North and South
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North and South draws on Gaskell's own experiences of the poverty and hardship of life in the industrial north of England. Her heroine, Margaret Hale, is taken from the wealthy south by her nonconformist minister father, to live in a fictional northern town. The stark differences are explored through Margaret's abrupt change in circumstance, and her sympathetic reaction to the plight of the northerners. She comes into conflict with a local mill owner who proposes marriage to her. The two undergo a series of misunderstandings and changes of heart before they are reunited.
Even if you're familiar with the BBC mini-series adaptation of this novel, I would suggest you give this novel a chance for it is cleverly written and is a masterpiece in its own right. Elizabeth Gaskell's novel is beautifully descriptive in depicting 19th century social differences in the characters of southern England's Margaret Hale and northern England's cotton-mill owner, John Thornton. A love story develops between these two despite their differences. Elizabeth Gaskell writes men well, delving into their innermost thoughts, which I found refreshing as compared with her contemporaries. I enjoy Jane Austen but now I am also a fan of Elizabeth Gaskell because of North and South.
This is by far my most favourite book! I highly encourage you to read this!