North and South | Elizabeth Gaskell

Today I finished reading North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, a novel written in 1855, and set in the middle of the nineteenth century in industrial-era Northern England. It was: loaded with morality, extremely verbose, and stoic in its representation of its people, although I do dearly love the hard man of Mr. Thornton, until his strength gets reduced to the rubble of a blathering idiot in an effort to show he has the softer side of a human being. Blah! Human beings are boring, and blathering is often poorly executed, as becomes the case here.  

I enjoyed enough the banter and the attempt at tackling a huge topic of morality, affliction of conscientious thought, the differences of North and South England at the time, class struggles, religious struggles, prejudices, the roles of women in an increasingly-liberated society, and the acceptance of those opposite you; but the largest downfall was the book's rushed and unsatisfying ending. There is a build-up of a romance that runs as a thread throughout the entire book, but it is met with constant opposition, whereas neither party can find the way, time, acceptance of differences, or social ability to reveal true emotions. Finally, at the very end, there is a chance! Oh, our first chance to see an acknowledgment of mutual feeling! And it's burned out in a few rushed paragraphs spanning no more than a page or two that reduce our hard man to a lovelorn blubbering fool and give us no clearly-stated sign of release or relief from either party. Our only relief, I guess, is in knowing that it apparently turns out okay for them, although our unsatisfied hearts are broken for them that they never get to experience the pure joy of an embrace, a kiss, an exchanged smile, giddy laughter ... anything.  

Long story short: read through the entire book until you get near the end, and then simply watch the last ten minutes of the ending of the BBC drama mini-series adaptation instead, for it is a far superior and satisfying ending.

•I read this for free on my Kindle. I do not know the publisher or the author, obviously.•

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