North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (Spoilers)

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Ariza
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North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (Spoilers)

Post by Ariza » 13 Jun 2015, 16:28

I read North and South this week and I had the overwhelming urge to discuss it with fellow fans. I'm new to this website and I was really surprised to see that it hasn't been discussed yet. At least, not anywhere that I could find. Feel free to tell me if I'm wrong, I'd really love to see what other readers have to say about it.

For now I'll just tell you about my experience. I thought it was a brilliant novel. The characters are extremely well-written with just the right amount of flaws. I found both Margaret and Thornton very easy to relate to. I've always been a fan of the classics but I thought North and South gave a unique point of view in showing us at least a small insight into the lives of the working class of nineteenth-century Britain.

Obviously, I rooted for Margaret and Thornton throughout the story, even when he was being impossible and she was being a bit prissy.

My favourite character was Nicolas Higgins. He is just a very likable character with his pride and his wisdom and his keen eye for the things that happened around him. Besides his behaviour during the strike and the way he took in Boucher's children, my favourite thing about Higgins is how he sort of threw out that fact about Frederick being Margaret's brother to Thornton, as if he had a suspicion and he thought he'd just have a go at fixing the problem.

Obviously, I was a bit taken aback by how abruptly the book ended. As I understood there were external factors that forced Gaskell to hurry the end. Still, I would've liked to see an ending worthy of Thornton and Margaret's relationship.

One thing that I did wonder about and that I can't find an answer for anywhere is what Mrs Hale died of. I would like to throw around a few ideas on that point.

All in all, I thought the book was enchanting. It has joined a certain pile of books of mine that I wish I could forget just for the pleasure of discovering them again.

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Post by MaySage » 20 Jun 2015, 11:17

I'm with you there: I absolutely love North and South - more than some Jane Austen!
Have you watched the BBC serie?

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Post by blu » 20 Jun 2015, 12:26

I've watched the BBC series and read the book, and enjoyed both thoroughly. I really liked the book, especially the social commentary on the issues they faced in that time period. And as much as I love Auste, Gaskell writes with a lot more gravity and realism versus Austen's more lighthearted and comedic approach. I do remember having a few problems with the book which unfortunately escape my mind at the moment. The BBC series was also really great and I loved the drama and life it brought to the story.

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Ariza
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Post by Ariza » 20 Jun 2015, 12:32

MaySage wrote:I'm with you there: I absolutely love North and South - more than some Jane Austen!
Have you watched the BBC serie?
Unfortunately not, but I heard it's really good. I've been having some trouble buying it, but it's on the list! I definitely think that the characters have more depth than some Austen characters. They seem a lot more realistic, with situations that we can relate to more than the quiet country life we see in all of Austen's novels.

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Post by blu » 20 Jun 2015, 12:37

Ariza wrote:
MaySage wrote:I'm with you there: I absolutely love North and South - more than some Jane Austen!
Have you watched the BBC serie?
Unfortunately not, but I heard it's really good. I've been having some trouble buying it, but it's on the list.
It is on Netflix if you have it. I'd definitely suggest getting to it soon, it really is excellent.

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Post by MarianMarion » 02 Jul 2015, 12:06

This might actually be my favorite book these days. I adore it so much for not only the subtle romance, but for so much social and political plot. It's definitely time for me to reread it, and then go on to read some more of her works. I originally read it after watching the BBC series on Netflix (also a personal favorite of mine). And I agree, the characters are just so well done!

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Post by Hans08 » 14 Dec 2015, 00:58

Stumbled upon a fanfiction of this last year and I loved it, so I watched the BBC series then bought the book at some Christmas sale. But I only had the time to read it the other day. It was as good as I expected save for the last part. I think it was rushed. It would have been great if the reunion was dragged more beautifully. I mean, I believe the author owe it to us readers who have been patiently reading the five hundred page book for its happy ending. Was really disappointed with that one, but other than that, this is definitely an almost twin version of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
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Post by lorcan111 » 09 Jan 2016, 11:42

I've read all of gaskells books (by the way a wonderful author) but this was my favourite of them. I love her depiction of the stresses and strains of the industrial revolution.

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Post by Teresa50 » 21 Jan 2016, 15:54

I was surprised by how much I liked this book. I read it because it was a book club read and might not have bothered otherwise. I faced it with trepidation, not expecting to enjoy it at all and then found I could not put it down. Mrs Gaskell is fast becoming my favourite Victorian author.

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Post by Yafa1822 » 11 Feb 2016, 10:33

I read this book like 4 times after watching the BBC series. I think I need to read it again (for good measure, of course!). Mr. Thornton is my ultimate choice for a fictional love interest! I also have a crush on Richard Armitage thanks to the BBC series, just saying. So, if you watch it after reading, you've been warned. He's mighty crushable (is that even a word?).
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Post by BookBuffoonery » 05 Aug 2016, 23:27

I found the BBC series before I had even heard of the book. I absolutely loved the story and how a romantic story is made complex by putting it in the context of the Industrial Revolution. Now I need to get my hands on the book now so I can see how it compares to the TV series!

-- 05 Aug 2016, 23:28 --
Yafa1822 wrote:I also have a crush on Richard Armitage thanks to the BBC series, just saying. So, if you watch it after reading, you've been warned. He's mighty crushable (is that even a word?).
The kissing scene at the end--to die for! I think it's the best romantic kiss I've seen on the screen, and there's nothing improper about it.
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Post by Reuben 92 » 04 Sep 2017, 18:13

I really loved this book, and how it explored themes of class and gender. Gaskell was concerned with problems in Victorian society and the tensions she observed make for a really interesting, layered read. I'll have to check out the BBC series!
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Post by Angela Stripes » 08 Sep 2017, 17:35

One of my favorite elements that complicates the story is simple social awkwardness. In the moment, you have no idea you're offending someone, and right after you wish you could change it, but... there's nothing you can do. If only every social blunder would result in an extremely cute love-story!

But I appreciate Thornton's constancy throughout the novel. He sticks to his convictions, maybe a little too blindly, but it eventually works out for the couple as Margret's true character surfaces.
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Post by NSehra » 28 Jun 2018, 14:53

I was looking forward to this topic!
I absolutely loved North and South. It has so many aspects to it. This story has everything in the correct amount. It has the pain of leaving the place you love so much, unfamiliarity and awkwardness, the struggles of the working class, the stress of leader who wants to do good by them, love, sparks and finally acceptance.
I love to read classics which has a strong female lead who saves the day. And I love the guys who fall for such women.

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