…North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell is hands down the most underrated book I’ve ever read. I was introduced to the book when I watched the BBC’s adaption which was pretty amazing. It’s a Victorian book which is reminiscent of the…

North and South does the impossible by (very effectively) ripping off Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre in one glorious mashup. (Our heroine travels to a grim, yet darkly intriguing, new home and meets the local tall, dark rich guy with a tragic past. She’s prejudiced, he’s proud! She saves his life from a sudden attack, then rejects his unexpected first proposal. Family secrets conspire to keep them apart, but a sudden windfall from distant relations and a grand romantic gesture reunite them at last. With bonus mining strikes!)

I actually enjoy rewatching the BBC miniseries adaptation more than re-reading the book, but both are good ways to pass a winter afternoon. And also good fodder for a drinking game: it cracks me up how many characters Gaskell kills off in quick succession, often without much warning.

(Also worth reading for as long as it stays up: the “summary” section on the book’s Wikipedia page, whose contributor(s) apparently agree with me about “the story’s many fatalities” and other convenient plot contrivances, like the heroine’s father’s “frustratingly unspecified theological doubts” that necessitate the family’s move up north.)

Book club: Jane

(Methinks a modern Jane Eyre wouldn’t waste time dressing up in olde timey costume and mooning around the moors.)

I just finished Jane, April Lindner’s modern-day retelling of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. It was a fun, compulsive read, but not all of it works. Some of that’s Lindner’s fault, but a lot of the blame goes to Bronte.

First of all, Lindner.

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