Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Gaskell, Elizabeth "North and South"


Gaskell, Elizabeth "North and South" - 1854/55

If you've read all of Jane Austen's novels and most of those by the Brontë sisters, you must be looking for other authors. May I suggest Elizabeth Gaskell?

The author is slightly younger than Ms. Austen but was personally known to Charlotte Brontë, so a contemporary of the writing sisters. She was married to a minister herself, so another thing they had in common.

In this novel, Elizabeth Gaskell tells the story of Margaret Hale whose father leaves the ministry because he has doubts about his belief. They move from the South of England to a place in the North, from a village to a town, a lot of things change for Margaret Hale.

Whereas Jane Austen has mainly written about people of her own society, Elizabeth Gaskell tells about all the different classes, from poor to rich, from the working to the leading people.

Her style is also a lot more modern than most of the novels by Jane Austen or the Brontës, we have moved into the Victorian era. So, even if you dislike Jane Austen, you might find Elizabeth Gaskell a little easier as an introduction - and then maybe move on to JA.

In any case, her characters are real and believable. They come alive on the pages. You rejoice and fear with them. But also the story itself, the development at the time, both social as well as political, it is all highly interesting.

Certainly one of the classics I will read again.

From the back cover: "Mrs Gaskell's finest social novel is also the powerfully moving story of the developing relationship between southern-born Margaret Hale and John Thornton, the young northern mill-owner.
Margaret is compelled to move from Helstone, her beloved childhood home in the New Forest, to Darkshire in the industrial north when her father resigns his parsonage owing to religious doubt Mrs Gaskell's finest social novel is also the powerfully moving story of the developing relationship between southern-born Margaret Hale and John Thornton, the young northern mill-owner.
Margaret is compelled to move from Helstone, her beloved childhood home in the New Forest, to Darkshire in the industrial north when her father resigns his parsonage owing to religious doubts.
When she first encounters John Thornton, her father's pupil and a man in favour of the power of master over worker, she finds their views in conflict. But industrial rebellion and family tragedy cause Margaret to learn the realities of urban life and Thornton to learn humanity. Only then can a mutual understanding lead to the possibility of enduring love."

2 comments:

  1. This one has been on my TBR list for a while, so off to Amazon I'll go.

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    1. It was on mine for ages, I was so happy to read it at last. You're like me, I have to get a copy myself rather than going to the library, unless it's a book I know I won't be reading again. LOL

      Have a good day,
      Marianne

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