North and South

  • by Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Narrated by Charlton Griffin
  • 20 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This is the story of Margaret Hale, a young English woman who accompanies her family's move from rural southern England to the industrial north. It proves to be a difficult change, with all the attendant social conflicts and cultural misunderstandings consequent to such situations. It is a study in contrasts. Mrs. Gaskell created one of the Victorian era's greatest heroines in Margaret Hale, a young lady of passionate intensity. Always filled with a fiery sense of justice, she feels herself, nevertheless, spiritually isolated from society. Margaret finds her new surroundings shocking. Though appalled by the dirt, noise and the gruffness of the mercantile city, she reserves her greatest contempt for the mill owners themselves. When charismatic mill owner John Thornton begins to take classics lessons from her father, Margaret's distaste for this vulgar "new class" of industrial magnates crystallizes.
Over time, Margaret's opinion of the mill workers begins to soften, though not toward the owners - which makes her strange attraction to John Thornton all the more remarkable. The wrenching series of labor problems and deaths that occur as the story progresses serves as a background to the inner struggles Margaret endures...the turmoil of private family life in contrast to the struggle against the overt poverty and deprivation she witnesses around her.
Listen to one of the greatest of all Victorian novels and let the artistry of Elizabeth Gaskell sweep you away to another time and place. Considered her finest work, North and South will keep you listening breathlessly to the very end.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An Awesome Classic

I loved the BBC dramatization and decided to give the audiobook a go. It's an amazing book. Much more than a love story, it gives a contrasting picture of two Victorian worlds: upper middle class London and the working class North. Gaskell creates complex, believable characters and raises questions about social inequity in the Industrial Revoluation. A wonderful listening experience.
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- Cariola

Great Literature, OK Reader

I enjoy reading old novels such as this, as it always gives an interesting perspective on what life was like - more than a simple history textbook can do. And this novel is no exception. Gaskell's writing delves really into the thought processes of her characters. Occasionally this piece can be a little too melodramatic for my tastes, but that does come with the territory of being a 19th C social novel. Overall, I highly enjoyed the work and would recommend it to anyone how enjoys this genre.

My only negative comment is that the narrator is - more often than not - too dragging to enjoy getting into the work. He specializes is reading classic literature (as I surmise from his list of credits) but his need to emphasize every word or sentence is quite draggy and often made me tune out his monotonous voice. I felt that he captured the essence of the older characters such as Mr. Hale or Mr. Bell; but his other characters did not have the right kind of energy for me. Be wary of this reader, unless you prefer long, drawn out readings and a performance that often did not feel like it lived up to the author's intended conveyance of her words.

Also, on a technical note about the reader, I felt that during long passages of dialog, the characters' voices were not consistent. This is my opinion - as one who deals with sound professionally - so please take or leave this criticism.
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- Roni

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-07-2007
  • Publisher: Audio Connoisseur