Yesterday evening was movie night at my house, and I finally had the opportunity to watch North & South, a four-episode BBC mini-series, based on the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell.

North & South tells the story of a young woman named Margaret Hale (played by Daniela Denby-Ashe), whose father decides to move the family from their home in the south of England to the northern town of Milton. Life in the North is much different than what she is used to, and while Margaret is a bit more open-minded about the move than her mother, she still has some difficulty adjusting to her new home.

It’s shortly after their arrival in Milton that Margaret meets John Thornton (played by Richard Armitage), the owner of one of the local cotton mills, and she is shocked by the way in which he treats one of his workers (a man he beats, and then dismisses, for smoking inside the mill). While this incident sets the pair at odds with each other, it also begins an incredible love story involving pride, ambition, and misunderstandings.

Richard Armitage as John Thornton in North & South.

I absolutely loved North & South! Not only was it a wonderful love story, but it also did an amazing job of showing the struggles of the working class, and the tremendous financial disparity between the “masters” and their workers. I found it very interesting to see how the actions of the union impacted not only the production of cotton in the mills, but the community of Milton as a whole.

In addition to the story, I also really enjoyed the costumes, sets, and music that were used for the mini-series.

The acting in North & South was also superb! I was particularly impressed with the performances of Richard Armitage, Daniela Denby-Ashe, and Brendan Coyle (who plays a union man named Nicholas Higgins).

Since I have not read Elizabeth Gaskell’s original novel, I’m unable to discuss the mini-series as an adaptation at this time. However, I enjoyed the mini-series so much that I immediately ordered a copy of the novel after I finished watching. I’m really looking forward to having the opportunity to read it.

Whether you are a fan of Elizabeth Gaskell’s books, or enjoy period dramas and romance, I highly recommend taking the time to watch this mini-series. If you do have the opportunity to watch North & South, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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