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North and South

North and South

Elizabeth Gaskell Paperback, 450 pages; 2003 (1855)
#UM1312 $12.00 Members' Price: $10.20

The daughter of a country parson, Margaret Hale enjoys a bucolic life amid the quaint cottages and sleepy tree-lined lanes of nineteenth-century southern England. But when her father suffers a crisis of conscience that forces him to leave the church, Margaret must face the hard realities of a new life in Milton, a northern town where factories belch smoke and soot and the entrenched class distinctions of London and the south are blurred. There, she meets factory owner John Thornton, a self-made man who is ambitious, proud...and immediately smitten with the beautiful Margaret. Yet the pair clashes from the get-go, as Margaret's initial disdain for industrial Milton gives way to increasing concern for the welfare of the mill workers. When a labor strike looms, Margaret and Thornton are forced to reexamine their prejudices, about each other and the worlds from which they came. Charles Dickens hailed Gaskell's socially conscious Victorian-era love story as "admirable...full of character and power." I have to agree - and not just because John Thornton is now among my favorite literary leading men! (KG)

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