Tag Archives: north and south

Common Ground

common ground4 stars

Hello everyone,

Common Ground is a continuation of the BBC 2004 adaptation of North and South, and starts right after the epic train station scene. As always I was thrilled to read more about the trip to Milton and John and Margaret’s lives, especially because Common Ground proved to be a very balanced paced book which kept my attention from the beginning until the end.

Unlike many novels that are mainly focused on John and Margaret’s relationship, or the working classes’ struggles, Common Ground actually gives a lot of relevance to the difficulties faced by the masters, namely the effects speculation had on their business. I personally thought it was interesting to see the author explore the topic of speculation itself instead of just mentioning it, the historical research behind this idea and its transposition to the book made this a very unique variation. Also, the fact that it’s not the workers but the masters facing difficulties made this story particularly different and refreshing as in a twist of events the masters need to come together and unite their efforts to save their business, with Thornton assuming a main role, of course :). I will not go into much detail because I don’t want to spoil the book, but it is indeed a very different storyline.

I highly appreciated the focus on these topics but on the other hand I also felt that the moments between John and Margaret were not enough, and I did miss the romance between these two characters. Even so, the epilogue was satisfying and I liked seeing what happened to the cotton mills and our beloved characters, especially John Thornton 🙂

Another change in this book was Hanna Thornton’s character who was not portrayed as an overbearing mother and cold distant mother in law. Curiously enough, in Common Ground the anti-hero role is delegated to Fanny who is shown to be an irrational girl posing many problems to our couple.

Margaret’s family was not the cause for many troubles, but they were against the wedding and even though this is something I would expect to see in a N&S variation, it doesn’t happen very frequently, so once again Elaine Owen surprised me on the creativity of her plot and character development. And speaking of characters, Dixon is absent during the majority of the book and is only briefly mentioned in the end of it, isn’t that different? Honestly, I’m not very fond of this character, so when at 60% of the book I realized she was not there, I truly liked it 🙂

This was the first North and South book Elaine Owen released, and I hope she continues to write books on this category because Common Ground was indeed a different and original book with a lot of creativity in the narrative.

 

Common Ground is available at:

Amazon.com – Common Ground

Amazon.co.uk – Common Ground

 

Elaine Owen is stopping by at From Pemberley to Milton next week for an interview on her P&P and N&S works, so if your curious, don’t miss the opportunity to get to know her a little better.

 

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Filed under 4 stars, North and South

John Thornton – A Man of Honour under Northern Rain & Giveaway

Hello everyone,

Several months ago I discovered an author on Amazon called Nicole Clarkston. She caught my attention because she was the first author I saw writing JAFF and North and South Fan Fic. At the time she had published Rumours and Recklessness a Pride and Prejudice Variation and No Such Thing as Luck, a North and South Variation.

Both books had incredible reviews and ratings and when I read Rumours and Recklessness I understood why! Nicole Clarkston’s writing is extremely good and the character development is impressive, she captures their essence so well I believe both Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell would have been proud of her work.

Last week I discovered she released a new book called Northern Rain and I couldn’t have been more happy, especially because there aren’t as many N&S variations as P&P and I love the company of John Thornton, Margaret Hale and Nicolas Higgins 🙂

I’ve started reading Northern Rain and will post the review shortly, but I must tell you, the opening scene is just incredible!

So I’m incredibly happy and honored to receive, for the first time, Nicole Clarkston as a guest in From Pemberley to Milton, and I must publicly thank her not only for the availability and the generous giveaway, but also for putting so much work and time on this post with such a positive, humble and kind attitude.

Today she brings a vignette she wrote and I hope you like it as much as I did, because more than that is practically impossible!

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The following vignette is a concept which I found fascinating. What were John Thornton’s early years like? We know that they were hard years, years of deprivation and struggle. We also know that at the end of them, this formidable young man emerged with the highest respect for the woman who was his mother; for her integrity and wisdom, and for the gentle yet firm guidance she had offered her son. Did he ever resent his father’s choices? What form could his grief have taken? This short story explores those questions, and also explains how John Thornton began making the annual pilgrimage to his father’s grave, which is the opening scene in Northern Rain. I hope you enjoy it. – NC

 

A Man of Honour

Fifteen-year-old John Thornton stood before the door to the humble residence, jingling his week’s earnings in his pocket. It was not his own door at which he stood, but one just a row down. It was not a house one wished to be seen standing outside of.

For a year now- exactly a year, in fact- he had assumed the role of a man, while yet a boy. He had borne the challenge stoically, refusing to cower under his feelings of shame. He was no longer a child, and he was no longer his father’s son! That regret was long past, he had spent the year assuring himself.

