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North and South (Classic Fiction) Audio CD – Audiobook, 1 Feb 2010

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks; Unabridged edition (1 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9626341858
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626341858
  • Product Dimensions: 3.9 x 15.9 x 13.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 577,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Elizabeth Gaskell's novels explore the social divisions of the 19th century with a vivacity that resonates in the Britain of today when they are widening again. Which isn't to say that they are worthy and consequently dull. No, Gaskell's books are rich with romance and peopled by characters the listener truly feels for. North and South takes Margaret Hale, daughter of a C of E vicar, from the drawing rooms of London and the exquisite beauty of the New Forest to the grim northern industrial town of Milton where, appalled by the conditions his workers live and work in, she finds herself in conflict with mill owner John Thornton. Excellent reading by Claire Wille. --Kati Nicholl,The Daily Express

Book Description

'A really remarkable picture of the reality, as well as the prosperity, of northern industrial life, and an interesting examination of changing social conscience' Joanna Trollope --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Yorkie's Mum on 14 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
My first foray into the books of Elizabeth Gaskell and certainly not my last as I am already part way through " Wives & Daughters." Set in the mid 1800s it relates the story of the Hale family, father, mother and our heroine, daughter, Margaret Hale. It opens with Margaret being reunited with her parents after living with relatives in London for the previous ten years, being companion to her rich and spoiled cousin, Edith. Edith is now to be married and the Hale family is to be whole once more in the country where the father is a curate in the tiny village of Helstone. Father has a crisis of conscience, gives up his living and moves the Hales to the northern mill town of Milton. Although not by any means a rich family the Hales (apart really from Mr. Hale) almost immediately suffer a culture shock in this, a dirty, smoky, foggy but vibrant mill town. The resultant story is one of disasters, tragedies and the beginning of a will they-won't they get together when we are introduced to what I will call the hero of the story, John Thornton a successful mill owner. Ms Gaskell paints a very exact and intuitive picture of the poverty and hard working "folk" of the North and compares it very dramatically with the goings on in the affluent and snobby South. (Is there much difference today I ask myself?) We are introduced to some wonderful Northern characters together with much Northern dialect, which is a joy to read. The tale is heartwarming and at times very sad as the Hale family and their Northern acquaintances seem to veer from one disaster to another. We are even entertained with a bit of "trouble in t' mill!! For a novel written about days gone by I found much of it a real page turner which I have not found in other books of the same ilk. My only regret and this is not a criticism is that the "ending" did not last another couple of pages....I am ever a romantic at heart!!
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By AGDA on 31 Mar. 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have to admit that I saw the BBC mini-series before reading the book, I know, shame on me for not reading more, but the thing is that I decided to read it to check how good was the adaptation and found in the first place a good book to read, nice characters, some great literary moments and interesting use of dialogue, slang, northern accent that makes it an amazing novel, and secondly, the adaptation in this case has been great, fantastic, probably due to the fact that Gaskell creates characters, dotes on them, offering us a complete view into their core, sometimes we get too much information but, I am not complaining. Thornton is one of those characters that will go with you for the rest of your life.

Hope you like it too.
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Format: Audio CD
First published as a magazine serial of twenty-two installments in Household Words edited by her mentor Charles Dickens, NORTH AND SOUTH was later expanded by Mrs. Gaskell into the format we know today and publish in book format in 1855. The story explores some of Gaskell's favorite topics: social division and class struggles, religious faith and doubt, and the changing landscape of mid-Victorian England from an agricultural nation to industrial giant. Interlaced in these conflicts are genuine characters as passionate in their social convictions as they are in their quest for understanding and love.

Opening with the wedding of her vivacious cousin Edith Shaw to Captain Lennox, our nineteen year-old heroine Miss Margaret Hale is at an important juncture in her life. Raised in London by her wealthy Aunt Shaw, her duties as companion to her cousin are now over and she returns to her family as an educated and sophisticated young lady. Her parents live in Helstone, an idyllic rural Hampshire village where her father is the local Church of England minister and her mother a former county belle. Higher born than her husband she married for love against her family's wishes. They lead a comfortable, but frugal life until her father's decision to leave the church on principal; uprooting his family to the only opportunity available to them. His former Oxford tutor Mr. Bell has connections in Milton-Northern, an industrial city of cotton mills and coal smoke in the north of England, a far cry from the comforts, sunny climes and verdant countryside of the south in Hampshire. On the same day of Margaret's fathers shocking announcement, Henry Lennox a young lawyer and brother of Edith's husband visits the Hales in Helstone with the objective of proposing marriage to Margaret.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Miss E. Potten on 3 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
I can't believe it's taken me so long to finally read this! I fell in love with the story when I first saw the adaptation on TV, bought the book (and the DVD!) soon afterwards... and it has been sitting on my shelves for FIVE YEARS waiting for me to finally get my act together! Anyway, it was definitely not a short read, but so very worth it.

Basic storyline: Margaret Hale and her family move to the Northern industrial town of Milton from their sweet Southern village. The whole family is uprooted and struggles to settle into the smoky, noisy, dank atmosphere of their new home. Their earliest acquaintances there are the Thorntons - dignified Mrs Thornton, her silly daughter Fanny, and her handsome son John, wealthy master of the Marlborough Mills and a famous name in cotton. Despite Mr Thornton's best efforts, Margaret believes Milton society to be inferior to their status as gentlefolk, and so the scene is set for a 'Pride and Prejudice'-esque story of wounded egos, longing glances, misunderstandings and, finally, true love.

Despite the similarities between this novel and the Austen favourite, there are big differences. This book is much more complex, and much grittier, leaning further towards Dickens in some respects. The poverty of the Milton workers, in which Margaret takes a philanthropic interest, is a major focus of the novel. The misfortunes of the Higgins and Boucher families, and their constant struggles against injustice, illness and uncaring employers, are carefully explored and movingly rendered. At the same time the progressive ambitions and difficult decisions made by the masters are never overlooked, providing a balanced view of industrial progress in the mid-19th century.
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