E. Journey’s Margaret of the North is an engaging sequel to Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. The story of Margaret and John’s romance from North and South is one that really engages readers and leaves them wanting more. Journey has fulfilled that desire with her book. Readers who enjoyed North and South will find reading this sequel to be a distinct pleasure.
Journey brings a freshness and vitality to Gaskell’s characters. Margaret is every bit as compelling a character as she was in Gaskell’s work. The romance between Margaret and John is continued in this novel. Their intensely passionate relationship and abiding love are revealed in touching moments described in evocative prose. John’s mother, Mrs. Thornton, is deliciously unlikeable. She really does not care for Margaret. She is a bit harsher in this book than in the original, but that serves Journey’s story well. Journey clearly loves these characters. They are well-crafted and multi-dimensional in Journey’s capable hands.
Journey includes a necessary retelling of events that happened in the original book, to remind readers who may have forgotten, and to orient those who have no experience with the original.
The themes of the novel — the effects on society of industrialization, and the interplay of a Victorian woman’s independence with her romantic relationship to a man – are artfully woven around a storyline that furthers the story in North and South quite well. Journey’s voice is reminiscent of Gaskell’s, and I found the transition between reading Gaskell and reading Journey to be rather seamless. Journey’s prose is well written, and her historical details well researched.
I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoyed North and South.