Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday=Book Review Time--sans Richard Armitage

Up for today: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (Today's review requested by Mary Kay. If you see anything you'd like reviewed in the Books Read in 2010 list, just let me know. I have 4 in the queue right now.)


Why I bought it? I had seen the BBC version with Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe and adored it. If you haven't seen it yet, put it on your netflix queue. You'll thank me later. I got the Norton Critical Edition with all the footnotes and commentaries through Amazon.

Synopsis: Margaret Hale is uprooted from the idyllic life she has lived in the south of England and moves to the fictional town of Milton in the north when her minister father leaves the Church of England. The abrupt descent into relative poverty is very difficult for her as is the change of lifestyle from the agrarian south to the industrial north. She sympathizes with the workers in the cotton mills and their plight. When she meets the owner of one of the mills, Mr. Thornton, they clash over class issues. (This is different than the movie. It is much more subtle.) He falls for her, but she feels he's completely inappropriate for her. There are a lot of political and social issues along the way, but, ultimately, this is a story about love.

What I thought? I loved it. Some of the things that I didn't like in the movie were different in the book. Very nice. I love the Mr. Thornton in the book more than the one in the movie (even though I think Richard Armitage plays him brilliantly). It has a slow start and a quick finish, but despite those drawbacks, I still love it. Gaskell tells a wonderful story full of flawed, yummy characters. Even Charles Dickens liked Gaskell's work. (They were contemporaries.) Since I read it the first time (this was a reread), I've read all of Gaskell's finished novels, and all were enjoyable--some more than others.

My Rating: ***** out of 5

Cleanness Score: 3 out of 10, This is more for themes than anything else. I thought about giving it a 2, but there is some violence and a suicide (off scene) and several natural deaths. It's a book intended for an adult audience, but I wouldn't have a problem with my teens reading it.

18 comments:

Tess said...

ooo 5 out of 5? I don't know if I'd read the book but I think I'll put the movie on my netflix list.

happy Monday :D

Samantha Bennett said...

Ooh, I will have to check it out! I've never read anything by this author.

Tara said...

I've never read any of his stuff. But, a 5 of 5 - that's a pretty good review.

L.T. Elliot said...

I love Elizabeth Gaskell and that movie ROCKED. That scene with the proposal? Best ever!

Amie Kaufman said...

I'm another who hasn't read anything by this author, but it looks like it'd be right up my alley, thanks for the review!

Domey Malasarn said...

I do like flawed, yummy characters! Thanks for the review of this book, Lois. I've never read any of Gaskell's work.

Erinn said...

I love your reviews. YAY.
Grown up books, I don't read to many of those. I don't know a lot about the time period but it sounds very interesting. I may have to check it out.

Patti said...

Great review. I really need to get netflicks.

T. Anne said...

Actually it sounds more lively than I would have imagined. Thanks for the review.

Silicon Valley Diva said...

Oh, so glad I stopped by! I'm always looking for suggestions on what to read & watch. I just LOVE these type of novels. I'm downloading a sample on my Kindle and going to add to my Netflix queue.

ali said...

I haven't ever read the book, but I loved the movie way back when. It's been a long time since I've read a classic--might have to give it a go!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Great review. I've never heard of the book, but that's not surprising. I'm pretty clueless when it comes to the world outside YA. ;)

Silicon Valley Diva said...

Hey, just wanted to add that I just noticed it's only .95 in the Kindle store. W00t!

lotusgirl said...

Enjoy the reading and the movie. SVD, .95--what a deal. Another thing I love about Kindles.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hmm...sounds like one I'd love. And 5 out of 5 stars! Great!
Can't wait!

Susan Fields said...

You write a great review! I always have a hard time writing them but I love your style. Sounds like a great book!

Jessie Oliveros said...

Well my absolute favorite of Gaskell's is Wives and Daughters which I've read three times (after seeing the brilliant movie). (Now I've seen the movie too many times to count.) I've read Cranford (and someday you and I can have a discussion about that book vs movie like that in the sequel they killed off one of the BEST CHARACTERS.) I've read North and South, which I enjoyed too, but I don't think I'd revisit it as often as I do W&D I suppose because it is a slower, more difficult read. However, I did enjoy it, and I was sad that the ending was so rushed. I found out that it was rushed b/c Gaskell wrote it in parts for Dickens' Household Words and misunderstood how many weeks she'd have to write it in. Anyway, I'm a big Gaskell fan if you can't tell.

lotusgirl said...

Jessie, I haven't seen the 2nd Cranford movie. I need to do that, but maybe not if they kill off one of the best characters. I have mixed emotions about the first one. I still haven't read Wives and Daughters. For some reason I think I'll be unsatisfied at the end because she didn't finish it. Obviously that doesn't matter since you love it so much. I'll have to give it a read. I enjoyed the movie.