The cares and labours of manhood were upon him, and with them, a new sense of himself. He had grown tall and broad of shoulder, and many mistook him for a young man of nine and ten. Nothing of his lost youth remained, and these days, he was feeling quite proud of that fact. New thoughts and ideas had begun to occur to him in the past months, and in the consuming fire typical of burgeoning masculinity, he had been able to think of little else.

He had every right, he consoled himself- his reward for this past year. He was a man, and man had needs. His observations had informed him that he was far from the only one to bring them to this house. His fingers twitched again in his pocket, sweating now. He was most certainly not nervous. A business transaction, that was all this was; one to alleviate his cravings and clear his head once more. He could conceive of no good reason for his throat to be suddenly parched.

Squaring his shoulders, he rapped on the door. It opened to him slowly, and, squinting his eyes a little, he entered. Rosemary- that was the only name anyone called her. She was in her late twenties, but the bloom had long since faded from her cheeks. She had other assets, however, which more than made up for her lack of innocence. John stared at the ample flesh bared before him in the dark little room. He was having some trouble swallowing. He had seen ladies’ evening gowns which lavishly displayed the bounties of alluring young gentlewomen, eager to ensnare a husband- but this was more blatant, even, than that. Little was left to his active imagination by Rosemary’s low-scooped bodice. The blood pounded in his ears, and in a number of other places as well.

Mumbling his request, he dipped his hand into his pocket and emptied it on her little table. Rouge-tinted lips smiled, and his money disappeared. Not certain what he was to do next, he merely stood… waiting.

Rosemary turned slightly away from him, and with practiced fingers, began to effortlessly free herself of some of her garments. His keen gaze caught a bare shoulder, and then a glimpse of her curved back, as her top fell. His eager hands reached out, but just before he touched her, from somewhere in the back of the house, a babe began to cry. He stopped, his limbs quivering.

The fallen angel before him muttered a low curse, and urged him to pay it no mind. Perhaps her bit of professional courtesy might have lent another man all the necessary courage he required, but John’s bravado shattered. Rather than the ravishing seductress he had seen a moment ago, the young lad now beheld a tired, care-worn mother. His forehead broke out in a sudden sweat.

He blinked, panting, and tried vainly to banish the righteous thoughts which once again intruded upon his conscience. The moment, however, was gone. Rosemary peered at him curiously, her bodice drooping, but John could not even bring himself to look on what he had so desired only seconds before. His breath was heaving now, and his entire being flooded with regret and humiliation. Stammering a hasty excuse, he spun out of her door and slammed it behind himself.

He stood alone on the street, but this was not a place he could bear to linger. Not knowing quite what he was about, he began walking. He walked until he could breathe once more, and until the sweat had dried from his brow. He walked until he could hear the voices around him, rather than the screaming of his own conscience in his ears. He walked until he almost forgot where he was, and until the passing humanity had dissipated from about him.

He hated himself. What a selfish, prideful little fool he was! He had thought to call himself a man, but a man’s honour was in the keeping of his own, not the squandering in idle pleasures. And what had he done with this week’s wages? Lost! How was he to confess this to his mother? She, who had so diligently taught him to work, to budget, to save- she, who had such faith in his honour! How was he to tell her that he had intended to throw over his integrity for a few moments of boyish lust? He could not!

He looked about at last, finally recognizing where his steps had carried him. The graveyard. There was no surer place to seek his solitude, to castigate himself without the trouble of witnesses. Well… if he could not confess the truth to his mother, he would take his anger out on his other parent. His steps coming in a frenzied rush, he descended upon that fresh stone- the one he and his mother had so painstakingly saved to purchase.

“You!” he snarled to the silent stone as he marched toward it. “You are to blame! For Mother’s grief, for Fanny’s illness, for the days I spend in the draper’s shop- all of it! It was your selfishness which brought this shame to us!” His fists beat upon the stone until his flesh was torn, then he slashed at the unyielding granite with a contemptuous and satisfyingly irreverent kick. Violent sobs racked him and he collapsed. He remained there, gasping through his inarticulate cries of fury, for many long moments.

Conviction was slow to dawn, but faithfully, it did so. He clenched his eyes against his own disgrace. How was he any better than his father? He had nearly succumbed to his own temporal desires, had he not? He had harmed his family by foolishly squandering his hard-earned pay. What were they even to eat for this next week? Burying his face in his grime-covered palms, he raged in anguish, his youthful body shaking in the throes of his disgust with himself.

After a few moments, an inspiration pricked him. It could all be forgotten- he need not return to his mother empty-handed! Furiously, he dug in his other pocket for the watch his mother had given him. His father’s- as if he wanted anything belonging to that man! Snatching it up, he nearly laughed in relief. He could sell this, fetch a handsome price, and perhaps even buy his mother that new dress she so badly needed!

