Readalongs with Ange discussion

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June - North and South > North and South Book Discussion

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message 1: by Ange (new)

Ange | 54 comments Mod
Here we can discuss our thoughts about North and South


message 2: by Ange (new)

Ange | 54 comments Mod
So far I have read the first 4 chapters and I'm loving it so much more already than I did the first time around. I think it may be because I know the characters already and so can already be fully immersed in the story.
I really like Henry Lennox, and felt bad for him when Margaret turned him down. But what kind of story would it be if she accepted this proposal? A very different one I guess.
I love how level-headed Margaret is, even upon hearing that her life is about to change.

What are your first impressions of Margaret? How are you finding the writing style? Easy to get into? Or is it harder to get a grasp on?


message 3: by Umut (new)

Umut (umutreads) Hi Ange and All! I'm really enjoying the story too. Same as you I read 4 chapters. I haven't read this book, but it already reminded me Jane Eyre with a simpler writing style. It grabbed my attention from the beginning. Margaret is definitely my type of gal :) I also felt bad for poor Henry, but I didn't lose hope, LOL!


message 4: by Charla (new)

Charla Oppenlander (c_oppenlander) | 6 comments Hello! I really like the book so far. I think this is my first Elizabeth Gaskell. Why would Margaret agree to tell her mother that they are leaving Helstone for her father? I know it's still early in the story, but I hope she finds some gumption soon!


message 5: by Rhonda (last edited Jun 12, 2018 03:56PM) (new)

Rhonda Sloan (lambofhisflock) | 5 comments I admire Margaret. I see her as stronger for having filled the obligations of the situation, strength beyond her years. I know how I struggled to stand into the gap when my dad was dying and my mother couldn't cope and I see much of the same quiet resolute in doing what needs to be done in Margaret, no matter how difficult. I find myself mourning with her the loss of her home and the countryside and people she so loved... I loved her parsonage home from even before we went there solely from Margaret's recollections. And of course, I feel for Mr Lennox as he seems so sweet and taken with Margaret. The sketching scene particularly enamored me to him. And I love the writing style although my husband does not seem to appreciate me reading sections to him.. ;)


message 6: by Mopple (new)

Mopple | 8 comments I'm loving margaret!! she is just the kind of direct, smart and strong protagonist I love reading about!
The writing style i'm liking, not as difficult of some other books like wuthering heights!


message 7: by Bokcamilla (new)

Bokcamilla | 1 comments English are not my first language, so I was worring about to read it in english, but the writing style is not difficult at all. But I have some troubble with the two first chapters, but now when I hade read five chapters I only enjoying to read about Margaret.


message 8: by Jill (last edited Jun 28, 2018 07:31AM) (new)

Jill (jillglove) | 27 comments So finished the first 6 chapters! It took me awhile to get used to the writing style - very wordy with quite the run-on sentence.

So far my only impression is that Margaret has the most weak and cowardly parents! Not to mention selfish. Had either one thought about her? If have to say thst she is certainly rising to the occasion, seeing turmoil and chaos her parents have thrust upon her.


message 9: by Kinga (last edited Jun 13, 2018 01:28AM) (new)

Kinga I've read the first 8 chapters and I'm loving the book so far. The writing style was very easy for me to get into and it has such a pleasant flow I want to read more than just two chapters per day. I dare say Margaret is my kind of heroine. She may dislike her situation, but she rises to the occasion and does what needs to be done the best she can. I found the northern dialect writing a bit confusing as it's such a change, but then I remembered how myself I moved into northern England and had problems in the beginning with understanding of the dialect.


Meghan the Story Girl (meghanthestorygirl) I'm so enjoying this reread with the depth of detail at the beginning. I love how we get inside each of the characters' heads - Margaret's strength that can come across as rudeness, Mr. Hale's tender heart and conscience that stray into cowardliness, and Dixon's brash complaints.


message 11: by Umut (new)

Umut (umutreads) I finished Chapter 10 today, and I still enjoy it very much. It's really interesting to see the differences between South and North of England at that time. I love Margaret and her strength, but a little annoyed with her parents who could help a little more to pull her spirits up a bit and carry the weight. I'm really curious how things will evolve between her and Mr. Thornton :)


message 12: by Jill (last edited Jun 28, 2018 07:32AM) (new)

Jill (jillglove) | 27 comments So I’m thorough 15 chapters now and the story and social commentary is really picking up. Enjoying it more now that I think I have the llingusirics figured out, although I’m sure I’m missing a few things.

