This is another book recommended by my niece. It was very different than the first Gaskell book I read.
When an American thinks of north and south, we think of our own country and the Civil war. This takes place in England. The south that the author is referring to is a very rural area and the north is an industrial region.
Our heroine, Margaret, is from the south and finds herself living in the north. As she learns about her new world, so do we. Her new home is in fictionalized Milton which is based on Manchester. Margaret befriends a working family as well as an owner of a cotton mill. Being exposed to the contrasting friendships gives he a view of both sides.
The book deals with labor problems, bad working conditions, strikes and death--lots of death. My niece seems to like books with sadness. There is also some romance, but it is minor compared to the other themes. Once again, the characters are well rounded and interesting.
The book is wonderful. Score another one for my niece.