As he wrung the chain, shaking the watch as if it were his own father’s miserable neck, his eyes caught the time. Half past three, on the nose. It was not right, of course. It was, in fact, much later in the day now, as he had already worked his full shift at the draper’s shop. He shook the watch again, wondering why it had stopped with its hands in that precise position. What sadistic turn of events would cause the watch to pause at the exact moment when that gunshot had rung out last year- and on this day, of all days?

His eyes flooded with emotion, but not a single tear did he shed. He was the only man his family had left, and a man did not do such a thing. He drew a long breath and restored the watch to its proper place in his pocket. A man did not weep, and a man did not lie. He rose, dusting off the grass from his clothing, and made his sorrowful journey home.

He found his mother sitting in silence, her back to the door. She did not turn her face to him as he entered. He braced his lanky frame, not daring to allow himself to delay his confession even a moment, lest he forever lose the courage to do so. “Mother,” rasped he, his voice hesitant and broken. “I have disgraced you!”

Hannah Thornton sat immovably. Her reply was faint, spoken in a shaken tone. “You could never disgrace me, John. You are my son.”

He closed his eyes and swallowed. “You do not know what I have done, Mother!”

She turned to him at last, her ebony gaze tipping up to him. “I saw, John. I was on the street. I saw you go in, and I saw you leave.”

He groaned and sat in the chair behind her, his face in his hands. “I have no right to even speak to you,” he mumbled between his fingers. “What must you think of your son, Mother?”

“I think my son is a man,” Hannah answered simply.

He lifted his face. “I am a fool! A selfish braggart who wished to please himself, to the detriment of his family!”

“A boy,” Hannah commented softly, “would not have come to such a conclusion.”

He shuddered in another vexatious sob. “I have acted the coward this day, Mother! I thought to hide for a time from my own cares, and I have only increased your burden.”

Hannah stood at last and her soft footsteps approached him. She rested a gentle hand on his shoulder as he hid his face from her. “John,” she commanded his attention. Regretfully, he raised his eyes to her. “It is not evidence of manhood to display your prowess before others. A man’s nobility is his own, independent of circumstances or prevailing opinions. Others may slink in shame and then try to cover their degradation, but that is not a path you need follow. You are free to choose a better way, but none other can determine your course for you.”

He blinked, still uncomfortable holding her gaze. “Mother,” he whispered, “I would have you know that nothing happened.”

“I know, John.” She pulled the flimsy chair on which she had sat near to him. She rested herself at his side, and took his blood-streaked hand in hers. She squeezed it faintly, looking down as if gathering her thoughts. Once she felt able to continue, she locked eyes with her young man.

“One day, my son, some other woman will catch your eye. She will be fine and strong, and worthy of you, my John. Do not give your strength, your dignity, or your affections to one less deserving, for you would rob the woman you love of what ought rightfully to be hers.”

His breath caught. His mother placed so much faith in him, but all of these glorious hopes of hers seemed so distant just now! “Mother,” he shook his head, “I cannot at present see beyond our debts. What woman would ever have me?”

Her face warmed gently, and she caressed his newly rough cheek with a tender hand. “A very fortunate one, John.”

He tried to return her smile. “I went to Father’s grave today,” he murmured, as though the two subjects were somehow linked together.

Hannah’s expression fell in mute surprise. “Oh?” she replied, trying to keep the tremour from her voice.

His gaze lost focus, as though he were looking through her rather than at her. “I think I understand something, Mother. What I want- what I expect… and what Father could not see.”

She swallowed. “And what is that, John?”

His jaw clenched. “Honour. I wish to be a man of honour, Mother. And I shall begin by honouring the man who set me on this course. I shall no longer despise him, Mother. If not for he, I would not face my present difficulties. I choose to be strengthened, rather than broken. I will care for you and Fanny in every way, and I will look back with respect for the opportunity I have been granted.”

Hannah released a tight breath. “Then, my John, you are indeed a man now.”

.

***

Isn’t this an amazing view of John Thornton as a teenager?

It is impressive how Mrs. Clarkston captured John and Hanna’s personalities. Their actions and inner thoughts are just as I would imagine them to be in this situation and when I finished reading this vignette I wanted to know more, I wanted to know how John’s life progressed until he became a Master. I am afraid Mrs. Clarkston has created in me a curiosity that wasn’t there before, and I’m really hoping she can satisfy this curiosity in the guest posts she will have on the upcoming blog tour!

