Thursday, June 2, 2016

North & South: {By Elizabeth Gaskell}

Let me just start off by saying that North & South was one of the only books I have ever read that I started over again from the beginning as soon as I finished it. You know why? Because I didn't want to see the story end. I wanted it to go on forever and ever. It was devastating when I finally read the last page and it hurt me. Like, it physically hurt my brain to stop reading it. 

*slams fist on table* THAT IS NOT SNOW

North & South has been one of the only Period Dramas I have read that didn't feel like a Period Drama when I read it.Whenever I have read Dickens, Austen, or any other author similar to those, I can always tell I'm reading a 'classic' because of the descriptions, the descriptions, and oh yes, the descriptions. I was pleased to find that in North & South, there weren't a lot of those.

 The only parts that bored me just a little bit was when Mr. Thornton got to talking about strikes, or the trade, or something like that. I don't know, he just talked too much over my head sometimes. :) However, he is definitely NOT a boring sort of character. In fact, he's very deep. Him and Margaret both. Gaskell does such a tremendous job weaving the character's deep thoughts and passionate feelings throughout the story as they guide the character's actions and words.
The best part about those sections was that it didn't feel like you were reading "descriptions". They were just there, and they were so good. I drank those parts up. I really did.

The book was so much better than the film series. But, I don't really like to say 'better', as if I were degrading the series, because the film series isn't bad like that at all. In fact, it's amazing. I only mean that both the series and the book are so utterly enjoyable and deep and wonderful to experience. But if I absolutely HAD to choose which one is just a little better than the other, I would have to say that the book holds a higher place in my affections.

By reading the book, I was grateful to be able to take the time to enjoy the story a little longer than the series would have allowed. That's the thing about movies that have been made out of books; it takes you maybe a week or a month or even longer (if you're not a huge reader) to get the story out of a book, and thus you get to enjoy it longer than a movie or series, which takes maybe 2-6 hours.

That hat though... XD
 I didn't care anything about Mrs. Thornton's thoughts or feelings. That woman drove me bananas. I've never met someone so set on looking down on people the way she does. And then there's the man Nicholas Higgins, whom I DO like. I liked him better in the book I think, because he had more of a chance to show his good heart, except that I could hardly understand what he was saying most of the time. XD

*SPOILER Actually, I wouldn't call this a spoiler, but whatever. I absolutely loved it, in the movie and in the book even more, when Higgins and Thornton finally got as close as they ever would get at seeing eye to eye (after the strikes, and all that). I love how Margaret was sure that if Higgins went and spoke to Thornton, he would give him work. And she was right, in the end. I loved that whole little section. END OF SPOILER*

Aww... would you look at that. :)

 And then there are Margaret's parents. Mrs. Hale annoys me just a little bit. She's always complaining, and worrying, and being out-of-sorts, and getting everyone around her upset and nervous. I just don't like those kinds of people. I mean, I know she's got poor health and all that, but gosh.
Mr. Hale isn't too bad. I loved the relationship between him and Margaret in the book. They share a sweet likeness in helping people, and doing the right thing. I almost kind of loved him in the book.

And about Frederick... I'm not going to call this a spoiler warning, because it isn't really. He's Margaret's brother (that's all I'll say) and I LOVE HIM. HE'S SO NICE. I love him in the series (they picked a great actor for him), and he's a complete doll in the book as well. I wish with all my heart that he would have had more time in the entire story because he's an angel, poor thing.
One other thing I loved about this book, is that the main character is so much like my own self. Margaret, in the way she feels about people, about serving and helping others, about handling different situations, is so much like my own habits of living that she could actually BE ME. I mean REALLY. She definitely has that INFJ sort of personality, which is what I have. In other words, rarely do I find a character in a book more close to my heart than Margaret Hale.

At the end of it all, I am proud to have the 2004 film series on my DVD shelf, and I am even more proud to possess on my bookshelf Elizabeth Gaskell's "passionate tale of love across the social divide."

So if you see an unusual amount of N&S pics on the blog, or Pins on Pinterest, don't be alarmed, I'm not going crazy, I  just happen to be quite consumed with this whole series/book lately, and I think I've decided that It's my favorite Period Drama, up until this point, with Pride & Prejudice being a close second. 


  1. I LOVED the TV series!!! <3 I haven't read the book yet. Reading your post makes me want to!:) It sounds sooo good!! Lovely post! :D

    1. Morgan: The TV series is absolutely GREAT. But you must read the book. For the love of book reading, do it I beg of you!

  2. Dear *Phoebe*
    This post almost perfectly sums up my experience with N&S. :) I just love that story, book or movie. I think they did an amazing job with casting in the movie; when I read the book, everyone was just the way they looked in the movie. Especially Mr. Thornton, Frederick, and Nicholas Higgins.
    Don't you just love the part where Mr. Bell tells Mr. Thornton about Frederick?? That's my favorite part, both in the book and movie. Ooh, and the part where Mr. Thornton goes to see Nicholas. :D
    I really like Margaret's character; she is so strong, and able. The neat things about a character like hers, is that her flaws balance out her good qualities. She's stubborn, but that makes her firm on something important. She's a bit prejudiced, but she holds dear memories sacred. She sees the problems and flaws in other people; but she's very loyal. She doesn't complain, even when she's so worn out that she can't even sleep. It's only when everything that can be done is done, and everyone who depends on her is taken care of, that she lets go and collapses. I think I'm a little bit like her, but not as much as I'd like to. She's definitely a role model of mine.
    UGH, descriptions!!! I can't stand those. :P They make Henty actually hard to read. I have a few other things against Henty, but that's the biggest.
    Excellent post, darling. :)
    P.S. I completely, whole-heartedly, 100% agree with you on Mrs. Hale.

    1. Dear *Diana*
      What you really need to do is just copy all of what you just said and save it until you get your own blog, then write your own review about the book, because I noticed you touched on a few things that I forgot to mention!
      Every single person in the book was EXACTLY like the actor portrayed him/her. I literally cannot imagine ANYONE else as Mr. Thornton except Richard. Oh, I forgot to mention how much I love Mr. Bell! I love how he stepped up and took the place of Margaret's guardian after *someone* dies. It's just really sweet. He's a good old chap.

      You are right too about Margaret. It's good to give a character qualities that balance each other out that way. It makes for a more realistic, interesting read.
      Henty's ok, but you're right, he's hard sometimes.
      I'm glad you liked the post! Thank you, darling. :)

  3. The TV series was amazing...even though I stared at Richard Armitage the whole entire time. And wanted to slap him at some parts. BUT i really do need to read the book so I can love it as you did


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