Today I’m devoting to one of my favorite heroes, Mr. John Thornton of North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell.
I’m a fan of historical fiction, but I confess I didn’t discover North and South until this past year. Elizabeth Gaskell was a contemporary of Charles Dickens and wrote historical fiction in England in the Victorian era. And no, this North and South isn’t about the antebellum south of the US, it’s about the north and south of England.
In the book, Margaret, the heroine of the book, moves with her mother and father from the south of England, the places we’re all familiar with from books by Jane Austen, to the north, the industrial part of the country. She meets John Thornton, a man who’s made a success of himself through hard work in cotton mills, to the point he owns a huge mill in town.
North and South reminds me strongly of Pride and Prejudice, but with a twist. Margaret owns the prejudice title in this book and John the pride. And I’m going to make to some a sacriligious statement, I prefer Mr. Thornton over Mr. Darcy.
John Thornton is proud, but is also passionate. He doesn’t find anything wrong with stating his opinion with passion, nothing wrong with telling Margaret he loves her, and holds little back. He’s as alpha as they come (more so in the mini series than the book, but still alpha enough), though he doesn’t come to fisticuffs or violence. I suppose it’s all in the attitude.
All in all, I loved the book and encourage all to read it. Let me know what you think. Did you prefer the mini series over the book? Or are you a purist and love the book above all?