Also, I could clearly relate this scene to the opening scene of Northern Rain, and something tells me that in the future we might be presented with a prequel to this recently released book. Wouldn’t that be interesting? I have never read a prequel to North and South, and I would love to see John’s struggles and growth through the years, it must have been a hard but interesting journey. But until then, I’ll have Northern Rain to feed my soul 🙂

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(Sorry, couldn’t resist the older version…)

 

***It’s giveaway time!***

NR Final FC4 061916To celebrate the release of Northern Rain, Nicole Clarkston would like to offer to my readers 5 copies of the book: 4 e-books and one signed paperback!

The giveaway is international and to participate all you have to do is comment this post.

Let us know what you thought of the vignette, the Northern Rain’s release, if you have read any of Mrs. Clarkston’s other books or anything else North and South related.

The giveaway is open until the 8th of July and the lucky winners will be randomly picked and announced a few days later.

Good luck everyone!

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Interview with Trudy Brasure & Giveaway

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Hello everyone,

As you must have noticed, last week I returned from my holidays and posted a review on In Consequence, a North and South variation by Trudy Brasure. But before going on holidays, I also told you that this month From Pemberley to Milton would have a lot of surprises with interviews, guests post and giveaways so, today I am happy to share with you an interview with author Trudy Brasure.

If you already know Mrs. Brasure I hope you find this interview interesting, and in case you don’t, I hope it makes you curious about her and her work. She is one of the biggest supporters of North and South discussion groups as well as one of the most known authors of N&S fan fiction, and I was very happy to receive her in my blog.

 

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Interview with Trudy Brasure

When was your first contact with Gaskell’s work and what captivated you about it?

I stumbled upon the BBC’s adaptation of “North and South” in October 2009. It was a pivotal event for me. I’d never heard of Elizabeth Gaskell before. Richard’s performance of the lonely and misunderstood John Thornton was utterly riveting. I don’t think I’d ever seen a romantic hero as vulnerable as Thornton was during that profoundly moving scene with his mother the night before he proposed. The intensity of emotion in this love story is amazing. Both Margaret and John are striving so hard to do what is right in life, and they’re holding their families up — yet they’re really both quite alone.

 

 

know you are not alone in being captivate by Armitage’s performance. Do you think he is the biggest reponsible for North and South’s success?

I do think that Richard Armitage’s performance of John Thornton is the single most compelling factor in the BBC’s 2004 production of “North and South.”  Gaskell’s story is unique in its exquisite description of Thornton’s anguish, and Armitage is able to brilliantly convey all this intense emotion — often without even saying a word!

Armitage has brought thousands to Gaskell’s great story, and I’m immensely grateful he was chosen for that role. It was perfection. However, I must add that this particular BBC production was a masterpiece in every way. The screenplay, the cast, the cinematography, the setting, and the music all combined to make this mini-series truly stunning. And Gaskell’s story is well worth the attention and praise. Her themes are still very relevant to today’s problems.

 

Why did you decide to write North and South fan fiction?
I couldn’t stop thinking about the heartache Margaret and John went through in Gaskell’s story. I was convinced that if they had only known that the other was in love with them at that terrible good-bye scene when Margaret leaves Milton, they could have avoided a painful year apart. So I began to image a scenario in which they could be brought together much sooner. I spent days and weeks thinking about the exact circumstancs and dialogue.

I had discovered the glorious world of fan fiction at C19 since my discovery of “North and South,” so I knew that people wrote their own version of what happened to Margaret and John in sequels and variations.

The story unfolding in my mind was becoming so clear, I knew I wanted to try to write it out. Thank goodness for C19! It was a lovely place to try my hand at writing fiction.

 

C19 is definitly heaven for any North and South fans. When did you know it was time to go from writing in C19 to publishing a book?

I never thought of publishing my story when I wrote it. But then a fellow C19 member suggested I post “A Heart for Milton” at Wattpad.com, and I found that my story had a much broader appeal than I ever imagined. It gave me confidence that I had written something special. Sometime later I began to notice how many Austen stories were being self-published, and I saw that there was one “North and South” variation being sold at Amazon. I really wanted to share my story with as many “North and South” fans as possible, so it wasn’t long before I decided to try self-publishing. It’s been a wonderful experience – even the bad reviews. They’ve helped me understand how others see Gaskell’s story.

 

Both your books are variations from the original story, do you have a particular preference for this genre or can we expect a sequel, prequel or diferente POV in the future?
I love taking one moment from the original story and changing it to see how everything unravels in a completely new way. I love putting the characters in new situations to see how they would react.

I don’t think I can ever write a straight sequel. I adore writing the angst involved when Thornton is still uncertain of Margaret’s love. Tortured Thornton is just too delicious to avoid.

