North and South  By  cover art

North and South

By: Elizabeth Gaskell
Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson

Publisher's summary

Exclusively from Audible

Written at the request of Charles Dickens, North and South is a book about rebellion; it poses fundamental questions about the nature of social authority and obedience. Gaskell expertly blends individual feeling with social concern, and her heroine, Margaret Hale, is one of the most original creations of Victorian literature.

When Margaret Hale's father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience she is forced to leave her comfortable home in the tranquil countryside of Hampshire and move with her family to the fictional industrial town of Milton in the north of England. Though at first disgusted by her new surroundings, she witnesses the brutality wrought by the Industrial Revolution and becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers. Sympathetic to the poor she makes friends among them and develops a fervent sense of social justice. She clashes with the mill-owner and self-made man, John Thornton, who is contemptuous of his workers. However, their fierce opposition masks a deeper attraction.

Gaskell based her depiction of Milton on Manchester, where she lived as the wife of a Unitarian minister. She was an accomplished writer, much of her work published in Charles Dickens' magazine Household Words including North and South which was originally published as a serial. She was also friends with Charlotte Brontë and after her death, her father, Patrick Brontë, chose Gaskell to write The Life of Charlotte Brontë.

Narrator Biography

Whether she's up on stage, behind the microphone or in front of the camera, Juliet Stevenson never fails to charm her audience...whoever they may be. Acting roles in Truly, Madly Deeply, Emma, Bend It like Beckham and Mona Lisa Smile have cemented her status as one of the great British actresses of our time. Meanwhile, her popular performances of hits such as Apple Tree Yard, the book that was turned into a TV series that people just couldn't stop talking about, have earned her an overwhelming amount of well-deserved praise for her spoken word talents.

Public Domain (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"[An] admirable story...full of character and power." (Charles Dickens)

Featured Article: The Audible Essentials—The Top 100 Romance Listens of All Time


With thousands of romance titles releasing every year across a huge swath of subgenres, it’s a tall order to choose the best among the bunch. So our romance editors listened, debated, and listened some more to bring you this list of the 100 must-hear romances on Audible. From Regency to contemporary, love at first sight to second-chance romance and every trope in between, there’s a story here for every romance fan.

Editor's Pick

The concerns of this novel felt surprisingly contemporary
"North and South was recommended to me as an ‘if you love Pride and Prejudice you'll love this' comparison. But actually, it doesn’t possess the same cheer and levity as an Austen classic, and that's a good thing. Gaskill jumps into the heavy issues contemporary to her day: labor disputes, the interplay between industry and class in different parts of England, poverty, and the role of the church as an arbiter of power. There is so much rich description—lovingly untangled and delivered by the inimitable Juliette Stevenson—of a now-vanished but still relevant world, that the listener walks away more educated (while also a little romanced)."
Emily C., Audible Editor