Tuesday, March 22, 2016

North And South // Has Ashley Actually Chosen a Favorite Book?

To begin, I just wanted to say that I'm sure I speak on behalf of our blogging "circle" when I say that we are all praying for our friend Naomi Bennet and her family who live in Belgium, near where those horrific attacks took place this morning. We love you and the happiness you bring to the Internet! #JeSuisBruxelles


Hey, whaddya know, a real live book review! This counts for the Classics Club, even though I'm not really doing that on purpose anymore. Actually, I'll probably change that page out for a review page this weekend.

{Speaking of weekends, thanks to Easter/cancelled school events/youth conferences, I don't have a full week of school for the next three weeks. And I didn't have a full week last week either! PTL hallelujah amen}


Anyway, I read North and South a few weeks ago. It kept my attention a lot better than when I tried to read it two years ago. Possibly this is because I've seen the miniseries, and because I don't have as much schoolwork as I did two years ago.

And I loved it! Guys, I haven't related to a character as much as Margaret Hale since Caroline Quiner. Actually, I think I may have related to Margaret on a deeper level than with Caroline.

You see, Margaret's main struggles in the book is coping both with her father's change in profession, from pastor to tutor, and the subsequent move across the country.

And it all just hits me right in the heart right now. You see, my dad recently stepped down from being pastor (For totally different reasons than Mr. Hale's faith doubts, just FYI), and my family will be moving soon across the country to a place where everything is going to be totally different.

In fact, we will probably be moving to the north XD (Phoenix is actually more south than a lot of the "Southeast". There's your American geography lesson for the day.)
This one's pretty cool

Margaret's struggles just really resonated with me. I totally get her feelings going from pastor's kid to ex-pastor's kid. You sort of lose "status" and suddenly your security blanket is gone. You worry if people are gonna treat you differently and if you will treat people differently. And just like Margaret you worry about your church family and their wellbeing after your family is gone. And then, just like Margaret, you go back and see all the changes and you don't know what to do with yourself.

And besides the pastor thing, Margaret is trying to learn what she thinks about the world. Well, at first she thinks she knows what she thinks, but then she learns to see the other side of the issue, and some of her views completely change. That part really resonated with me too as I'm getting ready to vote and trying to decide exactly what my world views and "policies" are.

Speaking of voting, Arizona had its Presidential primary today and can I just say how stupid it is that 17 year olds who will vote in the General Election can't vote in a lot of states, including mine. For Pete's sake, if you want young people to vote in the election, at least let them pick who they get to vote for!! Sheesh.

But anyway, off Ashley and politics and onto Margaret and Richard Armitage John Thornton.

I was a little confused by Margaret and Mr. Thornton's relationship. I mean I can see why Mr. Thornton would like Margaret later for her courage and kindness and selflessness (sort of), but at first, she basically despises him for his trade and he hasn't seen these qualities and just why?

I did enjoy John and getting to see his side of the story. He's really a good man and tries to do the best for his business and workers. He actually struggles with pride and empathy just like Margaret.

random intense north and south gif
BUT that's why this is such a good book! Because by the end, both Margaret and John are broken and humbled. They've learned to see both sides of a story, specifically both sides of each others' story. They've learned how to have true compassion: John to his workers and Margaret to others as an equal and "real" person, not just as someone who's has always ministered cuz it's what PKs do. #SuchDynamicCharacters

Mr. and Mrs. Hale were okay. They were well-written characters, I just didn't really like them. Mr. Hale was too in his head and didn't really think about consequences. I'm not saying he made the wrong choice leaving the church, but he probably should have planned it better ya know? And Mrs. Hale was boring and selfish and obsessed with the past.

Let's take a detour and talk about how I basically hate the Shaws. Edith's a spoiled brat who occasionally makes me laugh, but she's just so entitled and self-centered and millenial-like. (#ShotsFired I'm a millenial so I can say that, k?) Aunt Shaw is a selfish "kind" individual, kind of like her sister. She never really thinks about Margaret really feels, but more about she would feel if she were Margaret. And Captain Lennox. What even? I don't really remember him except he was boring and seemed like a frivolous man who didn't really amount to anything.

Henry on the other hand. Oh, I hurt for him. Sure, maybe Margaret was a leetle harsh on him, but seriously she wasn't expecting that proposal though! (Same with Mr. Thornton) He takes it like a gentleman, and I admire him for that!

The labor talks were actually really interesting. I liked seeing all of the points of view, from the Union to the laborer to the master. And I really enjoyed how both Nicholas and Mr. Thornton swallowed their pride and were able to work together! (Forget fanfic on Margaret and John. I need fanfic on the future of this factory!!!!)