My current work in progress takes a twist in a whole new place, far from the middle of Gaskell’s work. I seem to keep creeping further and further toward earlier chapters with my variations.

Posts under progress3

You’ve got me really curious about your new work, what else can you tell us about it?

As I mentioned, I love to make one twist in the story and explore how it would change events and the interaction between the characters. I don’t want to give too much away, but my basic question for this new variation is: what if the circumstances and setting of John and Margaret’s first encounter were different?

 

Both in A Heart for Milton and In Consequence we see a lot of romantic scenes, but we are also presented with a portrait of Victorian society. Did you need to do a lot of research to write these books?

I was reading everything I could about Abraham Lincoln before I happened upon Gaskell’s story. So I had already been immersed in the Victorian world for some time. I’ve always loved the Victorian Era. But yes, I did much research to try to portray something of the reality of that time and place. I also learned a great deal about Victorian society and mannerisms from the “North and South” discussions archived at C19.

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Have you ever imagined a variation where Bessy wouldn’t die? How do you think that could impact the story?

I can’t say I’ve ever thought about saving Bessy from her fate. It seems like she’s already quite ill by the time Margaret meets her. If Bessy hadn’t died, Margaret wouldn’t have been so friendless. Bessy would have loved watching Margaret become Thornton’s wife. Then Bessy would surely have been invited at some time to dine at Marlborough Mills!

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Apart from John and Margaret, which is the character that you mostly like to write and develop?

I really enjoy developing Hannah. Outwardly, she has such a tough shell. But there is a warmth underneath that I love drawing out. It would be interesting to write her history. But I don’t think I’ll ever get around to that!

I also love writing Higgins and Mr Bell with elements of their insight and humor.

 

You say Hanna has a warmth underneath that you love drawing out, but I’ve seen a couple versions who portray her as an evil person. Why do you think she is so controverse amongst readers and writers?

Hannah Thornton truly is something of a complicated character. She’s a bit like her son: tough outer shell, but tender inside. However, her tender side is hidden much more deeply than John’s. I think the misunderstanding concerning Hannah comes from the tendency to see only the surface of the character – the crusty, unsmiling part. Also I’d have to say that it would be difficult to truly comprehend Hannah by just viewing the mini-series. If you haven’t studied the book, you will probably miss the hints that show us that Hannah actually admires Margaret’s strength, spirit, and honesty. The only thing that she dislikes about Margaret is that Margaret looks down on her son and hurts him. Once she sees how much Margaret truly admires and adores her son, I think she will grow to appreciate Margaret. Even if she can’t be first in John’s life anymore!

(Hannah is a subject I’m eager to explore someday at my new blog: MoreThanThornton.com)

 

It is impossible to think of North and South without thinking of Richard Armitage. Many people claim he would be perfect for a Mr. Darcy role, but for me Armitage will always be Thornton and Firth will always be Darcy. What are your thoughts on it?
I have to confess that I watched and read “North and South” first before watching and reading “Pride and Prejudice.” It was “North and South” that ignited my interest in period dramas and classic romantic literature. So I can’t say I was ever firmly in love with Darcy since Thornton is my first love. No one can beat Richard’s performance, however. He has defined John Thornton for the screen probably for at least a half century.

If I could pick a classic role for Armitage, I’d have to choose Mr. Rochester. Richard is brilliant at making you feel the pain of his characters. And I think Rochester is a good man in a very hard place. Richard would make us sympathize with this dark, mysterious character. (But I also think Toby Stephens already did an incredible job with this role.)

 

Is there anything you would like to share with your readers?

I’d have to share my surprise in finding out that not all fans of “North and South” interpret Gaskell’s story in the same way. My guess is that most Austen fans generally agree on the basic themes and character development of “Pride and Prejudice.” But there are varying views on Gaskell’s messages and her character development, including those that feel that the author was unable to bring the story’s conflicts to a satisfying conclusion.

I’m always eager to share my perspective of Gaskell’s wonderful, well-developed story — which I see in a very positive light. That’s one of the overiding reasons I started my own North and South blog: MoreThanThornton.org
But mostly, I just love discussing “North and South” with people! There’s so much in the book to explore.

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To all my portuguese speaking readers, I bring some news. A Heart For Milton was finally translated to portuguese!!!

As you can see in the picture, Trudy Brasure is holding a copy of Um Coração por Milton.

The book is currently available for sale in Brazil, but I’m confidente it will reach portuguese bookshops very shortly 🙂

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It’s giveaway time!!!

Trudy Brasure would like to offer one copy of In Consequence, e-book or paperback (winner’s choice) to our readers at From Pemberley to Milton.

