more
OK, I want to preface this review by saying that there is a very good chance that poor timing has caused me to not enjoy this book as much as I probably would have otherwise. I chose to read this immediately after finishing the ridiculously fast-paced and, I'll admit, addictive Twilight series, thinking that a classic romance would, as I told a friend (probably "former" after she reads this review though), get me back into the habit of reading "big people books".

Unfortunately, North and South j...more
Tea Jovanović
Prelepi klasik po kome je pre nekoliko godina snimljena nova serija koja je bozanstvena, onako kako samo Britanci umeju da urade serije i filmove po svojim klasicima... Ova autorka je kod nas uglavnom ignorisana od izdavaca ... Ali ko zna... mozda se i to promeni jednog dana... cuda su moguca... :)
Sukyna Ssi
Love it!! How can I do otherwise!! The "North and South" on papers has nothing to do with the "North and South" on screen, but they both have something in common which is their ability of making me bewitched (positively). Margaret Hale is a strong yet soft maid, whose character has gained my entire love, and Mr. Thornton is just the kind of men whose ardent love will make one melt, and whose gentlemanly behaviour will get one's respect!! The whole thing is bitter yet sweet as one would meet some...more
Christopher H.
I just finished reading North and South. I had immediately preceded my read of Gaskell's North and South with a reading of Charlotte Bronte's Shirley; as they both tend to address the issues of life and love in the north of England and the interactions and differences between the gentry, the manufacturers, and the working class. Both novels involve quite serious romantic themes between gentlewomen and generally self-made Middle-class men struggling to forge prosperous businesses in the age of in...more
Allison (The Allure of Books)
May 14, 2009 Allison (The Allure of Books) rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone who loves Pride and Prejudice
Think Pride and Prejudice is as good as it gets? Think you can't dream up a better romantic hero than Mr. Darcy?

Immediately read this, and understand why I would prefer Mr. Thornton over cranky Mr. Darcy any day of the week. He is a gentleman through and through, and his never ceasing kindnesses toward Margaret should be enough to make anyone fall in love with his character.

Also, being able to picture him as Richard Armitage (as in the BBC production of this story) is icing on the cake.

Austen is...more
The verdict is in: I read Elizabeth Gaskell's 1854 novel North and South and loved it. Loved, loved, loved it!

Not only that, it is even better than the movie, that gorgeous dramatic masterpiece. It will go down as one of my favorite books of all time. I loved Gaskell's exploration of human nature, our inherent distrust of the "other" and yet, our innate goodness. I love how she profiled the little idiosyncrasies in human nature (much in Austen fashion). And, as should be a true marker of good li...more
Tracey, librarian on strike
Eighteen hours and eighteen minutes of this felt like so much longer, somehow. And has led to a review-or-whatever-you-want-to-call-this that seems almost as long … And ranty. That might make up for some of the length. And that's one of the reasons for my rating to be three stars instead of two – along with the fact that Juliet Stevenson's performance elevated it all, say whatever else I will say, the book did stir up emotions. Though perhaps not the emotions Miss Gaskell might have intended.

Oh, how to describe! What a marvelous book! I often read "the classics" with a bit of the ol' "it's a slog, but rewarding in the end" attitude. But that was hardly the case here! Gaskell's prose is effortless, without any of the endless philosophizing or descriptions that tend to drag out other Victorian novelists. She elegantly compares the fast-paced northern industrial region with the bucolic ease of the south in this novel about a young woman trying to reconcile her love for both. Lovely, lo...more
Karen Booklover
It was a really enjoyable book , though quite heavy and very slow to read!!

To be honest I will not try to review a classic because I don't think I will be able to do it justice but was very dissapointed with the very abrupt ending and the very little we saw of thornton :/:/

Buddy read with Blacky ,Tea, Cathy and Duchess Nicole !

Mr Thornton , here I come :D
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Mar 06, 2011 JG (The Introverted Reader) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Pat and Rae
Recommended to JG (The Introverted Reader) by: Fiona
Margaret Hale is the daughter of a slightly-impoverished parson. She's been living as a companion to her wealthy cousin, but when that cousin gets married, she goes back to live with her parents. Shortly after the transition, her father announces that his beliefs have changed and he can no longer be a parson. He moves the family to Milton, a manufacturing town in the north of England. There, he works as a tutor for the wealthy men (both young and not-so-young) of the city.

