Tuesday, September 15, 2009

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

My first read in the Back to School challenge.

I waited sometime after reading this book to figure out what I thought of it, but I'm still not sure. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. I think I was subconsciously comparing it to Wives and Daughters, which was my first Gaskell read - and so far, my favorite.

North and South started out good enough. With the moving to Milton, the early interaction with Thornton. The subtle arguments between Margaret and Thornton were thoroughly entertaining.

I found that I was comparing Margaret and Thornton to Elizabeth and Darcy, but minus the witty dialogue.

I remember thinking when the riot hit, "Oh! This is getting good!" However, I felt myself getting bored soon after, only picking up when Frederick came home and then dying again soon after.

The dialogue by certain characters made me want to bash my head against the desk. It was excruciating to try to read. I get that they have a thick accent, but egads! And in the second half of the book I felt Margaret became thoroughly irritating, and I can't fathom why.

I'm sad that I didn't love this book, after all the positive, glowing reviews I've heard. Perhaps that's what did me in? I did like it, but it's by far not Gaskell's best work.

I look forward to watching the mini-series, which I feel will be more enjoyable.


Amy said...

Nice review! I think I'd be comparing it to Wives and Daughters as well. Perhaps I'll give Gaskell a little rest!

Christy B said...

It's hard to help comparing, especially when I loved W&D so much. I wonder if I'd have viewed N&S different if I read it first?