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.
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!