The giveaway is international and to participate all you have to do is place your own questions to Trudy or just share your kind words and love with her by leaving a comment on this post.

The giveaway is open until the 17th of March and the lucky winner will be randomly picked and announced on the 19th of March.

Good luck everyone, and I hope you enjoyed the interview!!!

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Filed under giveaway, interview, North and South

In Consequence

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I’ve read In Consequence a while back and it has become one of my favorite fan fiction books from North and South. It is not a continuation, but a variation that starts with Mr. Thornton’s dinner party and follows the premise that it is not Margaret who is hit by the rock during the strike, but Mr. Thornton. This may seem a small change in the story, as Margaret still attempts to protect Mr. Thornton and therefore he still proposes to her, but it is actually an important detail as it soften Margaret’s heart towards Mr. Thornton, and may be the reason why she finds herself accepting his proposal without really knowing why she is doing it.

So, what if Margaret felt so astonished by Mr. Thornton’s proposal she says yes? Can you imagine it? I can, and the possibilities that would come from this change made me want to continue reading this book for hours and hours.

After the engagement, the book continues with Bessie’s death, Nicholas discovering about the engagement and Margaret feeling she has made the wrong choice. This premise was written in a very realistic way and it felt very true to the characters, especially because the author shows us their inner struggles regarding these changes in their lives and decisions.

Mr. Thornton starts thinking about what Margaret’s opinion of him might be and decides to show her how affectionate and caring he can be. He sends a beautiful coffin for Bessy and writes a letter to Margaret that is so sincere and touching, that she is persuaded not to break her promise to marry him. From this moment on, we see John trying to prove he can be worthy of Margaret but always feeling insecure about what she thinks and feels torwards him. I must confess I loved this Mr. Thornton as much as I loved seeing how Margaret’s affection for him grew.

It was delightful to see Margaret realizing how much Mr. Thornton affected her, and endearing to see her slowly falling in love with him. In Consequence is full of Margaret and John moments and it is perfect for someone as romantic as I am. Their time in London was beautiful to read as their debates were interesting, witty and showed how much they respected one another. With all this, Trudy Brasure gave me a joy I have not felt with some other North and South fan fiction books.

I don’t want to give too much away, but obviously, the couple will be madly in love in this story and, once Margaret is certain she loves Mr. Thornton, we witness a lot of romantic moments that make this a very romantic book. However, despite loving the romance in the book, I think it’s value was increased by the fact that the author did not forget North and South was not only a romance , but also a portrait of society at the time, a description of the struggles several classes were facing. In In Consequence, those aspects are not dismissed. We still see the workers struggle, and we see Mr. Thornton getting to know them better. We also see Frederick, and are even presented with his perspective in the story which was an added value I truly enjoyed.

In Consequence is much more than a romance, it is a true homage to Mrs. Gaskell’s work.

 

In Consequence is available at:

Amazon.com –  In Consequence: A Retelling of North and South

Amazon.co.uk –In Consequence: A Retelling of North and South

Amazon.fr –In Consequence: A Retelling of North and South (English Edition)

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Filed under 4.5 stars, North and South

North and South: 10 Ways the Film Is Not Like the Book

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Hello Dear Readers,

I know you all love North and South, but do you love the book, the BBC adaptation or both?

Have you ever wondered about their differences?

Today I’m receiving a very special guest at From Pemberley to Milton to explain some of the differences between Elizabeth Gaskell’s book and the BBC adaptation.

Trudy Brasure has become a specialist in North and South and written 2 fan fiction books about it, one of them, In Consequence, is a favourite of mine and I will post the review in the upcoming weeks.

I hope you like her post 🙂

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I fell in love with the BBC’s adaptation of North and South first. And then, I slowly fell in love with Elizabeth Gaskell’s book as well. I’m a firm believer that you can love both, despite the inevitable discrepancies between the two forms of art. Here are some of the main differences I see between the film and the book from my perspective as one who reaches for her book when needing a dose of Thornton.

 

#1 The first meeting between John and Margaret

Hands down, this is the most dramatic and damaging alteration the screenwriter makes from the original source. A stormy confrontation in a frenetic setting completely upends the book’s version in which an outwardly calm exchange takes place between the newly arrived Southern girl and the Milton master in a sitting room of a hotel.

The damage? It paints Thornton as a volatile man, which is very far from the man of great self-control and self-discipline that Gaskell takes pains to describe in the book. (I’ve written about Thornton’s ‘temper’ here)

But I understand the reasons the film needed something more drastic to make Margaret’s disdain for Thornton more understandable for the modern audience. Margaret’s Victorian prejudice against a workingman like Thornton is too subtle for film. And the setting of a quiet room is not very exciting. However, I cringe at the violence we witness from Thornton. I’m convinced just grabbing Stephens and unceremoniously throwing him out of the mill would have been violent enough to shock Margaret’s sensibilities.

