North and South (Paperback)
There was a time when I finally finished all of Jane Austen’s books (twice) and I suddenly didn’t know where to turn next. I loved reading about dances, and witty banter, and most importantly, Society with a capital S. After getting stuck in a long reading rut, I stumbled upon North and South, and despite the lack of dances, I found beautiful writing, memorable friendships, and a fair amount of tempestuous romance. This book is more political and industrial than my Austen-norm, but it was just the right book for my fix. I found myself sucked into the troubling world of cotton factories, and unjust class prejudices. Margaret Hale has now become one of my favorite heroines. She’s pulled out of her comfortable country lifestyle and thrown into this busy working environment, and we are reminded that there are two sides to every story.— Leah
Praised by Charles Dickens as an "admirable story, full of character and power," Elizabeth Gaskell's 1855 novel unfolds across the social divides of a changing world. The romance between the haughty but sensitive heroine and an intelligent, dynamic man of lower social status touches upon political, philosophical, and economic issues. An unflinching depiction of the bleak conditions of the working poor as well as a commentary on the mid-Victorian era's class conflicts, this richly textured tale raises timeless questions about the nature of social authority and protest.