North and South

north-and-southby Elizabeth Gaskell • Classic fiction

Margaret Hale has a lovely life in the south of England. That is until her father, the local pastor, has a crisis of conscience and leaves the Anglican Church. No longer employed in Helstone, Mr Hale moves his family north to be a tutor in the industrial town of Milton. Initially, Margaret is shocked by the contrast between the north and the south, but soon adapts to her new life, immersing herself in the lives of the local mill workers. Through her father’s work, Margaret meets mill owner, John Thornton and immediately sparks fly …

There is so much more to this story than simply “North and South”. Yes, the geographical locations are integral to the story, but for me the true focus is Margaret Hale. What a character! She’s brave, adaptable and compassionate, but also flawed. She’s often mistaken for being haughty, she is impetuous and at one point nearly perjures herself, yet I find her eminently appealing. And for me, therein lies the genius of Mrs Gaskell’s writing. A great book for women.

Publisher: Penguin Books