 

#2 Missing history of Margaret’s life in Helstone

In order to get the story rolling in Milton, the mini-series largely skips over the first 6 chapters of the book – chapters that let us get to know Margaret. Left on the cutting room floor is a significant part of what happened to our young heroine on a beautiful day in October when her entire world imploded.

On the very same day Henry proposes – the day that marks the end of her childhood as she had known it — her father drops the bombshell of his decision to leave his position and move to Milton, which shatters all the comfort and security Margaret clings to in her concept of home. The emotional anguish Margaret endures and the responsibility she shoulders during her remaining days in Helstone is only hinted at in the film.

And by the way, Mrs. Hale wasn’t happy in Helstone. Milton is just another reason to keep complaining – aided and abetted by the loyal Dixon.

 

#3 Henry and the Great Exhibition showdown

Although the lethal glares and verbal sparring between Henry and John at the Great Exhibition makes exquisite drama on film, such an exchange between the two suitors never took place in the book. The scene is a brilliant invention by the screenwriter, allowing the viewer to see the vivid contrast between Southern arrogance and sophistication and the Northern practical, earnest pride. Not only that, but the scene also works as a great device for showing us Margaret’s growing admiration for John and her new home — Milton. Throw in the historical setting of the Great Exhibition of 1851 — one of the England’s proudest moments, and this particular scene ranks as my favorite screenplay invention.

 

#4 Dinner party argument

The book has Margaret arguing with Thornton several times in the privacy of the Hales’ home. She isn’t so brazen as to chew out the host of an elegant dinner party in front of his own guests. But the public scorching does make good film drama, doesn’t it? Ann Latimer’s finishing school training would never have allowed her to do such an atrocious thing.

 

#5 Ann Latimer, the silent contender

And speaking of Ann…. There is no Ann Latimer in Gaskell’s book. Maybe this is why she doesn’t speak a word in the film. The mute but comely Ann serves her purpose well. She’s living proof that Hannah isn’t kidding when she boasts that her son is the catch of the town. Whenever Ann appears, we see Margaret’s uncomfortable reaction.

And the viewer is also expected to notice that John has no real interest Ann Latimer, even though she is finishing-school-perfect and mother-approved.

 

#6 Hannah in the mill

Nowhere does the book ever mention Hannah going to the mill. She wasn’t a dragon overseer of the business at all. It wasn’t her place to be physically involved in such work, although we know she was avidly interested in her son’s business and dealings.

Margaret never steps foot in the mill either. As a matter of fact, there aren’t really any scenes in the book that take place in the clanking, noisy cotton factory.

Adding mill scenes was essential in the film adaptation. The viewer absolutely needed to see the vivid reality of the world John lived in day in and day out. The moment Margaret slides that door open to enter his realm is unforgettable filmmaking magic.

 

#7 The sly and sprightly Mr Bell

You’ll be relieved to know that Mr. Bell doesn’t suggest matrimony to Margaret in the book. He does mention, however, that he would love to have Margaret as his caretaker or his charge. Mr. Bell’s character is used much the same in the book as in the film, he is perceptive of both Margaret’s value as a unique and strong woman and the mutual “something” going on between John and Margaret.

Unfortunately, the wealthy godfather doesn’t sail off to sunny Argentina in the book. He dies. Of gout. Yes, he’s described as portly in the book. But portly or lithe, I love Mr. Bell for his wit, his keen eye, and his appreciation for Margaret and Thornton.

 

#8 The bond between Mr Hale and Thornton

The relationship between John and the man who should have been his father-in-law is especially endearing as described in the book. The film only hints at this special friendship that developed between teacher and pupil. We don’t see anything of how John is a rock of spiritual strength to Mr. Hale in his grief after Mrs. Hale dies. (Margaret notices this gentle and profound side of Mr. Thornton’s character.) I miss this deeper aspect of the relationship between the two most important men in Margaret’s life.

 

#9 Bessy and religion

Gaskell was a compassionate Unitarian, married to a Unitarian minister. She put Christian morality into all her books. Bessy speaks a lot about God and looks forward to a happier afterlife. Margaret reads from the Bible to Bessy. Mr. Hale and Higgins talk of God in their exchange. Margaret is a devout follower of the Church of England who worries about her father’s breach with the church, and her brother’s marriage to a Catholic. The Thorntons do not attend the Church of England.

The harmonizing undertones of bringing characters of varying Christian faith together is mostly lost in the film. Glossing over the religious stuff is probably the modern way, but we lose something of the Victorian reality in skipping it.

