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Posts from the ‘Film’ Category

North and South: Finding Your Way to Love


Today is the Day of Love. So whether you’ve discovered your true love or you’re still searching, there’s one sure way to find love on this special day. All it requires is finding your way to a great book—Elizabeth Gaskell’s mid-Victorian novel, North and South. You may just find, as I did, the character who becomes (dare I say it?) the compass of your soul. Your True North. For me, that character is John Thornton.

But before I begin waxing romantically about Mr. Thornton, let’s retrace our steps. North and South begins in an idyllic country village and ends in Milton, an industrial town in northern England. As in many great romantic novels, its two star-crossed lovers come from completely different worlds.


John Thornton, heir to a cotton mill, moves in a world of money and machinery: The North.

Margaret Hale, an educated and privileged parson’s daughter, hails from a world that is gracious and genteel: The South.

Cornwall, Helston, Looe Pool

When Margaret’s family moves from their comfortable country parish to begin a new life in Milton, the trouble begins. Margaret’s father takes on students, the first of whom is John Thornton.

John finds Margaret alluring, yet naive and evasive; Margaret finds John dashing, yet unfeeling and aloof. A romance between the two seems impossible. Can they break through the social barriers that forbid a union? Will Mr. Thornton’s pride and Margaret’s prejudice (hmm) forever keep them apart?

This meticulously written novel, first serialized in 1855 in Dicken’s Household Words, is a must-read for anyone looking for romance on a grand scale.

But wait, there’s more.

In 2004, the BBC adapted Gaskell’s novel into a movie starring Hobbit heartthrob Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe.

Why my obsession with John Thornton? Perhaps it was his brooding, Darcy-esque passion that won my heart.

“Yes! He knew how she would love. He had not loved her without gaining that instinctive knowledge of what capabilities were in her. Her soul would walk in glorious sunlight if any man was worthy, by his power of loving, to win back her love.”


Let’s face it. We could all use a little romance in our lives. So whether you’ve found your True North, or are still finding your way, North and South is a read guaranteed to point the way to love.

Click below to read the other posts in Terri Guiliano Long’s Valentine’s Day Blog Hop 2013!

An Unexpected Journey (or Two) of My Own


“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.

~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

The long-awaited release of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” has gotten me thinking about journeys, and my own, in particular. In my lifetime, I have only met one person whose journey has been, well, expected. As I stood there listening to him reel off the list of calamities he’d escaped (major illness, financial setback, divorce, rebellious children, the loss of a loved one) I thought to myself, “Just wait, buddy. Your time is coming.” And it is and probably has, by now.

Not that I wish ill of anyone. Far from it. If anything, I wish the whole lot of us were immune. But we’re not.

Photo: Paul Steele,

Ben Nevis    Photo: Paul Steele:

I was just 14 when my parents received the news that my 23 year-old brother, Lawrence, had fallen to his death while climbing Ben Nevis in Scotland. Lawrence was getting his Masters at the University of Edinburgh. He’d been accepted into Yale Divinity School. And he had recently proposed to the girl he loved. Now all those hopes and dreams lay shattered—along with my innocence—at the bottom of that mountain.

As I crawled into bed that night, I had an epiphany: Life is short, so go for it. Take risks. Dream big.

I’d always understood that life was a journey. Now I felt an urgency to begin my own.


Significant Journey #1: I’d just finished my freshman year of college when I declared my independence, moved away from my parents, and moved to the beach. It was a magical summer. I forged new friendships, broke a few hearts, and had mine broken, too. When the time came to return to school, I made the decision to stay (Remember? Take risks). Then, one by one, my friends packed up and left. And the magic left, too. I’d come to this place to find myself. What I found was this: When you take risks, you risk pain. Ouch.


Significant Journey #2: A year and a half later, I was living in a sparsely furnished apartment in New York’s Upper East Side. I’d left college once again and headed to the Big Apple to find fame and fortune (Take risks). I wanted to be a cover girl, and nothing less would do (Dream big). Bright-eyed and innocent, I pounded the pavement while The City pounded me. I signed with a top agency and was told “if I played my cards right” I could land a million dollar contract (Life is short, so go for it). But trying to navigate that treacherous climb to the top at the tender age of 20 was just too much (Dream big, risk failing big). So one afternoon I walked to Penn Station and slipped away quietly on a train heading south.

There have been many journeys since then, too numerous to mention. What were some of the most unexpected? Having twins. Becoming a teacher. Returning to modeling at age 44. Being diagnosed with breast cancer. Getting divorced. (I did finally finish college, by the way). I suppose the most exciting and unexpected, by far, has been my journey of faith.

Just before Bilbo and the dwarves head into Mirkwood, Gandalf leaves them with this, There are no safe paths in this part of the world. Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go.

Despite the difficulties, I have learned to press on and expect the unexpected. Because I know what Bilbo and the dwarves soon discover: there is always an adventure waiting just around the bend.

Becoming grace

God's grace is becoming

Year of All Years

A process for your best year yet.

6 Months to Live: The Experiment Continues

Life is waiting. Will you join me?