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This is a guest post by Heather Smith.

I have a love-hate relationship with period dramas. As in some I love and some I hate. They all have a few things in common: flowery language, slow build, and an often confusing set of social rules. There are some stories that can transcend these setbacks, however, and become well loved. Stories like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Another period drama you can now add to your list is Elisabeth Gaskell’s North and South.

Set in the fictional town of Miltonin the North of England during the Age of Industrialization, the plot is a far cry from what first come to mind from the title. No epic Civil War battles here, just a clash of sensibilities. The industrialized, quick-paced North versus the greenery and languid pace of the South.

A preacher, Richard Hale (Tim Pigott-Smith) from the South moves his wife, Maria (Lesley Manville), and unmarried daughter, Margaret (Daniela Denby-Ashe), to Milton after resigning his position. Now virtually penniless, they struggle to make a life for themselves out of their native environment. The daughter, a headstrong and intelligent woman, does her best to help her ailing mother keep up the house and her father to find employment of some sort.

Though at first repulsed by the brusque manners, Margaret eventually makes friends with a cotton mill worker, Nicholas Higgins (Brendan Coyle), and his sickly daughter. Margaret’s father starts tutoring a powerful mill boss, John Thornton (Richard Armitage), who quickly falls for the beautiful Margaret. She, however, rejects his advances; angry at the abusive way she thinks he treats his workers.

When Margaret’s mother falls deathly ill, her brother, on the run from the law, makes an appearance.  The two are seen embracing at the train station after the mother’s death by Mr. Thornton; who thinks Margaret is meeting a lover. However, when the rumor gets around, Mr. Thornton protects Margaret’s honor, which she overhears.

Through Nicholas, Margaret finds out that Mr. Thornton is the fairest mill master in town and not the abusive tyrant she thought. The more she uncovers about him, the more her love grows. However, he has been rejected by her once and will not try again. When Margaret’s father suddenly passes away, she must return to London.

Both heartsick, they part quietly, thinking never to see each other again. Mr. Thornton’s business is failing because of the strike. He then finds out that Margaret is about to inherit the mill from her father’s wealthy and dying friend. While she concocts a plan in London to save his mill, Mr. Thornton goes to her old hometown to try to connect with her before he is left penniless and destitute. They accidentally meet at the train station between the two cities.

The end is romantic and sweet, well worth slogging through the rather slow beginning. I found the images in this very compelling, though the dress may not thrill a connoisseur of period dramas. Everything is set in shades of grey, which perfectly mirrors the inner struggles between the main characters. All in all, a film well worth watching. It helps that Richard Armitage is compellingly attractive andBrendan Coyle, who you may be familiar with from Downton Abby, is handsome in a rather roguish way.

Author Bio

Heather Smith is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Heather regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to hire a nanny by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at H.smith7295 [at] gmail.com.