Mr. Thornton, perhaps...more
Like some of my fellow reviewers, I've seen the BBC production and loved it but kinda hated Miss Hale - probably because I thought she was a snobbish, cold, b.... who in my humble opinion wasn't fit to even lick Mr. Thornton's boots - so I decided to read the book in hopes of redeeming her. Not that I got to like her but reading the book made me understand her better.

I'm partial to passionate, brooding heroes so of course, I was quite taken with Mr. Thornton - both Armitage's and the book's. I r...more
Ann Marie
I absolutely love this book. It is an interesting take on the differences between the industrial north and the rural south in the mid-nineteenth century. Mr. Thornton has become one of my favorite characters in literature. Since the (great) miniseries came out in 2004, many have compared Thornton to Austen's Darcy -- but I don't see it. Thornton is a self-made man, who can be pig-headed, but turns out to be quite progressive, forgiving and compassionate. It was heartening to read in Gaskell's le...more
This is by far, my favourite Victorian novel I’ve read to date. Tension mounts slowly and deliciously as our heroine is prevented from acting by the social constraints of her time. Misunderstandings and false assumptions abound until the reader’s patience is tenderly rewarded. Elizabeth Gaskell creates in her female protagonists a wonderful combination of sweetness and strength. I don’t know that such women exist but it sure is satisfying to immerse yourself in such a world for a few hours.
Sandy Tjan
North and South is a perfectly enjoyable Victorian novel. Which is to say that it is didactic, occasionally wordy, earnestly concerned with social issues and not entirely free from sentimentality and melodrama.

The heroine, Margaret Hale, can be a tad Mary Sue-ish at times, but she is ultimately an admirable example of resilience and single-minded perseverance in the face of constantly changing, often difficult, circumstances. It is quite astounding, and at times frustrating, that such a young gi...more

Narrated by Clare Wille

When North and South is mentioned these days, it is most likely in reference to the BBC miniseries based on the book, rather than the book itself. That’s not a bad thing, because the miniseries is superbly done. It takes a complicated story of love and life in industrial England in the mid-19th century, and makes it accessible to the modern viewer. But no matter how well done the TV adaptation is, the book is a gem worth pursuing for a patient reader, or better yet, a pati...more
Mar 25, 2013 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Capitalists, millworkers, penny-pinching northerners, parsons' daughters
An easy test of whether you'll like this book is whether you like Gaskell's contemporaries: George Eliot and Charles Dickens are the most obvious, though the plot borrows a bit of Jane Eyre and a bit of Pride and Prejudice. Gaskell writes closer to Eliot's style, but with a bit of Dickens's social consciousness. In the end, North and South ends up a romance, but the romantic obstacle course navigated by the romantic leads is not the most compelling element.

North and South features as the protago...more
Sep 18, 2007 Margaret rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: classic romantics
Elizabeth Gaskell was a friend of Charlotte Bronte and wrote at about the same time. The book was origonally published in parts in one of Dickons journals or magazines. After Charlotte Bronte read the first excerpt, she wasn't too keen on the story and thought it was just a discussion on religion. I don't remember what Bronte thought of the whole book, but the story received quite a bit of recognition when it came out.

The storyline is more intense than Pride and Prejudice, but not as dark and tw...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Classics Without ...: Adaptations 1 17 Apr 21, 2014 09:41PM  
Thornton vs Darcy 81 383 Apr 01, 2014 10:57PM  
North and South vs Pride and Prejudice 32 359 Mar 27, 2014 07:58AM  
Adaptation or What-ifs? 30 140 Jan 25, 2014 04:17PM  
Victorians!: * North and South - the miniseries 24 103 Jan 20, 2014 11:38PM  
  • Daniel Deronda
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Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, née Stevenson (29 September 1810 – 12 November 1865), often referred to simply as Mrs. Gaskell , was an English novelist and short story writer during the Victorian era. She is perhaps best known for her biography of Charlotte Brontë. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of society, including the very poor, and as such are of interest to soci...more
More about Elizabeth Gaskell...
Wives and Daughters Cranford Mary Barton The Life of Charlotte Brontë Ruth

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“I wish I could tell you how lonely I am. How cold and harsh it is here. Everywhere there is conflict and unkindness. I think God has forsaken this place. I believe I have seen hell and it's white, it's snow-white.” 376 likes
“I know you despise me; allow me to say, it is because you don't understand me.” 206 likes
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