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North and South

March 27, 2007

Due to our packing up our kitchen so it could be stripped of everything but the framing, birthing classes, doing a freelance project, etc. I’ve had no time to blog. I hope to have a little more time this month and maybe by the end of the week will be able to post pictures of our kitchen project.

But for now, I wanted to finish a post I’d started some time ago. Recently, I watched North and South, which has quickly become a favorite movie of mine, rivaling even Pride and Prejudice. Several others (Bethany and Beth) have already written about the movie. I decided that if I liked the movie so much, the novel must be terrific, and it was. So I wanted to post about the novel.

Although the love story is similar to Pride and Prejudice (our hero and heroine take on an instant dislike for each other, which is compounded by mistaken assumptions about each other) the scene is much grittier. The action takes place in the working class mill town of Milton, which our heroine, Margaret, moves to with her family when her father steps down from his role as country pastor due to reasons of conscience and disagreements with the church.

Once adjusting to Milton, Margaret sympathetically becomes involved with the town’s workers and clashes with the once working class, but now wealthy mill owner, John Thornton, who visits her father for tutoring to further his education.

The movie keeps to the book pretty closesly. But there where a few things about the book that really were interesting.

The movie version did mask Margaret’s spirituality. She’s unsettled with her father’s decision to leave the church. Her compassion for mill workers and view of the mill owners’ responsibility for their workers’ well-being stems from her Christianity. She reaches out and becomes close friends with one particular mill-working family, and a sweet scene is when Margaret, her father, and the father of this family all pray together after a death in the family. There also is the scene where Margaret experiences conviction over something she’s done and struggles and repents over her actions.

A unique aspect to a book like this is the male viewpoint. Although Margaret is the main character and heroine, we are not left to view the world only through her eyes. John Thornton’s feelings and motives are explored from his perspective as well. We soon come to sympathize with him and see what a steadfast and faithful man he is, not only to his own family, but Margaret and her family, even when there is no hope of Margaret returning his feelings. Unlike books like Pride and Prejudice, where we learn about the hero only as the heroine does, we get John Thornton’s view almost right away, and thus get “both sides.”

I highly recommend this book, and especially encourage reading any forwards that your copy of the book might have, in order to understand the context of the novel and realize what a radical book it was during it’s time, especially to be written by a woman.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Ashleigh permalink
    March 27, 2007 8:55 am

    Sounds like a really interesting read. I haven’t seen the movie — so maybe I’ll read the book first. 🙂

  2. March 27, 2007 8:56 am

    Have you read Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange? It’s a book written in 2000 something. I read it during vacation in September and couldn’t put it down!

    It’s described like this: “A skillful and graceful imagining of the hero’s point of view in one of the most beloved and enduring romance stories of all time. As Darcy records his struggles to avoid falling in love with Elizabeth Bennet and the difficulties of his reluctant courtship, he discloses his deepest feelings and fears, explains his moodiness and taciturnity, and makes the
    reader love him as Miss Bennet eventually does.”

    It appears it’s coming in paperback next week.

  3. Margaret permalink
    March 27, 2007 11:12 am

    Where can I find the movie?

  4. March 27, 2007 11:45 am

    If after checking your local video store and library, you can’t find it. sells it. If you subscribe to Netflicks, I’m sure they have it too.

  5. March 27, 2007 6:53 pm

    Thanks for the book review. Might have to check that one out. The movie is on netflix I first watched it via them but I would highly recommend buying on Amazon…after I first saw it I wanted it.

  6. March 28, 2007 9:15 am

    Suzanne, thanks for the book recommendation!

  7. March 28, 2007 11:29 am

    Great review Danielle. I’ll have to pick up the book!


  1. Books I Read in 2007 « Dance by the Light
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