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North and South | [Elizabeth Gaskell]

North and South

When Margaret Hale moves with her father from the comfort of the south of England to the industrial north, she is at first repulsed by what she sees; and then when she discovers the conditions under which the workers are forced to live, she is outraged. But this throws her into direct conflict with the powerful young mill-owner, John Thornton. Using personal passions to explore deep social divisions, North and South is a great romance and one of Elizabeth Gaskell's finest works.
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Publisher's Summary

When Margaret Hale moves with her father from the comfort of the south of England to the industrial north, she is at first repulsed by what she sees; and then when she discovers the conditions under which the workers are forced to live, she is outraged. But this throws her into direct conflict with the powerful young mill-owner, John Thornton. Using personal passions to explore deep social divisions, North and South is a great romance and one of Elizabeth Gaskell's finest works.

Public Domain (P)2010 Naxos Audiobooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (89 )
5 star
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3 star
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Overall
4.4 (58 )
5 star
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3 star
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Story
4.5 (53 )
5 star
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4 star
 (15)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Lisa Colorado Springs, CO, United States 05-07-10
    Lisa Colorado Springs, CO, United States 05-07-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So Glad I Went The Distance!"

    I am SO GLAD I bought this book and experienced it through audio! I love the movie and so almost didn't bother, thinking I'd experienced it adequately - was I wrong! The book is SO much clearer and livelier!! And the narrator is absolutely stunning! Her voices and accents are amazing - she pegs the Northern British accent versus the Southern just perfectly as well as the working class versus the educated class at that time in Great Britain. Truly, her reading captivated me! I was lost in it and really felt sad when it was over!! If you're contemplating buying, contemplate no longer! It is worth every penny and so, so much more! Enjoy!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer austin, TX, United States 02-26-10
    Jennifer austin, TX, United States 02-26-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful"

    Clare Wille is excellent. This is my first book she's narrated, but I will definitely purchase her again. I don't know why so many classics get read by bad narrators, but they do. I spend too much of my classics reading time trying to tune out narrators, but Wille is able to capture the characters, including (at least to my untrained ear) all the variations in accent attributable to class and regional differences. She moves the story along, but doesn't overwhelm it, which is all I ask of a narrator.
    I focus on the narrator some, in part, because North and South is so obviously wonderful. It is my personal favorite of Gaskell's works. Not only is there a sweet and wonderful romance with characters who are real and flawed and therefore more appealing than some of her other flawless heroes and heroines, but she captures in this work a society in change. The intense struggles that form the background of the work are mesmerizing. There is the struggle between older ideas of good society- landed gentry who show merciful condesention to the people beneath them- and the rising power of industry, which brings with it people who may not have the advantages of birth or breeding but who, through labor and intellect, use their influence to shape their world. She also captures the struggle between the masters and the men, their interdependant and yet oppositional relationship, as well as touching on the problems in the Church of England, from which Mr. Hale becomes a Dissenter.
    All of these various facets come together in an amazingly honest account of the terrible tragedies and wonderful triumphs of each system. It is masterfully written and beautifully read.
    If I were to have any criticism, it would be that things happen to fall together in an extremely fortuitous and unlikely way. That doesn't really bother me though. It's well done enough that you don't care how it workd out, only that it does.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lillian WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA, United States 02-11-13
    Lillian WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA, United States 02-11-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Loved the story and the performance!"
    What did you like best about this story?

    I am an Bronte and Austen fan (amongst other classic British authors). I loved the, "Pride and Prejudice" style romance set against the backdrop of the industrial revolution. This setting adds an intensity that is not in Jane Austen's story, but It almost made the story seem more realistic or relatable.


    What does Clare Wille bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I felt that the narrator did an excellent job of portraying the characters including the voice changes and the accents used. I like to listen to audiobooks at night. The narrator's voice is pleasant to listen to; not boring and not grating.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kate ARLINGTON, MA, United States 11-05-12
    Kate ARLINGTON, MA, United States 11-05-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Great story"
    If you could sum up North and South in three words, what would they be?

    Pride and Prejudice


    What was one of the most memorable moments of North and South?

    the last scene


    What about Clare Wille’s performance did you like?

    I liked her intonation and characters


    Any additional comments?

    If you like Jane Austen and have run out of Austens to read, this is your next step. A great story, great depth of character and philosophy, and a very entertaining and thought provoking story

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tonia PALM BAY, FL, United States 07-14-12
    Tonia PALM BAY, FL, United States 07-14-12
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    "Worth listening to to, but...."
    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The recording is disappointing. I found it to be tinny with a hollow ring to it and occassionally Ms. Wille speaks so softly that it's hard to hear and understand. I find myself turning it up and down and rewinding to catch what I missed. She does a good job with the characters and the variety of accents. It's too bad the recording isn't better


    Any additional comments?

    Other than the performance issues I mentioned, I liked the book. After watching a BBC production I was curious to read the book. It did not disappoint.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Shouse Omaha, Nebraska United States 04-12-12
    Michael Shouse Omaha, Nebraska United States 04-12-12 Member Since 2009

    dharmaking

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    "Much better than I expected"
    Where does North and South rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    Very near the top. Almost the equal of Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens.


    What other book might you compare North and South to and why?

    Thomas Hardy's FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD with its female protagonist.


    What aspect of Clare Wille???s performance would you have changed?

    Some of her rural or lower class English accents were very hard to understand.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No laughing or weeping, just satisfaction at a story well-told.


    Any additional comments?

