Ok guys, here is my absolute favourite book of ALL TIMES. Seriously. North & South is like a masterpiece, so briliant, so well written, so adorable and so smart and… It’s perfect. It is just perfect.
So, my first question would be – if you don’t know Elizabeth Gaskell yet – do you know Jane Austen?
If so, and if you like her, run to the closest bookshop and buy North and South! You will love it!
You know what? I will be nice, and I will even give you the link of the FULL book. Because I’m like that. You can thank the Gutenberg project for it :) Obviously, I still advise you to buy a proper paper version of the book, because paper versions are the best, they smell nice and it feels good to have it in your hands. Reading on a screen doesn’t have the same impact, nor the same warm, comforting feeling. But, anyway, here is the link: “NORTH AND SOUTH”
Now what is it about? Let me write a short summary.
The story takes place during the industrial revolution in England. The Hale family leave the South to settle down in an industrial city of the north called Milton.
It is nothing like what they know. The misery of the workers, the apparent cruelty of the ‘bosses’ and the rising capitalism are very hard to understand for Margaret, the daughter, who absolutely hate this new place she is forced to call home. Her prejudices will cause more harm than good but as she struggle to adjust to her new life, Margaret will also start to realize that maybe there is some good in this city.
In Milton, John Thorton is one of the bosses. He is sarcastic, very cold and extremely strict. But as the story goes on, we start understanding that this is only a façade and that maybe Mr Thorton is not the cruel, heartless man he seems to be.
For 425 pages, Margaret and Mr Thorton struggle to find a way to understand each other despite their prejudices and differences, to a background of strike, bosses-workers relations, industrial revolution, debts, capitalism and bankrupcy, diseases, tragedies, deaths and home life.
If that isn’t enough to convince you, here is a quote from the book:
“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 absolved with other things. Now I love and will love. But do not be afraid of too much expression on my part.”
― Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South
You might cry, get frustrated, yell at the characters, smile or maybe even laugh, but one thing is sure, you cannot remain completely indifferent to Elizabeth Gaskell’s amazing writing style.
I consider North and South to be an Autumn book. I really think it suits the November-like atmosphere and I love reading it while drinking a hot cup of mocca and petting my cat. Well, I don’t have my cat with me this year, but I do have Mocca, and I do have my book, so I am definitely going to read it again in a few weeks, when I finish all the essay writing I have to do for my classes.
I hope you guys will enjoy reading it as well, and please do tell me if you liked it! Also, if you read it already, I’m interested in your opinion as well!