This is the story of Margaret Hale, a young English woman who accompanies her family's move from rural southern England to the industrial north. It proves to be a difficult change, with all the attendant social conflicts and cultural misunderstandings consequent to such situations. It is a study in contrasts. Mrs. Gaskell created one of the Victorian era's greatest heroines in Margaret Hale, a young lady of passionate intensity. Always filled with a fiery sense of justice, she feels herself, nevertheless, spiritually isolated from society.
Margaret finds her new surroundings shocking. Though appalled by the dirt, noise and the gruffness of the mercantile city, she reserves her greatest contempt for the mill owners themselves. When charismatic mill owner John Thornton begins to take classics lessons from her father, Margaret's distaste for this vulgar "new class" of industrial magnates crystallizes.
Over time, Margaret's opinion of the mill workers begins to soften, though not toward the owners - which makes her strange attraction to John Thornton all the more remarkable. The wrenching series of labor problems and deaths that occur as the story progresses serves as a background to the inner struggles Margaret endures...the turmoil of private family life in contrast to the struggle against the overt poverty and deprivation she witnesses around her.
Listen to one of the greatest of all Victorian novels and let the artistry of Elizabeth Gaskell sweep you away to another time and place. Considered her finest work, North and South will keep you listening breathlessly to the very end.
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