First note: this book isn’t about the Civil War, as the title made me ignorantly think before I read it. It is by a British author set in England.
When I came across the proposal in the second chapter, I started wondering if this would be just another Victorian novel, some generic comedy of errors perhaps, but Gaskell sure got me interested as Margaret’s life is quickly uprooted and spun about in ways she, and we, couldn’t expect.
North and South has been a very enjoyable read. Gaskell’s masterful storytelling is akin to Jane Austen in its exposure of human relationships and Charles Dickens in its social commentary. Gaskell forces her characters to address big topics like social class, labor rights, environmental concerns head-on. I keep asking myself over and over again why I haven’t ever read this book before.