How combersome were their dialogues! I’d be exhausted if I had to speak that way all the time.


message 13: by Mopple (new)

Mopple | 8 comments they certainly were!
me too..i'm flying through it! though paired with the bbc show which has a LOT of differences to the bookit's only loosely based-however, i needed a visual for the characters really as my concentration on names was waning x


message 14: by Amy (Zoe Beck) (new)

Amy (Zoe Beck) | 4 comments I’m s little behind on the reading schedule but I just read where Margaret and Mr Thornton first meet. As I’ve never read this or watched an adaptation, I was happy at my first reading of this. I’m so excited to read on.


message 15: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 1 comments I am enjoying this novel very much. I am having a difficult time imagining how Margaret looks. Earlier in the novel, Haskell says that she is not pretty, but later in the novel, other characters remark upon her beauty. I think that her inner character is most beautiful and, perhaps, as her character grows during the story, her outward appearance improves, or glows. What do you think?


message 16: by Ange (new)

Ange | 54 comments Mod
Hi everyone.

I made it through to chapter 15 today and loving it so much. I'm finding myself wanting to continue once I've finished the chapters for the day. But I'm holding back :)

I also love Margaret's strength. She also has such a kind nature too. She seems to carry all the weight of her family's struggles on her shoulders but doesn't seem to let that get her down.

How does everyone feel about her mother (Mrs Hale)? I can see that she has faced a few hardships in life (including not being able to see her son) but she just seems so weak and unable to handle any sort of change or hardship. Mr Hale doesn't seem to be doing well either and I felt quite sorry for Margaret when he refused to let her kiss him.

I love Mr Thornton. It's interesting how he perceives Margaret. I do not like Mrs Thornton at all, she seems very snobby. What does everyone think of Mr Thornton so far? And his mother?

The writing is fantastic and so engaging.


message 17: by Ange (new)

Ange | 54 comments Mod
Bthrifty wrote: "I am enjoying this novel very much. I am having a difficult time imagining how Margaret looks. Earlier in the novel, Haskell says that she is not pretty, but later in the novel, other characters re..."

I agree. But also I feel like people don't see her beautiful character when they first meet her. But then once they get to know her, her beauty then really shines through.


message 18: by Ange (new)

Ange | 54 comments Mod
Mopple wrote: "they certainly were!
me too..i'm flying through it! though paired with the bbc show which has a LOT of differences to the bookit's only loosely based-however, i needed a visual for the characters r..."


I love the BBC adaptation and think its a great way to keep up with all the characters.


message 19: by Ange (new)

Ange | 54 comments Mod
Jill wrote: "So I’m thorough 15 chapters now and the story and social commentary are really picking up. Enjoying it more now that I think I have the llingusirics figured out, although I’m sure I’m missing a few..."

I agree! I would have hated to always have to speak this way. I find it so entertaining though!


message 20: by Mopple (new)

Mopple | 8 comments I find it strange that the parents are not at all concerned with margaret's prospects-they don't discuss it, seem worried, nothing.
Mrs Hale seem utterly self absorbed-with no single thought on Margarets well being, how she is settling in, nothing, it is all Margaret caring.
Also i find it strange that she is attracted to Mr thornton but says she does not like him personally. she does not seem the lying type.
Also she does not explain why she is too "busy" to visit her friend-doing what? she has no job-they now have two servants.
And why does her mum improve in condition from having an extra servant? It is notlike she does anything physical-and i struggle to understand how her health can deteriorate just from less fancy food and servants-other than the social aspect perhaps.
at least her mother cares enough to not burdon Margaret with her health worries.
Mrs Hale also clearly wants to see her son again and talk to him so who is stopping her?herself?Mr Hale?
As for Mrs Thornton-eurgh, I think she is just jealous of Mr Thornton's attraction to the Hale family.
Also I find it odd that is is depicted that he can't pay them more-when clearly their lifestyle shows they are able to-and somehow i'm supposed to feel sorry for him but I don't-the mills were basically poor houses while the fat got rich,no question. I am certain it is a matter of wills andNOT that he could not at least pay them a smidgeon more.


message 21: by Caroline (new)

Caroline | 1 comments I’m throughly absorbed by this book, I confess that I’m reading ahead of the schedule. Loving the various female characters: Margaret so strong willed; I sympathize with Bessy and her illness, while Mrs Hales annoys me cause she comes off as self absorbed and always seeking to be the center of attention;
Mrs Thornton maybe the nightmare of a mother in law being very possessive of her son yet some how I am loving her frankness.


message 22: by Jill (last edited Jun 28, 2018 07:32AM) (new)

Jill (jillglove) | 27 comments Well I can’t stop reading this book! I’m on chapter 25 with no intent on putting it aside for the other 4 books I’m in the middle of!