    Quite a surprise. My first experience of Elizabeth Gaskell, but it won't be the last.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Ferwerda 06-29-11
    T. Ferwerda 06-29-11 Member Since 2003
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    "Irritated and Bored with this book"

    I am not sure whether it is the content of the story or the reader that irritates and bores me but I have tried twice and had to stop about midway as I would suddenly feel the need to throw my audio device through the window. I enjoyed the book up until the political/union rantings about midway through the book. I think it was more the readers choice of vocal tone rather than the content. The first part of the book she is more monotone than I usually like but boredom I felt was tolerable. Midway through the story she made the union members sound like drunken whiners; she made the company owners powerful mother sound like a whining drunken man. I would try this book either on paper or by another reader but can't finish with this one. I have enjoyed other audio books by the same author, very disappointing.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Chicago, IL, United States 12-29-12
    Jane Chicago, IL, United States 12-29-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Not enough character and emotional development."

    Too wordy. But probably very good for fans of British historical fiction.

    It shows what life was like in England in the mid 1800s. When someone from the north considered moving to the south, Margaret talked him out of it. She said people in the south work like beasts, outside in all types of weather, coming in at the end of the day with barely enough energy to eat and sleep. They have no energy for intellectual thought or discussion. In the north workers suffer lung diseases from breathing cotton dust in the factories. The air is polluted from coal burning. Workers’ wages are too low to provide decent food for families. One of the events is a strike with factory owners discussing options.

    Margaret Hale is the central figure. She lived in the south and then moved north with her parents. Two men fall in love with her, but she’s not interested. In the end she falls in love, but it was unexpected. I never saw Margaret develop feelings for him. She was emotionally distant the entire book, and then in the last two minutes of the book she communicates love. I wanted more relationship development. I wanted to hear internal thoughts, motivations, and feelings.

    What I liked best would be the plot and events in outline form - the ideas, actions, and motivations. But they were not developed in an entertaining way - not enough details or showing feelings. I didn’t understand enough about why Mr. Hale left the ministry. See Spoilers below for more.

    Mrs. Gaskell’s writing is probably better suited to fans who want to be immersed in the style of speaking back then. This was written in the 1850s. It was wordy - different from the writing of today. You need to pay attention carefully. My mind wandered too much. Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813 with a similar style of speaking/writing, but it was less of a problem for me.

    NARRATOR:
    There are different narrators for this book. I listened to the one by Clare Wille. She was fabulous. Such a range. She did many characters very well - male and female.

    Genre: historical fiction.

    -------------------------------------
    CAUTION SEMI-SPOILERS: I wanted more details about why someone’s business failed. I wanted to know why Lennox did not show up for a meeting at the end. What were his thoughts and feelings about it? I had to make assumptions that were probably obvious, but I would have preferred having them shown.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah AUSTIN, TX, United States 09-01-12
    Deborah AUSTIN, TX, United States 09-01-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Much better than Juliet Stevenson"

    The Juliet Stevenson version drove me mad with its melodrama, but I am glad I tried again. Clare Wille is superb. Some find her dry - I though she hit just the right balance.

    The novel itself is excellent if slightly didactic. It's just a touch too a bit overt in the way it lays out the political issues of the time. That said, the debates are conveyed in an unusually even-handed way and put in the mouths of characters I really cared about.

    And for those who found the ending a let-down: Read it again. It's a tiny bit subtle but when you get it totally satisfying. And yes, I agree with the person who compared it with Far From the Madding Crown -- if you like one you will probably like the other

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chachi SLC, UT 03-10-12
    Chachi SLC, UT 03-10-12 Member Since 2007
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    "What a waste of 18+ hours!"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    It was the story that failed in this listening experience. There were times when I drifted off, unengaged in the story, only to find that minutes had passed and that, actually, I didn't miss anything important. I stuck with it because other reviewers said it was well worth it. Then, the ending! Good grief. I literally said out loud to myself when I heard,


    What was most disappointing about Elizabeth Gaskell???s story?

    The ending and the boring bits tossed all along the way. Yawn.


    What about Clare Wille???s performance did you like?

    She was brilliant. Fantastic ability to change accents so that you could identify characters. Well done.


    What character would you cut from North and South?

    Edith. She's witheringly dull.


    Any additional comments?

    Don't waste your time. There are far better classics on the shelf.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 10 results
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  • attributionName
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great example of woman empowerment"
    If you could sum up North and South in three words, what would they be?

    Strength, tolerance, wisdom


    What was one of the most memorable moments of North and South?

    For me it's about the overall story.


    Which character – as performed by Clare Wille – was your favourite?

    None, they were all interesting


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It certainly made me think


    Any additional comments?

    I didn't think I would find such dept in a book from this era, yet it's way more open-minded and multi layered than most of today's productions.
    The simple opening theme, the fact that the father of the main character has not a crisis of faith but an unbearable disillusion towards his church, and how practically this news is taken from his daughter who simply endeavours to help as much as she can in all the arrangements that ensue, is more advanced than the pointless drama that we would surely see in a novel written in our days.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • daniela
    Stockholm, Sweden
    7/29/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Lovely the story but annoying reader."

    This book is one of my favorites as Gaskell's novels always are, and in the beginning I enjoyed the book.

    However, when the narrator endeavored to portray Nicholas Higgins voice, sometimes developing into quite long passages, due to the characters frequent and long but actually very interesting 'rants', it ultimately became impossible to continue listening. What is worse, this 'voice' spread itself to other characters further on in the book.

    The northern (?) accent the narrator attempted was perhaps plausible, I am not the best judge of that, but it was surely not necessary to spit out each word in such a manner that one could imagine the pages of the narrators copy taking quite a bit of damage from the excessive amount of saliva they were probably exposed to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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