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Books Read in 2016: ‘North and South’ by Elizabeth Gaskell (3 stars)

Friday, August 12, 2016

North & South by Elizabeth GaskellNorth and South
by Elizabeth Gaskell
My rating: 3 stars

Book Summary:
North and South depicts a young woman discovering herself, in a nuanced portrayal of what divides people, and what brings them together.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s compassionate, richly dramatic novel features one of the most original and fully-rounded female characters in Victorian fiction, Margaret Hale. It shows how, forced to move from the country to an industrial town, she develops a passionate sense of social justice, and a turbulent relationship with mill-owner John Thornton.

My GR Status Update(s):
06/10 . . .marked as: currently-reading

06/17 . . .13.0% Instead of a quiet, middle-aged clergyman, a young lady came forward with frank dignity . . . Her dress was very plain: . . . a dark silk gown, without any trimming or flounce; a large Indian shawl, which hung about her in long, heavy folds, and which she wore as an empress wears her drapery. . . . the simple, straight, unabashed look which showed that his being there was of no concern to the beautiful countenance…


06/19 . . .20.0% This scene. –>

06/22 . . .32.0% “Mother,” said he, stopping and bravely speaking out the truth, “I wish you would like Miss Hale.” | “Why?” asked she, startled by his earnest yet tender manner. “You’re never thinking of marrying her?—a girl without a penny.” | “She would never have me,” said he…

06/23 . . .41.0% “Mother–Mother!” cried he; “come down–they are gone, and Miss Hale is hurt!” He bore her into the dining room, and laid her on the sofa there… looking on her pure white face, the sense of what she was to him came upon him so keenly that he spoke it out in his pain: “Oh, my Margaret—my Margaret! No one can tell what you are to me! Dead–cold as you lie there, you are the only woman I ever loved! …”

06/24 . . .49.0% Death of Bessy Higgins. The character of Nicholas Higgins is much more rough/drunk/violent in the book than how he was written (and portrayed by Brendan Coyle) in the 2004 miniseries.

06/27 . . .marked as: read

My Review:
I usually enjoy the book more than the movie, but in this case I much prefer the miniseries to the book. Not only did the film adaptation manage to cut out a lot of info-dumps about the mills and the strike, it also managed to make Margaret a much more likable character.

Time to watch the film version!

North & South (Elizabeth Gaskell) Book Review |

My rating matrix:
5 STARS = one of the best I’ve ever read
4 STARS = a great read, highly recommended
3 STARS = it was okay
2 STARS = I didn’t enjoy it all that much, not recommended
1 STAR = DNF (did not finish)

View all my reviews on Goodreads

  1. Friday, August 12, 2016 8:43 am

    Is it just me, or does that guy on the book cover look kind of like Matthew McConaughey?


  2. Sylvia M. permalink
    Friday, August 12, 2016 5:36 pm

    I love the book (have read it several times) and the 2004 miniseries. Have you seen the 1975 version with Patrick Stewart and Rosalind Shanks? My sister and I have both seen it a couple of times and really enjoy it as well. I find it to be closer to the novel than the 2004 version, but it definitely suffers from poor production values; everything is in the studio. Frederik Hale in the 1975 version is played by Tim Pigott-Smith, Rev. Hale in the 2004 version! Patrick Stewart plays John Thornton in a more upbeat, blunt, cheerful style. Margaret’s hair does have a 1970’s look most of the time!



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