Bessie's story was sad, but tbh it didn't really stand out to me. It's does accomplish a lot of things, such as connecting Margaret to Higgins and showing Margaret's overcoming of her pride and giving her a connection in Milton. But the scenes don't satisfy in and of themselves.

Frederick was a dear and I hope he found happiness with Dolores.

And the ending was so, so different than the miniseries, but I liked it. It showed how Margaret and John changed, and wasn't as awkward as the whole train station/weird collar/awkward closeups thing going on in the miniseries.

So, does Ashley have a favorite book? The answer is.... NO. You see, I had just decided Violins of Autumn was my favorite book, and then I finished this. So I have 2 favorite books from different genres (Now I have 2 XBoxes)!

Also, I procrastinated writing this post by watching the Russian kids version of the Voice. #BossLevel


  1. Thank you Ashley. It doesn't feel like this terrible thing happened so nearby actually - It feels like it's miles and miles away. I can't really grasp that it happened so near where I live.

    Oh, I love this book too. I should re-read it. (Love the second cover!)

    ~ Naomi Bennet-with-one-T. :-D

    1. <3

      You should really reread it!!! I'm gonna go look up your review right now!

      (And I'm fixing your name right now cuz I'm a dweeb and never remember. I'm sorry)

  2. I've given up on the club too. Not that I don't love it & everything it stands for. I just prefer to paddle my own canoe, and I seem to rebel every time I call something a club read. :) THIS BOOK IS ON MY TBR LIST THOUGH, AS WELL AS MY NIGHTSTAND. I love the way you identified with Margaret Hale! That's how it was for me with Anne Shirley. It was WEIRD how I just began to see myself in the novel.

    I love the stories that "break and humble" people.

    I'll have to read Violins of Autumn.

    Adding my love to your note for Naomi, who spreads sunshine & joy whenever she speaks. x

    1. Yeah, I haven't really given up on the club. I just sort of readjusted my life and reading priorities so I'm not as motivated now. READ IT NOW!!!! I think the breaking stories are so good because that's what real life is, constant, constant humbling. Violins of Autumn is really good.

  3. YES we are all praying for Naomi and her family! It's hard, being all the way over here, where there's nothing really we can do...but we can still pray.

    At first when I saw this post I thought you might be talking about the John Jakes N&S....but no. ;-P I want to read this book too, though. I keep hearing good things about it. And the miniseries was AMAZING.

    1. Prayer is so amazing!

      Hahahaha the title is so confusing sometimes. How dare America have a Civil War between the North and South?! :P The miniseries is so, so good!

  4. I love this review! My family did the whole "dad's not pastoring anymore" transition last year in June, but honestly we're still dealing with the changes.
    I enjoyed the miniseries, but now I'm REALLY looking forward to the book based on your review. I hadn't paid attention to Margaret as a PK as much as a snob in the miniseries. (Sorry, guess I was prejudice based on her not liking Rich--ahem, John.)

    My TBR Never. Stops. GROWING! So who knows when I'll get to read it, but if I'm ever stuck somewhere and I don't know what to do, I'll whip out N & S because that's obviously going to be the best use of my time. As is, the only time I have to read anymore is when I'm supposed to be sleeping, or on the 30-minute-one-way ride to church (yay for reading time!), or when I MAKE time for reading in a bubble bath--heavenly!!!

    Thanks for this review! I'll be praying for your family as you're adjusting and you can pray for us when you think about it as well. :)

    1. Thanks!

      The changes are really hard right now, but I hope it will get better when we move and sort of distance ourselves from everything. It's just so weird! I'll definitely be praying for you and thanks for praying for us :D

      How does she not like Rich.... And I never really got the PK thing through the miniseries either. Yay! I really can't wait to read your thoughts!

  5. I can see how you would relate to Margaret. At first, I had a difficult time warming up to her character, but it definitely improved by the ending. The book had a better ending than the mini series. (But the mini series was really good, too.)

    1. Margaret is very difficult at times, but I love how she changes! It's so cool how both endings are good but in totally different ways! Headed over to read your review now that I've read the book :D

  6. I got that reference! Imagine Lois doing a happy dance here (two happy dances?). ;)
    Anyways.... Yes, for your review! Loved it. :) And I prefer the book ending to the movie's.

    1. It took me a few minutes to get what reference XD Thanks so much!

  7. Lovely post! Praying for you to Naomi! :)

  8. THANK YOU! Finally someone else who feels sad for Henry. Poor Henry.

    1. I know! It's not his fault he likes Margaret. I mean it is, but it isn't you get me :D But again, I also feel for Margaret. Getting marriage proposals from people you don't even know like you is probably very, very awkward...


Many comments. Such wow. Much happiness. Very awesomeness. I know that's not entirely correct grammar, but that's how comments make me feel! Feel free to leave one expressing anything from what color shoes you're wearing to how much you disagree with my opinion :D