"North and South" by Elizabeth Gaskell is about the young woman Margaret, who has to leave her beloved country home, because of her father's troubled mind.
So they move into the industrial town of Milton where she is instantly repulsed by her surroundings. Her father starts working as a tutor who teaches the workers by reading classics with them. That is how Margaret first meets the manufacturer John Thornton (he is a private student).
They become opponents concerning treatment of worker's, importance of industry...
Margaret representing the South and Thornton the North.
The whole book is filled with such contrasting opinions as the title already suggests.
I have to admit that this book came to my attention, because I am a great fan of Jane Austen and had read Pride and Prejudice just lately. But although I was almost certain that there could never be a better and more romantic book than P&P Gaskell's "North and South" taught me to think again.
It contains so many emotions and the characters seem even more realistic than a Darcy or an Elizabeth that this book is even better I would say.
The character's are not always as perfect and Gaskell's sense for topics such as poverty, misfortune also add a tragic and critical side to the book.
I would definitely recommend to read it (and the same goes for the movie)!!!