Saturday, January 10, 2015

North and South Read Along Discussion 1

I'm all caught up for the North and South read along. Here were my thoughts on the first 18 chapters. Link up at Jenni's blog.

1. Is this your first time reading this? If so, what do you think so far? If not, are you liking this reread so far?
This is my first time reading the story. It always takes me awhile to get into this style of book - so, so much description and internal thoughts and not quite as much action. But I like it. I like the social commentary especially.

2. Have you seen the BBC mini-series? Is the book anything like you expected it to be?
Nope, I'm completely unfamiliar with the story. I originally thought it would be a Civil War book. I was way off.
Also, I knew Richard Armitage was Mr. Thornton (Kami made sure of that!) and so I thought Mr. Thornton was much older than he seems to be in the story. I have no idea how old RA is but he has an older looking face, so there you go.

3. Why do you think Margaret refused Henry? He seems like such a nice chap.
He did seem nice. I just don't think she thought of him in that way, and didn't want to start. 

4. What are your first impressions of Mr. Thornton?
He's interesting. He seems like an honest person, but I don't really get why he's so interested in Margaret's opinions. (I think I need to suspend my disbelief there.) He talks about the people who work for him like they're kind of dumb and that's just who they are. I like that less about him. 

He's good to his family, though. I really like his mom.

5. Why is Margaret so indifferent to Mr. Thornton, but she can make friends with the Higgins? They are both northern people and have different customs.
I think the Higgins don't challenge her views of people or how she should interact with them - they know their place with her. I think Margaret looks at Mr. Thornton as beneath her and he picks up on it and tries to challenge it. (Also I think she's been a bit of a snot in that regard. Maybe that's why I like Mrs. Thornton so much. She calls out Margaret's attitude)

6. Compare the two moms we've seen in the story.
At first I thought Mrs. Hale was one of those overly delicate, complainy ladies that pop up in these kinds of stories (like Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice) but around chapter 16 I changed my mind. Mrs. Thornton is a tough lady, and funny. But I think she's also prone to being judgmental. They're both flawed but I like them both.

7. What differences are you seeing so far between the north and the south?
The south seems more slow and laidback, the north more industrial and bustling. But they both think they're the best.

8. Do you think Mr. Hale was justified in leaving the church and his position?
I wasn't really sure why he left. He seemed not to believe anymore, and if that was the case I think he made the most honest choice.

9. What are your feelings on Frederick’s situation?
That's tough. Is it bad that I don't totally believe the mom's version of events? (Maybe I've been reading too many books with treachery!) I feel bad for how hurt the mom is about it. I hope we find out more as the book goes on.

10. What are your thoughts on the master and worker relationship?
They both think so badly of each other, which I suppose still goes on today. It really bothers me that Mr. Thornton seems to think workers are so far beneath him, like they could never become the type of person that he is. Maybe I'm misunderstanding him, though. 


  1. I initially thought this would be a civil war story too (I think there was a tv series years ago (with Patrick Swayze?) also called N&S though?)

    I also think Mrs Hale may be seeing the best in her son (which makes her just like Mrs Thornton) although maybe not with as must justification as Mre Thornton.

    Your comment about the Higgins family knowing their place struck the right chord with me. Margaret as a minister's daughter is used to helping those in the community in need. They all know their roles in this relationship.

    The Thornton's and Hale's are definitely struggling to work out how they fit together in the British social class system of the time.

  2. Okay, so I had to look it up. Richard Armitage is currently 43... North and South was filmed in 2004, which puts him at about what, 32 then? In the book, Mr. Thornton is described as being about 30. So... that's pretty close as far as the age thing goes, I think. All very interesting. He does have and older looking face. A wise, brooding face.

    I love your insights. I can see that you are seeing things a little differently not being so close to this story, which is good for the rest of us fanatical fans.

  3. I'm so excited that you joined us for this! I laughed at your mention of me helping you know Richard Armitage is Mr. Thornton. Great insights! I like seeing how others perceive the characters and situations.

  4. I'm glad I'm not the only one who knows nothing about the story, other than Richard Armitage. I still haven't got to chapter 16, so I'm still in the I hate Mrs. Hale phase. We'll see if that changes.

  5. I think Mr. Thornton is a little uppity too. I do like the book though. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. I'm glad you think Margaret is a little snooty. Everyone picks on poor Mr Thornton but Margaret is no saint.

  7. Coming from knowing the story via the miniseries so well, I'm finding it so very interesting to see what those of you who don't know the story at all are thinking. And as I'm a big fan of Thornton's, I'm definitely intrigued to know what you'll think of him through the rest of the story! :)

    Also, you have a great point in that the Higginses don't challenge Margaret's views of them. They know their place, while Thornton seems to love to challenge her. I hadn't thought of it like that, but I like it. It makes so much sense.

    And yes, Margaret is most definitely snooty.

    Great answers! :)