Synopsis: This is one of the earliest novels of industrial alienation, tellingly linked to the plight of 19th-century women. It tells of the relationship between Margaret Hale, a girl from the old rural south, and John Thornton, a mill owner from the new industrial north. (synopsis taken from Amazon).
Review: Although this was well written and made some important points about industrialisation as observed first hand by Elizabeth Gaskell it was let down by its lack of event. Despite being informative, and valuable as a realistic picture of the social landscape of the time, it lacked the plot to drive the reader to continue. Continue though I did, but it was a long and slow read. I found myself continually comparing it to Emile Zola’s Germinal which depicted the working conditions of the miners in France. It is a far more dramatic tale, again drawing on Zola’s first hand observations, but I found in making this comparison that I could see Elizabeth Gaskell’s strength in that she was able to tell the story from the point of view of both the industrialists and workers. I will read other work by Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South feels like a work with a purpose to inform rather than to entertain and my expectations are that her other novels may be more plot driven.
LibraryThing rating: *****
Other books read by same author: None but hope to read more.
Reviewed by JudyB