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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Book review

North and South
 by Elizabeth Gaskell

I read this book by downloading it free to my tablet from Amazon. It is the first book in a 'read along' organised by the blogger   Be Sol Be.  We  read the book and review it on our blog or comment on someone elses. It was a difficult book to read and review.

Published in 1855 around the same time Charles Dickens was writing his classics, just to give you an idea of the timing.  

 The heroine moves from a comfortable life in the South of england when her father has a crisis of conscience.  'A crisis of conscience', something unknown in this day and age.  The family move to a town in the industrial North of england where employment for most is hard slog in the cotton mills.  She's telling the story of both sides, the rich employer and the worker.

At the same time it is a complicated love story between the heroine in sympathy with the workers and the owner of the mill.

The book is long and wordy and I only finished it by skipping passages and getting the nitty gritty.  I read and enjoyed, years ago,  Trollope, Jane Austen and Henry James but I think my tastes have changed.  I am too used to reading fast moving, straight to the point modern novels now. This is a classic, and apparently a great one, and that's how they were written. 

Years ago I would have read every word as I read anything in the English language including the small print in advertisements. Now these females annoy me for being so damn obedient, the descriptions take up paragraphs with  lips and  eyebrows and emotions.  'Affrighted girls' and 'trembling self restraint' slow down my reading.  I want to get on with the plot and into the story.   

The BBC made a mini-series out of the book .  It seems to be very popular.  See the TV version and then read the book.

The next book for us to read and review is 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens.


  1. Cheryl mylittlepieceofengland

    Cheryl I accidently deleted your comment because I also deleted the original post...I still have what you wrote so am copy/pasting it

    My daughter's studying A Christmas Carol at school as part of her English GCSE. I try to read different genres but do like thrillers and historical books. I haven't read a classic for years and like you I'm not sure I'd enjoy it so much now.

    1. It's just too old fashioned for me. I get annoyed with the female characters for being so weak and the language slows me down. I hope the Christmas Carol will be an easier read

  2. I have amended this post so many times and accidently published it two or three times. Serves me right for being so modern and in a rush. Apologies

  3. I read somewhere that North and South is Pride and Prejudice for Socialists. It wasn't my cup of tea. We are going to watch the television adaptation of the book this week.

    1. Hope you enjoy the tv version. Not sure I would enjoy that either. I'll give it a go when it eventually arrives here in greece. In a few years time no doubt.

  4. I have seen the television version of this Linda. I quite enjoyed it. Twas a different time. I also enjoyed Elizabeth Gaskel's Cranford on the telly. I find the books hard to get into but I quite enjoy the viewing. xo

    1. Twas a different time as you say. I'm going to read the next book which is by Dickens and see how I feel about that. Sol says it is much shorter and of course we all know the story.

  5. Hi Linda, thank you so much for joining in. This is exactly why I wanted to do a read along as I find these types of books so hard to read and like you, the women drive me batty with the swooning and such. I much prefer Mrs Thornton! lol

    I found the use of accents in the writing to be really quite hard to follow as I was trying to make it sound like an area. Be it Manchester or Yorkshire. I do that in my mind to get a real feel for it. The words were that bit too alien. I enjoyed reading it, but not the actual book that much.

    I also liked the TV programme, Cranford. If I had read North and South before the TV programme I would not have watched the shows.

    Once again, thank you for joining it. On to A Christmas Carol. Nice and short!!!

    Sol xxx

    1. I'm looking forward to starting Dickens and see how I get on. I'll let you know!