Mrs Thornton is quite something! Success is only noble if one earns it; education is a frivolity, and hard work is the only thing that matters. She is certainly proud of her son as it it reflects on her, but doesn’t apply her high standards of usefulness and work ethic upon her daughter who only purpose in life seems to be whining and laziness. Much harder on Margaret, lest she steal her son from her.


message 23: by Mopple (new)

Mopple | 8 comments I'm hoping that Margaret does not "forget" her earlier reservations of Mr Thornton..as somehow she seems to be talking about him with compliment as if she has forgotten what she knew of his character before.


message 24: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda Sloan (lambofhisflock) | 5 comments I am loving the political, philosophical, and religious elements being brought to light and discussed in the book. It brings it from the dry essays on these matters that I love to read and debate to living examples fleshed out with stories and characters. So often in books, one side is played out in a simplified, heavy handed way, but here, at least so far, Gaskell is displaying many sides of these complicated issues in real and compelling ways.


message 25: by Umut (new)

Umut (umutreads) What I love most about this book is learning about the differences about north and south of England. I'm very curious about Mr. Thornton, how he's going to approach Margaret. But, I'm a bit annoyed with Margaret's father who's not taking charge of anything, leaving poor girl to deal with most issues.
Anyway, I'm really enjoying it. But, staying loyal to the schedule ;)


message 26: by Mopple (new)

Mopple | 8 comments Having lived in both areas, it is insane how that mentality and some of the physical environmental attributes are still true today...
Times have moved on, but the hardness of life up north is still true..
As is the environmental aspects.
Also, i now feel I can understand Mrs Hale a little better.
I am intrigued to how a romance will develop considering Margaret witnessed Mr thornton's hardness and treatment of his workers.
I am not sure why such a strong woman is "faint" at the sheer discussion of Mr Thornton saying what a greatman everyone thinks he is-why is she belying her own feelings so much-to respect her father who is his friend? I am hoping she does stay strong in her views as this is a departure from her previous musings and I don't like to think of her as fake in any way-no matter how much she respects her dad.
Also, how crap are the doctors?? of course smoke would affect things!!


message 27: by Kinga (new)

Kinga As the more I read the more I realise I'm a one book at a time person (two is a max if in different languages) I decided to read more than just two chapters t a time. Currently I read up to chapter 30, which is a bit over half way through and which I think gives me enough insight to contribute to the discussion.
1. Political/working situation discussion
I like how relationship between masters and "hands" are dealt with. Margaret in this instance works as a mediator, as someone not from North England she can and does asks questions which otherwise would be thought stupid or impertiment. Getting both sides of the story also allows a reader to compare it to the current situation in any industry and location in the world where she/he resides. It's still very current and important, and I feel always will be until we are in the world fully automated by machines, discussion topic and seeing historical events put into personal, though fictionalised, story makes it so more compelling. I thought before reading the novel that this theme would make it dry, but now I'm convinced that it had contributed to make it timeless.
2. Religion
Religion is a part of it, even though it's been to a back-burner by Mr Hale and is brought up by Bessy. It's an interesting clash between reality, class and religion and how everyone has their favourite passages of the Bible and slightly different version of God as seen by conversation between Mr Hale and Mr Higgins.

