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North and South

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  157,052 ratings  ·  8,600 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
Paperback, Oxford World's Classics, 452 pages
Published October 15th 2008 by Oxford University Press (first published 1854)
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Trudy Brasure Mr. Thornton performs a hell of a lot of self-sacrifice as well. Why doesn't he also grow a spine? I'm acting as devil's advocate here to some degree,…moreMr. Thornton performs a hell of a lot of self-sacrifice as well. Why doesn't he also grow a spine? I'm acting as devil's advocate here to some degree, but I'm curious how working oneself to the bone for the sake of others can be interpreted as self-righteous and wimpy. Thornton and Margaret are a lot alike: they both struggle to support their families.(less)
Trudy Brasure Just for the record, that's a brilliant quote from the screenplay - the BBC mini-series. It's not in the book at all, but this quote helps summarize f…moreJust for the record, that's a brilliant quote from the screenplay - the BBC mini-series. It's not in the book at all, but this quote helps summarize for the film viewers Margaret's loneliness and distraught feelings about the suffering she sees in Milton. (less)

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Average rating 4.14  · 
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Barry Pierce
It's Pride and Prejudice for Socialists. ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finally figured out why I love North & South so fucking much: John Thornton is as invested in his relationship as I am. And that means a great deal. It's very rare to get such a deep look into the emotions of the male love interest but Gaskell didn't shy away from showing us our beautiful precious son from his most vulnerable side. The way he is (in a non-creepy way) so preoccupied with Margaret and constantly talks about her, so that his mother and sister get super annoyed just by the mention ...more
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, taking
Paul Bryant
Dec 10, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
The following review contains a few plot spoilers. All right, more than a few.


Enter Margaret Hale, 19 years old, tall, and drop dead gorgeous.

Margaret : Oh dear, we have to leave our sunny Hampshire village where there are little bunnies and birdies and go to live in foul grimy Manchester where there are factories and poor air quality.

Mr Thornton : I am a mill owner and I am tall. I need educating so I am getting lessons in Greek from Margaret’s father. She is pretty tall too, so I will mar
Update June 16, 2018: I watched the BBC production this past week and it was outstanding! I highly recommend pairing the book with the movie. While I rated the book 4 stars, the entire package of paper and screen is a sure 5+ stars. The movie adds that extra bit of magic that I found didn't come across as well in the writing alone. And the acting? - superb! Yes, I did need to fan myself on several occasions - thank you Richard Armitage. And that ending.... sigh :)

About three or four years ago I
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

So about 5 years ago a friend and I were fangirling about Jane Austen generally and debating the merits of the various film adaptations of Pride and Prejudice--Colin Firth and Elizabeth Garvie (from the 1980 BBC version) FTW, by the way--and she says, "You have to watch this!" and hands me a couple of DVDs of North and South. And I say "thank you" but I'm thinking to myself, well, Patrick Swayze was pretty hot back in the day, but why on earth is she giving me DVDs of a U.S. Civil War miniserie
This third reading brought to my notice that certain opinions that I have formed, especially on Margaret's feelings and emotions, were based on a misconception, and that I have failed to give my full attention to the subtle details that were so cleverly presented. To rectify this I'm obliged to amend my original review.

North and South was my first Gaskell read. I read it after watching the BBC TV series and perhaps due to the influence of the TV series got the overall impression that this was
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A true masterpiece.

This story is now buried in my molecules. I can’t remove it even if I try, if I cut my heart open with a scalpel and dig deep, deep, deep. The blood pouring will still hum and whisper Elizabeth Gaskell’s words, will sing about Thornton’s passion, Margaret’s strength, about love and social war and loss and pain and faith.
❝ Take care. If you do not speak – I shall claim you as my own in some strange presumptuous way. Send me away at once, if I must go; – Margaret! –❞

Raised in th
"Pride and Prejudice" wouldn't have been a bad title for this comparative study of English society in the midst of the Industrial Revolution.

I must say that I was prejudiced against it before starting, and have to swallow my pride and admit I was wrong!

I thought it would be a dry copy cat version of Hard Times, as the circumstances of its publication seemed to suggest that. But never trust your prejudices - that is what I learned from reading this highly entertaining and original story, and it
Susan's Reviews
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who doesn't love to watch Richard Armitage raise his eyebrow and give you THAT LOOK!?!

I have to admit that the BBC TV series was far superior to the novel that it was based on. After watching this series, I was eager to read the book, but the story dragged on - and was even a tad melodramatic in some parts. Gaskell wrote this and several other novels in serial format. I suspect my problem with serialized Victorian novels is the same problem I gripe about today's serialized novels: TOO MUCH FILLE
If Jane Austen had met Emile Zola, it could have given North and South.
When Margaret Hale, completing her London education in a year with her cousin and aunt, returns to the South to her father, a pastor. She does not expect this good man to have lost his faith and become a tax collector in the North. One of his students, a wealthy self-made man, falls under the spell of the young girl, but he will have to face pride and prejudice. But also, its social conscience hatches in the face of the pover
Em Lost In Books
“Oh, Mr. Thornton, I am not good enough!'

'Not good enough! Don't mock my own deep feeling of unworthiness.”

It took Margaret and Mr Thornton 451 pages (my edition) to reach here and what a journey it was. Painful at times, and adorable at others.

