I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other Gaskell novels I’ve read. It’s clear that this was her first novel. In it you can see the germs of the writer Gaskell will become. She is a social writer, her power lies in her ability to portray all strata of society and critic them. You can see the beginning of it here but it’s lost in the Mary, Carson, Jem story line and what reads like an attempt at a crime novel. The final 20% is probably the most successful section. You can see Gaskell beginning to get into her stride and she begins to develop ideas about how masters and workers are reliant on each other which forms a major part of North and South.
While I’m glad I read it, because is want to try read all of Gaskell’s work, I doubt I’ll read it again