I find the characters and their story arcs compelling, but will withhold from discussing them until I know more of the story and will be able to set them against the full plot. At this point I'm interested how people react to changes of circumstances beyond their reach, like hiring Irishmen as hands in factories, which says to me that I consider them fully fleshed out characters who could live outside the novel.


message 28: by Noël (new)

Noël (the_book_rook) | 6 comments I'm really enjoying this so far. Margaret is fascinating. I'm also enjoying that there are funny moments. I don't want to spoil anyone, but Margaret says something to herself that made me laugh out loud about proposals. Glad I joined this read along!


message 29: by Mopple (new)

Mopple | 8 comments i'm also further along. what is shocking me is the sadness of the tale so far-margaret really needs some serious luck xxx


message 30: by Jill (last edited Jun 28, 2018 07:33AM) (new)

Jill (jillglove) | 27 comments I’m enjoying this book so much I couldn’t put it down then I found I couldn't participate in the discussion because I was afraid I was going to give away too much. All I have to say this point is that I don’t really get moved to tears very much in a book, but I did in this one.

I’m still a little bit ahead of schedule but I can’t help myself and I just have to keep reading!


message 31: by Amy (Zoe Beck) (new)

Amy (Zoe Beck) | 4 comments Oops, I finished the book ahead of schedule. Without giving anything away, I loved this book!


message 32: by Jill (new)

Jill (jillglove) | 27 comments Am I the only one who notices that in the south there are many comments to about Margaret’s looks, but the North it’s more about her character.


message 33: by Jill (last edited Jun 25, 2018 09:39PM) (new)

Jill (jillglove) | 27 comments Amy wrote: "Oops, I finished the book ahead of schedule. Without giving anything away, I loved this book!"


I only have a few chapters left and I feel the same way. I have now ordered 3 more Glaskell books!


message 34: by Kinga (new)

Kinga I loved the book so much that I was considering rereading it straight away. It had everything for me, the characters, tears of sadness and joy, discussion of society, developments, politics and religion. I agree that characters from south concentrate more on the appearance and status rather than character.
I started reading the book as a library copy, but then after 100 pages or so ordered my own copy. I had to check as well I could get all the other books by Gaskell in this matching editions. Call me weird.


message 35: by Jill (last edited Jun 28, 2018 07:54AM) (new)

Jill (jillglove) | 27 comments Kinga wrote: "I loved the book so much that I was considering rereading it straight away. It had everything for me, the characters, tears of sadness and joy, discussion of society, developments, politics and rel..."

I did the same thing! I ordered Cranford and Wives and Daughters in the Penguin English library editions! They all match!


message 36: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda Sloan (lambofhisflock) | 5 comments Agreed... finished last night and it is already on my wishlist to own. :) I finished Cranford earlier this year and found it delightful but not nearly so wonderful as this one. I read Wives and Daughters so many years ago and enjoyed it thoroughly but now MUST re-read it soon.


message 37: by Charla (new)

Charla Oppenlander (c_oppenlander) | 6 comments Finished! Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would like to read more Gaskell. The end was so abrupt! Did it feel rushed to anyone else?


message 38: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda Sloan (lambofhisflock) | 5 comments Yes, Charla.. that is exactly how I felt. The end was too sudden and jarring. I was left wanting more. I probably would have even with a different ending as I was thoroughly enjoying the world and characters but I really wanted another couple of chapters in this one.


message 39: by Amy (Zoe Beck) (new)

Amy (Zoe Beck) | 4 comments The end was abrupt, but I still loved it. Sure, I’d love to see more but I also thought it ended well. I mean I just hugged the book afterwards. I loved Margaret and John. I’m so glad I read this and need to read some of the other books of hers I’ve bought. (Though mine are all used so none of the copies match)


message 40: by Mopple (new)

Mopple | 8 comments Yes i agree there was no "doing" of anything in the south-she seemed an object to admire rather than the helpful considerate lady she was up north who did her own thing. Her aunt was very much controlling of things and attempting to matchmake ...eurgh.
It was soooo sooo sad I never expected it to be so tragic, I can't imagine what she must have felt like. I really really enjoyed the book and also want to read more Gaskell, I read a lot with audiobook and at times that was nuts-the british speakers were fine, and even one texan speaker was not too bad, but the hispanic speaker i couldbarely understand!
I really felt like it stopped at a cliff face-the whole book was meanderings then suddenly it was just a shut door.
MOst confusing.
I expected , as is her style for her to write about margaret's future, her plans, and her reflections on where she decides to be in the end and why, as I feel the north she was able to be herself so much more. Loved the book but did not understand why the write strayed from their style , unless as a seriel story she was told to finish it soon or in one chapter. shame.
she had gone through so much, so i wanted closure that she would be ok from now on x


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