Master of the Mill

In Master of the Mill Mrs. Hale dies before the family arrives in Milton and they are in a much more impoverished situation than they are in the BBC series upon which this book is based on.

The writing in this book is good and I believe the author has the potential to write a book that could have been to my liking, but unfortunately that was not the case with Master of the Mill. In it, we find a sexualized version of John Thornton, which would not have been as bad if it had not changed his entire personality. In this book Mr. Thornton keeps a mistress to answer to his sexual urges and is a self-confident man who believes he will conquer Margaret, who in turn is also a pale comparison to the character Ms. Gaskell created.

In this book Margaret also has  a stubborn and independent nature, but that leads her to start working at Malborough Mills disguised as a lower class lass.

As mentioned earlier, Margaret and Mr. Hale are poorer than in the original novel and end up living in the Princeton district. That is a little hard to believe because I do not believe Mr. Thornton would feel so fascinated by a lass living in the Princeton district and working at his mill.

This book has several sex scenes, including Margaret’s first time with Mr. Thornton which is very hot for modern standards but is completely wrong for the time it is set. It is also completely out of character because I don’t believe that either Mr. Thornton or Miss Hale would have their first time in such circumstances, not to mention that it is everything but romantic which is how I would imagine their first time. The scene was good if we were reading a modern romance, but I can’t accept that in a Victorian novel.

Henry is the villan in this book and even if I can see him as a rival to Mr. Thornton, I think he was also completely out of character with all the ville things he did. He was an evil and manipulative person who would consider only his own interests and I don’t believe that is how Gaskell wanted to portray him.

I believe readers more interested in a steamy novel, and who do not need to see the North and South characters in it, may enjoy this book as the writing is good and the story itself has some interest. It is fast paced and can be read in one day, but unfortunately it is not my cup of tea. I was looking for an interesting variation of North and South and I did not find that in this book.


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Filed under JAFF

11 responses to “Master of the Mill

  1. sounds like a fair review


  2. J. W. Garrett

    Oh… heck no… that premise is just wrong. Thanks for taking one for the team. NO-WAY-Nope. This was just an excuse to write a sexy love scene shrouded in a beloved story between popular characters. Was this an attempt to garner more readers by using a popular genre? Perhaps… however, I am not impressed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is indeed very sexualized and I’m certain some readers may find that appealing. I can see some appeal in Thornton’s character myself, but he was not Thornton and the behaviors were definitely not appropriate for the Victorian era. I think the author may have gained more either to drop so much sexual content and develop the story a little more (because the writing is indeed good) or make a modern story. Having Margaret working at the mill was also something I could not abide… it’s just, not right for me. But it was a short read, so it only took me around 2h to finish it I think 🙂


  3. NO…nada…nope…nyet…nein! I do not want this for a variation of N&S, one of my favorites. Thanks for the warning.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sophia Rose

    Sounds like the names and the settings were all that were brought over from the original. And, yeah, steamy has it’s place, but not when it alters the story that much. He must have not been on the point of losing his mill since he could afford a mistress.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She was actually the sister of another Mill owner who enjoyed her sexual encounters with Thornton. Apparently most people knew about it and it was ok… she even made him visits in his office. But the loosing of the mill was not address in this book.


  5. Mary

    Do my eyes deceive me of have I actually read correctly that our beloved characters,John and Margaret,have been victims of this steamy whitewashing
    disguised as a N&S story?? The John and Margaret that we hold dear…..enjoying marital intimacies without the benefit of marriage??
    John,a man so staunchly loyal,tunnel visioned in his desires to keep the mill working and his hands gainfully employed,keeping a mistress who bestows her ‘favours’ at the mill….his place of work???
    No! I must have misread the content of your post Rita,for surely nobody would have before foolhardy enough to tamper with characters that hold a special place in the hearts of so many… dare to entwine them with mere clones that would behave in such a modern and polarised fashion as their inherent character traits would dictate!
    No,I thought not!! Such a nightmare scenario was simply the result of an overactive imagination stirred up by the rather spicy curry I enjoyed earlier….
    Note to self,no more spicy food!!! 😉


  6. caroleincanada

    Thank you for your fair and honest review. It just doesn’t ‘feel’ like the best was brought out in any of them!


  7. Agnes

    Thank you for pointing out the ways this book might not appeal to a N&S fan. When I read “the BBC series upon which this book is based on” I already cringe (be it P&P or N&S).
    I’m sorry if this sounds snobbish but I can’t imagine a romance between a Mr. Thornton and a girl worker (even if she is called Margaret Hale) – actually, not on either side. Not to mention that (if I understand correctly that Mr. Thornton had sex with Margaret while she was working for him) I find the power imbalance in such a relationship very troubling.
    I, personally, don’t mind if secondary characters are changed, even significantly (as you describe the Henry of this book), but all in all, this book doesn’t seem like my cup of tea. It must be hard to write a negative review in a fair way, thank you again!


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