North and South - This book comes with an introduction by Jenny Uglow. Milton is a sooty, noisy northern town centred around the cotton mills that employ most of its inhabitants. Arriving from a rural idyll in the south, Margaret Hale is initially shocked by the social unrest and poverty she finds in her new hometown. However, as she begins to befriend her neighbours, and her stormy relationship with the mill-owner John Thornton develops, she starts to see Milton in a different light.
Elizabeth Gaskell was born on 29 September 1810 in London. She was brought up in Knutsford, Cheshire by her aunt after her mother died when she was two years old. In 1832 she married William Gaskell, who was a Unitarian minister like her father. After their marriage they lived in Manchester with their children. Elizabeth Gaskell published her first novel, Mary Barton, in 1848 to great success. She went on to publish much of her work in Charles Dickens's magazines, Household Words and All the Year Round. Along with short stories and a biography of Charlotte Bronte, she published five more novels including North and South (1855) and Wives and Daughters (1866). Wives and Daughters is unfinished as Elizabeth Gaskell died suddenly of heart failure on 12 November 1865.show more