After watching the mini-series several times on Netflix, I already knew I was in love with this story. I thought I could see every nuance and feeling,After watching the mini-series several times on Netflix, I already knew I was in love with this story. I thought I could see every nuance and feeling, but I was pleasantly surprised to see this expanded farther than I ever could have imagined in the book.
While I think I would have enjoyed the story without the notes from the Penguin Classics essay, I found the experience was much better with the end-notes and introduction essay. I am by no means an expert on British Victorian culture, though I have always been fascinated by it, so the reading of this story was academically enlightening as well as aesthetically romantic. I never would have quite understood exactly why Margaret was so upset by marriage proposals, the intricacies of mill strikes, or contemporary political references without the notes - so I do highly recommend this edition.
There are aspects of Elizabeth Gaskell's writing that would not be warmly accepted from a modern writer, but which I found rather helpful in understanding the story. In particular, she will jump to another character's point of view with little warning, but I found it fairly easy to understand and I thought she did it quite intuitively - in some way, it always enhanced that part of the plot.
Comparisons to Pride and Prejudice are frequent, and while I make them frequently myself, I feel I should point out one difference: The hero of our novel, one Mr. John Thornton, never really regrets his love of Margaret. At times he does hate her, and even himself, but he is prepared to spend the rest of his life loving her. *sigh* Isn't it interesting how that is so romantic in books, but more than a little ridiculous in real life? Though it helps that we know there will be a happy ending ;)
Anyhow, this has become an instant favourite, and I'm quite certain it will remain one for some time. I absolutely recommend it, and I wish you happy, happy reading!...more