Margaret of the North is not so much a continuation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, but a continuation of the BBC series portraying Richard Armitage and Daniela Ashby.
This means the book starts with Mr. Thornton and Margaret’s reunion at the train station, and it is very interesting to note that the beginning of the book is not overly romantic with all the emotion display one would expect, it resembles very much Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing style and that is something I appreciate, it is in fact the most similar in style to Mrs. Gaskell that I have read until today.
The book continues with Mr. Thornton and Margaret’s honeymoon to Paris and subsequent travel to Cadiz to visit Frederick. It is a slow paced book and I kept waiting for something to happen but it never did, so with time, the book became less interesting for me. I never felt a true emotion while reading it, and even if this is an extremely subjective argument, for me it is essential to feel something while reading a book.
I also had some difficulty in identifying with Mr. Thornton. It was strange to see him so unpreoccupied about re-opening the Mill, and at times his speech seemed more like a speech Mr. Darcy would have. In this book John Thornton was too sure Margaret would accept him, and that he became a better person after her refusal. For me this is a description of Mr. Darcy and not Mr. Thornton who never believed such a woman could care for him.
Despite this fact, I believe the author was successful in showing us the class differences that existed at the time, and how Mr. Thornton learned from his experiences and changed his perceptions on how to improve the workers life conditions.
Margaret of the North is very descriptive, and for those who like this type of writing it will be very appealing as we get to read everyone’s opinion and perception on almost all subjects, but to me it felt too slow paced and lacking emotion. The book slowly describes the changes in the characters’ lives after John and Margaret get married. It gives us an interesting view of Margaret and Hanna’s relationship and the impacts that living with one another has for these characters. It makes us see and understand how Hanna suffered with this situation, and how all the changes had a big impact in her daily life and therefore in her disposition.
This is not a book of action, it is a book that gives us a more intense view of the characters’ lives after the wedding, their feelings and inner struggles. It leads us on a path where we focus on their personal growth and not on the story itself, so it might be an interesting read for those who want to analyze the development of these characters.
Margaret of the North is available at:
Amazon.com – Margaret of the North
Amazon.co.uk – Margaret of the North