A Guest Post by Heather Smith

I love a good classic book. I have read all of Jane Austen’s books, of course, and was thoroughly enamored. However, I felt that there was something missing at times. Where was the men’s side of the story? I mean, I know we got to read all about Elizabeth and her feeling and thoughts, but what about Darcy? Was he not a character we were interested in? In that mindset, I ran across North and South.

This is a novel written in the same period as Jane Austen’s work, and yet it has a lot more depth in regards to the working class. Much of the book is focused on the struggle between the masters and the unions in a manufacturing town called Milton. This adds an interesting dynamic to the hero and heroine’s story. The heroine, Margaret Hale, is forced to move from the quiet and beautiful south of England to the crowded and coal-choked north by her father’s decision to leave the church and start a new life elsewhere. Her father becomes a tutor to support Margaret and her ailing mother, and one of her father’s first students is Mr. Thornton, a local cotton mill master. Mr. Thornton is immediately attracted to the strong and beautiful Margaret, but she does not think well of him because of her blossoming friendship with a union leader’s dying daughter. Margaret spurns his advances and accuses Mr. Thornton of being a harsh and unfair master.

A series of complications arise to further strain their romance: the death of Margaret’s mother, the strike of the millworkers, and a secret rendezvous with a mysterious man. After much time passes, Margaret begins to learn of what kind of man Mr. Thornton really is, and he has never lost his love for her despite her harsh words. Separated by the unexpected death of Margaret’s father and her quick return to her aunt’s house in London, Mr. Thornton feels like he shall never see her again. With his heart broken, his mill going under, and everything he worked so hard for on the verge of disaster, can anything or anyone help him?

I will not give the ending away, but this book is definitely a must read. If you like film adaptations, the BBC did an excellent mini-series on this book as well that I highly recommend. It is a bit more romantic than the novel and leaves out much of the union sub-plot, but it is still a great watch.

Author Bio
Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to http://www.nanny.net/service by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at] gmail.com.