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North and South

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
By: (1810-1865)

Mrs. Gaskell as she was popularly known, had a hard and lonely childhood, spent with various aunts and relatives after her mother died and her father left her. The young Elizabeth met and married a clergyman and moved to Manchester with him. It was here that she developed her strong sense of social justice and the themes which form the basis of her writing. Her biography of her dear friend Charlotte Bronte is considered a classic and provides a wonderfully human picture of the Yorkshire genius and her equally talented, tragic family.

North and South is set in a fictional town called Milton and located north of England. The heroine Margaret Hale arrives here, having suffered a series of unfortunate events. Her father, a wealthy churchman who lives in the idyllic English countryside suddenly finds himself losing the faith that has sustained him all these years. He leaves the church and moves his family to this preindustrial, ugly and uninspiring city, where poverty, crime and hopelessness dominate. Margaret soon encounters the handsome, but materialistic, cotton mill owner and tycoon, John Thornton. Their values and philosophies are poles apart, leading to an inevitable clash, which forms the basis of the title of the novel, North and South.

The book traces the advent of the Industrial Revolution in England, the pathetic condition of workers and the callous, greedy attitude of the mill owners who formed the bedrock of the new rich in the country. She also wrote several very popular ghost stories which were regularly published by Dickens in his magazine, Household Words. However, Mrs. Gaskell's works, though immensely popular in her lifetime, soon faded into obscurity.

Today, her works are known chiefly through television adaptations of her novels like Cranford and North and South. Her enduring themes of tradition verses modernity, feminism, the changing nature of relationships and the falsity of first impressions all resonate with the interests of readers today.

Mrs. Gaskell as she was popularly known, had a hard and lonely childhood, spent with various aunts and relatives after her mother died and her father left her. The young Elizabeth met and married a clergyman and moved to Manchester with him. It was here that she developed her strong sense of social justice and the themes which form the basis of her writing. Her biography of her dear friend Charlotte Bronte is considered a classic and provides a wonderfully human picture of the Yorkshire genius and her equally talented, tragic family.

North and South is set in a fictional town called Milton and located north of England. The heroine Margaret Hale arrives here, having suffered a series of unfortunate events. Her father, a wealthy churchman who lives in the idyllic English countryside suddenly finds himself losing the faith that has sustained him all these years. He leaves the church and moves his family to this preindustrial, ugly and uninspiring city, where poverty, crime and hopelessness dominate. Margaret soon encounters the handsome, but materialistic, cotton mill owner and tycoon, John Thornton. Their values and philosophies are poles apart, leading to an inevitable clash, which forms the basis of the title of the novel, North and South.

The book traces the advent of the Industrial Revolution in England, the pathetic condition of workers and the callous, greedy attitude of the mill owners who formed the bedrock of the new rich in the country. She also wrote several very popular ghost stories which were regularly published by Dickens in his magazine, Household Words. However, Mrs. Gaskell's works, though immensely popular in her lifetime, soon faded into obscurity.

Today, her works are known chiefly through television adaptations of her novels like Cranford and North and South. Her enduring themes of tradition verses modernity, feminism, the changing nature of relationships and the falsity of first impressions all resonate with the interests of readers today.


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Reviews (Rated: 4 Stars - 9 reviews)

Reviewer: - October 17, 2016
some chapters i had to skip because the voice of one of the readers, sadly irritated me to the point of not been able to keep on. its a shame for me... Still, i am sensible of the dedication given by those who made the audiobook possible. i hope i will have more chance with my next audiobook.
Reviewer: - September 23, 2014
Subject: North and South
Wonderful book made very much alive by an excellent team of readers! Love it (except for some chapters like 19, 28, 29... when I sort of got thrown off the High horse of smooth narration :))
Reviewer: - September 18, 2014
As a non-native English speaker, the heavy US accent chapters were at times difficult for me to understand (and it made immersing into the story more difficult, considering that the story takes place in England. ) Some of the chapters had very poor sound quality and thus hard to listen to, so nicking another star for that. Still, thank you for the possibility of reading this book even with a busy schedule, it probably saved my grade.
Reviewer: - October 3, 2013
Subject: North and South
Love this book.....grateful for the readings, but some o the accents I did not care for. Particularly, the Southern accent. When you read this type of book I imagine the traditional English accent, throws it off a bit. But good overall.
Reviewer: - August 17, 2013
Subject: Loved it!
Many thanks to the talented and dedicated narrators who took the time to make this wonderful book available in audio form. I felt swept away in the story and am grateful for the chance to listen to a book I probably would have never had time to sit down and read.
Reviewer: - May 2, 2013
Subject: Ups and downs
This is one of my favorite stories. The characters have depth and their flaws bring them to life in a way that makes the reader cheer them on in their struggles. For the most part I really enjoyed this reading but if you're put off by more than one reader this isn't for you. The final two chapters, where you most want to get lost in the narrative, are read in an almost expressionless voice, punctuated seemingly at random. There are also a couple of chapters where you really have to concentrate hard due to the accent of the reader. But if you love a story where the principle characters learn to let go of some of their pride and value the perspective of others, I recommend North and South.
Reviewer: - April 29, 2013
Subject: I loved it!
I loved listening to this novel while driving. One certain reader had a curious accent. Other than that, I loved it!
Reviewer: - April 27, 2013
Subject: Ups and downs
This is one of my favorite stories. The characters have depth and their flaws bring them to life in a way that makes the reader cheer them on in their struggles. For the most part I really enjoyed this reading but if you're put off by more than one reader this isn't for you. The final two chapters, where you most want to get lost in the narrative, are read in an almost expressionless voice, punctuated seemingly at random. There are also a couple of chapters where you really have to concentrate hard due to the accent of the reader. But if you love a story where the principle characters learn to let go of some of their pride and value the perspective of others, I recommend North and South.
Reviewer: - March 20, 2013
Subject: Is this some Tennessee Williams play?
Overall the reading is ok, but the woman with the heavy US southern accent (I would guess Georgia) should really be limited to US southern writers. I had to skip those chapters because my mind's eye instinctually placed the characters on a porch fanning themselves.


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