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Jaylia3

Reflections

Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.

North and South (Penguin Popular Classics)

North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell Set in the 1850s, Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South is a Pride and Prejudice themed story of the industrial age of Victorian England. When Margaret Hale’s father loses his faith but not his principles, he resigns from his position as the church minister of a small country village in the south of England because he feels strongly that it’s wrong to simply go through the motions. He finds work as a teacher in the northern industrial city of Milton, but the transition from pastoral to urban living is hard on himself, his invalid wife and his daughter Margaret, a young woman who is every bit as appealing, intelligent, and determined as Elizabeth Bennet, though lacking her sense of humor. Margaret makes the best she can of their new situation, striving to make life easier for her parents while rising to the challenges of their changed circumstances. When she first meets factory owner John Thornton, however, she is guilty of prejudice. She looks down on Thorton because of his haughty demeanor and his involvement in trade, a profession she believes is coarse and materialistic, but that gradually changes as she learns more about him, and about the manners and customs of the north. As in Pride and Prejudice, there's a badly botched marriage proposal, both characters gradually have a positive effect on each other, and the resolution, while hurried, is everything an Austen-lover would want. There is more social commentary than in Austen’s novels, especially regarding the conditions of factory work and the growing strength of unions, but Gaskell weaves it all so well into the plot and writes so engagingly that it adds to, rather than detracting, from her story.