 

#10 The train station ending

The ending of the BBC’s North and South is legendary. And rightfully so. If there were a hall of fame for screen kisses, then Richard Armitage would be venerated there for decades. I don’t think there’s anything to beat The Kiss. It’s pure romantic heaven to watch the tension and misunderstandings of 4 episodes melt into the blissful, tender connection on that station bench.

But, as most people know, Margaret and John don’t meet at the train station in the book, and they certainly don’t seal their final understanding of each other’s feelings by a kiss in public – scandalous behavior! Gaskell’s ending has Thornton come to London, and the final pages place the lovers in a back drawing room – without Henry’s disapproving eyes on them!

Yes, the film ending is breath-taking and brilliant. The range of emotions shown in a matter of moments, the symbolism of finding each other at a half-way point, the open-collar of a man usually tied and bound by his routine, the drama of making a final choice at the sound of the whistle – it all makes the scene exquisite and rich with meaning. And I haven’t even taken into account the acting! I could never condemn the ending, it’s a gift to the world of romantic period drama. It’s a vision etched in the mind and hearts of those fortunate enough to have watched it.

Yet, I love the book ending, too. Line by line, it’s packed with more trembling passion than the film’s final scene. And then there is Thornton on his knees, a silent body-to-body embrace, a brief mutual apology, and some sweet playfulness that leads to a private kiss of unspecified duration. Sigh.

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***Author bio***

1446433210076Trudy Brasure is the author of A Heart for Milton, one of the most well-loved continuation stories based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s work. She is known throughout the worldwide community of avid North and South fans for her knowledge of and insights on Gaskell’s story and characters. She has spent the past six years actively discussing and studying North and South and other Victorian literature.

As a hopeless romantic and an fervent enthusiast for humanity’s progress, she loves almost nothing more than to engage in discussion about North and South.

You can find out more about Trudy and her work at:

http://www.morethanthornton.com/

If you are curious about her books, you can find them at Amazon on the links below:

 

A Heart for Milton: A Tale from North and South

In Consequence: A Retelling of North and South


 

And if you still do not own a copy of the BBC adaptation, you can always find it here:

North and South (BBC)

 

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John & Margaret – Coming Home with me

coming home with me2.5 stars

This book is a continuation of BBC’s adaption of North & South, not Elizabeth Gaskell’s book, this means that it starts right were the series left of: at the train station. 

I personally love BBC’s adaptation, and I adore the train station scene. As any North and South fan, I always wanted more! I wanted to know what happened during the train trip to Milton. 

This book gave me that! 

I loved reading the first pages as I was finally reading Margaret and John professing their love to each other and confessing everything that was in their souls. It was beautiful! However, after some pages it becomes too much and a bit boring. After a certain point I started to feel that there was no interesting plot, just characters continuously speaking of their feelings. 

But the book does come around and some twists are created. Mrs. Thornton becomes quite a villain making Margaret’s live a living hell, and we discover (spoiler alert) that she is the one who killed John’s father. Some readers might not like these twists but I did.

The book is not one of my favourites due to several aspects on the plot, character development and writting and I can not say it gave true pleasuse to read it all the time, but some parts were appealing, and the first pages are really good.

 

Coming Home With Me is available at:

Amazon.com – Coming Home With Me

Amazon.co.uk – John & Margaret – Coming Home With Me: A Continuation of North & South

Amazon.fr – John & Margaret – Coming Home With Me: A Continuation of North & South (English Edition)

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Unmapped Country

51d256Yx5XL__SX345_BO1,204,203,200_4.5 stars

I love Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, and Unmapped Country was the first what if story I’ve read about it.

I bought my kindle just so that could read this book (only available on kindle at the time) and I do not regret it.

Unmapped Country creates an what if story starting with Margaret moving back to Milton after making her business proposition to Mr. Thornthon. The storyline is plausible and interesting, the characters are faithful to the ones Gaskell created and the author didn’t need to use sexual scenes to keep the love story appealing and to show the intensity of the feelings the characters had for one another. I believe Miss Gaskell would be proud of this book.

I’ve read this book twice and the first time I read it I felt everything about it was perfect, I wouldn’t change a thing.
The second time I read it, I felt a bit disappointed as I could not feel the same intensity I felt the first time, but it might have happen because it was no longer new to me and I had read some other fan fiction books of North and South by that time.

I still hope the author writes more of these books! I can not get enough of John and Margareth.

 

Unmapped Country is available at:

Amazon.com Unmapped Country

Amazon.co.uk – Unmapped Country: the story of North & South continues

Amazon.fr – Unmapped Country: the story of North & South continues (English Edition)

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