When Margaret Hale moves with her father from the comfort of the south of England to the industrial north, she is at first repulsed by what she sees; and then when she discovers the conditions under which the workers are forced to live, she is outraged. But this throws her into direct conflict with the powerful young mill-owner, John Thornton. Using personal passions to explore deep social divisions, North and South is a great romance and one of Elizabeth Gaskell's finest works.
Public Domain (P)2010 Naxos Audiobooks
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"So Glad I Went The Distance!"
I am SO GLAD I bought this book and experienced it through audio! I love the movie and so almost didn't bother, thinking I'd experienced it adequately - was I wrong! The book is SO much clearer and livelier!! And the narrator is absolutely stunning! Her voices and accents are amazing - she pegs the Northern British accent versus the Southern just perfectly as well as the working class versus the educated class at that time in Great Britain. Truly, her reading captivated me! I was lost in it and really felt sad when it was over!! If you're contemplating buying, contemplate no longer! It is worth every penny and so, so much more! Enjoy!
Clare Wille is excellent. This is my first book she's narrated, but I will definitely purchase her again. I don't know why so many classics get read by bad narrators, but they do. I spend too much of my classics reading time trying to tune out narrators, but Wille is able to capture the characters, including (at least to my untrained ear) all the variations in accent attributable to class and regional differences. She moves the story along, but doesn't overwhelm it, which is all I ask of a narrator.
I focus on the narrator some, in part, because North and South is so obviously wonderful. It is my personal favorite of Gaskell's works. Not only is there a sweet and wonderful romance with characters who are real and flawed and therefore more appealing than some of her other flawless heroes and heroines, but she captures in this work a society in change. The intense struggles that form the background of the work are mesmerizing. There is the struggle between older ideas of good society- landed gentry who show merciful condesention to the people beneath them- and the rising power of industry, which brings with it people who may not have the advantages of birth or breeding but who, through labor and intellect, use their influence to shape their world. She also captures the struggle between the masters and the men, their interdependant and yet oppositional relationship, as well as touching on the problems in the Church of England, from which Mr. Hale becomes a Dissenter.
All of these various facets come together in an amazingly honest account of the terrible tragedies and wonderful triumphs of each system. It is masterfully written and beautifully read.
If I were to have any criticism, it would be that things happen to fall together in an extremely fortuitous and unlikely way. That doesn't really bother me though. It's well done enough that you don't care how it workd out, only that it does.
"Great performance overall"
Northern accent was too thick I had to use the transcript to understand what was being said. Other than that the performance was impeccable, and the voices were so close to the BBC 2004 miniseries.
"A husband and a fortune! (&trade unions)"
Great Victorian novel, but also with social commentary on class struggle, as workers and a mill owner struggle for equalibrium.
"Couldn't be happier"
I originally saw the BBC mini series based on Gaskell's novel and tried reading the book a couple times after but I couldn't quite find my footing. This audio book was perfect. I laughed, I cried, I yelled at my car stereo, I loved every minute of it. There is not a single intonation or accent of Clare Wille's I would change and the story itself is achingly beautiful.
Buy this audio book. Buy it now.
I've always loved this book, and needed a good listen. The narrator did an excellent job with the varied accents and inflections.
"Loved the story and the performance!"
I am an Bronte and Austen fan (amongst other classic British authors). I loved the, "Pride and Prejudice" style romance set against the backdrop of the industrial revolution. This setting adds an intensity that is not in Jane Austen's story, but It almost made the story seem more realistic or relatable.
I felt that the narrator did an excellent job of portraying the characters including the voice changes and the accents used. I like to listen to audiobooks at night. The narrator's voice is pleasant to listen to; not boring and not grating.
Pride and Prejudice
the last scene
I liked her intonation and characters
If you like Jane Austen and have run out of Austens to read, this is your next step. A great story, great depth of character and philosophy, and a very entertaining and thought provoking story
"Worth listening to to, but...."
The recording is disappointing. I found it to be tinny with a hollow ring to it and occassionally Ms. Wille speaks so softly that it's hard to hear and understand. I find myself turning it up and down and rewinding to catch what I missed. She does a good job with the characters and the variety of accents. It's too bad the recording isn't better
Other than the performance issues I mentioned, I liked the book. After watching a BBC production I was curious to read the book. It did not disappoint.
"Much better than I expected"
Very near the top. Almost the equal of Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens.
Thomas Hardy's FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD with its female protagonist.
Some of her rural or lower class English accents were very hard to understand.
No laughing or weeping, just satisfaction at a story well-told.
Quite a surprise. My first experience of Elizabeth Gaskell, but it won't be the last.
"Great example of woman empowerment"
Strength, tolerance, wisdom
For me it's about the overall story.
None, they were all interesting
It certainly made me think
I didn't think I would find such dept in a book from this era, yet it's way more open-minded and multi layered than most of today's productions.
The simple opening theme, the fact that the father of the main character has not a crisis of faith but an unbearable disillusion towards his church, and how practically this news is taken from his daughter who simply endeavours to help as much as she can in all the arrangements that ensue, is more advanced than the pointless drama that we would surely see in a novel written in our days.
"Lovely the story but annoying reader."
This book is one of my favorites as Gaskell's novels always are, and in the beginning I enjoyed the book.
However, when the narrator endeavored to portray Nicholas Higgins voice, sometimes developing into quite long passages, due to the characters frequent and long but actually very interesting 'rants', it ultimately became impossible to continue listening. What is worse, this 'voice' spread itself to other characters further on in the book.
The northern (?) accent the narrator attempted was perhaps plausible, I am not the best judge of that, but it was surely not necessary to spit out each word in such a manner that one could imagine the pages of the narrators copy taking quite a bit of damage from the excessive amount of saliva they were probably exposed to.
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