Book Review: North and South

North and SouthNorth and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dear North and South

Ah, sweet sweet book – why did I postpone reading you for so long! For 10 days you remained unread on my shelf, stuck at a mere 12% progress. I admit your length daunted me, but it was more apprehension than anything else. I had loved the TV adaptation, and I feared you would fall short.

And you did not.

I’m so happy, so giddy, that I persevered and finished you today. You’re everything I adore in period books. I love your version of Thornton, Margaret, Mrs Thornton, Mrs Hale so so much better – and that’s really saying something because I adored the TV characters. Though maybe the Higgins character was better shown on-screen – in my opinion at least. Every single character in the book was so lovingly portrayed, so lifelike, I’m still basking in the afterglow.

North and South is a book to be savoured. Being originally a serialised novel, it is slow-paced, but poignant in it’s every sentence. The slow pace itself gives us the opportunity to get familiar with the characters, and cheer on as they grow and mature. We fall in love with them, and enjoy their triumphs, grieve at their loss. We root for them to find happiness, to fall in love, to acknowledge that love.

BBC TV Series: North and South (2004)

BBC TV Series: North and South (2004)

John Thornton and Margaret Hale – behold one of the most passionate couples in the Literary world. It’s a shame they aren’t household names like Elizabeth Bennet and Darcy; I’m grateful to the North and South TV series that introduced this story to me. The ending was rushed a bit – from what I gather, I have the great Mr Charles Dickens (Author Elizabeth Gaskell’s mentor) is to be blamed for it. But this book is worth every page, and I can guarantee Jane Austen fans that they can find an author to obsess over after this book. I have, to be sure.

Verdict: Definitely a 5 star book 🙂

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9 thoughts on “Book Review: North and South

  1. So glad you loved it! It’s my favorite novel. And it IS a shame Margaret and John aren’t as well known as Jane and Rochester, Lizzy and Darcy. I loved Gaskell’s in-depth character development and her passionate prose. She really understands the human condition and how inter-conncected we all really are.

    • Thanks, Trudy, for taking the time to read this review and then commenting! 😀 I agree – Gaskell’s grasp of human emotions and handling of multiple characters was splendid. I’m thinking of reading another of her books, or at least something similar… Can you recommend anything? 🙂

      • Mary Barton has a similar indistrial setting to N&S, and the love story is also anguished and drawn out with some pretty dramatic twists and turns. It’s not as polished as N&S, but the emotions are potent and the message for unity among people is there. It’s going to be made into a BBC production! Cranford is completely different in pace and plot. I found it boring. I have yet to read Wives & Daughters. I liked the adaptation.

  2. I read Wives and Daughters and absolutely loved it! It’s a close second to N&S. A long read, but I savored the experience of immersing myself in the world and characters that Gaskell creates. Loved it. Have you read or seen the adaptation of W&D?

    • No I haven’t! Wives and Daughters (the series) is on my next-to-watch period drama list; I was just recenlty re-watching Emma and Pride and Prejudice to get into the mood… is it really that good?
      Gaskell creates some pretty amazing characters, I agree – Crawford however left me a bit… well, bewildered 😀

      • I tried to read Cranford, and never finished. It wasn’t capturing my interest. I didn’t really love the mini-series either. Don’t set your expectations too high, or W&D may disappoint. But I found it to be a very enjoyable read and a good mini-series. The book is slow-paced but is meant to draw you into the details of the characters’ lives. I like books that aren’t all plot-driven, but allow you to really get to know the people in the story. Oh, and I love a good romance thrown in to elaborate upon the themes of the book. 🙂

      • I would like to recommend Lisa Kleypas’s Sugar Daddy. It’s not a period/historical novel, and is slow, but there is a magnetic charm about it I can never resist. I really think you would like it!

      • I’ve been meaning to try Lisa Kleypas. I’ve heard raves about some of her books before. Thanks!

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