Margaret came to the industrial town of Milton from Haleston, a village. Her father who is a parson took Mr. Thornton as his student. Soon Margaret and Mr. Thornton find themselves on the opposite side of wall which has poor people on one side and ri
A re-read that was just as brilliant the second time around!
Katie Lumsden
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a brilliant book - one of my favourites of all time. There are so many things I love about North and South, from the social criticism and exploration of industrialisation, to the beautiful love story and complex characters. I adore this one.

Just as wonderful on every reread.
Ahmad Sharabiani
North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell

North and South is a social novel published in 1854 by British writer Elizabeth Gaskell. Eighteen-year-old Margaret Hale lived for almost 10 years in London with her cousin Edith and her wealthy aunt Shaw, but when Edith marries Captain Lennox, Margaret happily returns home to the southern village of Helstone.

Margaret has refused an offer of marriage from the captain's brother Henry, an up-and-coming barrister. Her life is turned upside down when her father, t
Bionic Jean
North and South. A simple enough title, but what are its concerns? It dates from the mid-nineteenth century, and has a female author. Is it perhaps a family drama?

The protagonist is Margaret Hale, and her extended family relationships and friendships certainly drive much of the novel. There is drama and tragedy. Two of those dear to both her and us die; one is almost permanently in exile and another branch of the family: the Shaws in London, are wealthy but rather shallow. Entering the scene ar
3.5 stars

Recommended to everyone who likes classic Victorian drama whether they have seen the stunning BBC mini series or not.

N&S is about Hampshire-born (the South) Margaret Hale forced to leave her beloved home in the southern countryside as his father - a former parson - resigns his parsonage because of religious doubts and takes his family to Milton in Darkshire (the North). There Margaret makes friends with Nicholas Higgins, a poor, but honest and upright weaver and union man a
Duchess Nicole
"And yet, yo see, North and South has both met and made kind o' friend in this big smoky place."
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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 th
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
Olive Fellows (abookolive)
I think I may have loved this even more than I loved Wives & Daughters. I could cry I'm so disappointed it's over. ...more
Amalia Gkavea
“Loyalty and obedience to wisdom and justice are fine; but it is still finer to defy arbitrary power, unjustly and cruelly used--not on behalf of ourselves, but on behalf of others more helpless.”

“One word more. You look as if you thought it tainted you to be loved by me. You cannot avoid it. Nay, I, if I would, cannot cleanse you from it. But I would not, if I could. I have never loved any woman before: my life has been too busy, my thoughts too much absorbed with other things. Now I lov
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
At last!! That man and that woman understood they are meant for each other!! This novel is a real gem among the classics. I was only a little acquainted with Mrs Gaskell having read just Wives and Daughters and, I admit, it was a foolish mistake of mine to put off starting on another novel. Margaret and Mr Thornton are beautifully strong characters and they won my heart immediately. The social background, the clash between the rural and urban worlds, was most fascinating for me. Mrs Gaskell was ...more
Feb 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Merphy Napier
I loved this book. Such a cute story with compelling characters. What I loved most about it though was the ending (view spoiler) ...more
Nov 29, 2021 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
i read 25 pages of this two years ago and now just have to live in the faith that someday i will find that same energy again
Jason Koivu
Sep 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Where Austen leaves off, Gaskell picks up.

There is a great similarity in the style of these two 19th century writers. Both wield language with elegance and strength. Call it muscle-bound eloquence!

Gaskell was born during the time in which Austen set most of her books...well round about then anyway. It's hard to tell exactly when most Austen novels are set, but generally they're meant to be prior to or during the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815). Gaskell was born in 1810.

However, Gaskell's writing
Giorgia Reads
Mar 21, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-reads, classics
3.5 stars

As far as English classics go, this is one which I would maybe re-read in a few years.

I’m not sure how to review it because it has all been said before but I think a comparison with Austen and the Brontes would help since most people have at least read one book by those mentioned above. So on that note, I’d say that I didn’t like the writing quite as much as I enjoy the other classics writers I mentioned but that’s just personal preference.

I think the writing was good and catchy and
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-owned
It's always hard for me to review well known classics, because, really, what is there to say about a book that has stood the test of time for such self-evident reasons. The prose- wonderful. The characters- beautifully developed. The themes- resonant (and I particularly enjoyed Mr. Hale's conflict of conscious, though I know most people think of this as a great novel about class and rising/falling fortunes). The plot was probably the bit I liked least, but still, nothing really to complain about ...more
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had never really considered reading any Elizabeth Gaskell novels until I watched, and greatly enjoyed, the BBC adaptation of North and South.I have to say, I love both the book and the miniseries equally!

Mr Thornton has definitely acceded to the post of best literary hero in my mind (sorry, Mr Darcy!). I couldn't help but swoon over his thoughts. What a man!

One of the things I really loved about this book was how real the characters were. They had their insecurities, weaknesses and petty jeal
Nov 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

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
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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. 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 social historians as well as lovers of literature.

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“I know you despise me; allow me to say, it is because you do not understand me.” 499 likes
“One word more. You look as if you thought it tainted you to be
loved by me. You cannot avoid it. Nay, I, if I would, cannot
cleanse you from it. But I would not, if I could. I have never
loved any woman before: my life has been too busy, my thoughts
too much absorbed with other things. Now I love, and will love.
But do not be afraid of too much expression on my part.”
More quotes…