Oh hello, Friday! Where did you come from? I’ve had a short work week, so my days are all thrown off. Today feels like my Wednesday, but also, holy heck am I glad it’s Friday because it has been a Week ™. But I am here today to talk to you about my favorite classic books. Well, my FAVORITE classic book. Singular. Because I’m about to hit you with a hugely underrated classic book and it’s not one written by an Austen or Brontë.
My dear gentlereaders, I give you my favorite classic novel:
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
But first a confession, I came to this novel via the BBC mini series. Before that fateful day, my classic novel reading list was basically Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, and whatever my high school teachers forced me to write essays about. Then one morning I was looking on Netflix for something to help me sleep (I may have been just a wee bit hungover) and I chose North and South. It did not give me sleep, but it did give me a super angsty romance set in the north of England during the Industrial Revolution. It also gave me Richard Armitage serving some broody AF looks.
I’ve seen North and South described as Pride and Prejudice set in the Industrial North, and while that’s fairly accurate, I can’t help but like North and South waaaaaaaaaaay more than Pride and Prejudice (DON’T @ ME!). I think N&S is darker, broodier, and has enough angst to keep me tied up in knots for days.
“He could not forget the touch of her arms around his neck, impatiently felt as it had been at the time; but now the recollection of her clinging defence of him, seemed to thrill him through and through,—to melt away every resolution, all power of self-control, as if it were wax before a fire.”
North and South is more than the romantic angst though. There is a deep exploration of the contentious relationships of the rich mill owners and the poor factory workers. Gaskell unflinchingly writes for both sides and it gives the novel an interesting historical depth.
Whenever someone asks for classic book recommendations, North and South is always what I give them. Usually I tell them to watch the mini series first because I’m a heathen, but really, having Richard Armitage in my head while I read the book was *chef kiss* perfection.
And on that note, I shall leave you with all the Mr. Thornton gifs that I looked at while writing this post…you’re welcome.
Oh heck, now I want to rewatch the BBC mini series…
*parkours on to couch, bottle of wine in hand, and opens Netflix faster than you can say “But what about Mr. Darcy?”*
Friday Favorite Posts from the Bookish Community: