North and South

Read by LibriVox Volunteers

(4.1 stars; 136 reviews)

Set in Victorian England, North and South is the story of Margaret Hale, a young woman whose life is turned upside down when her family relocates to northern England. As an outsider from the agricultural south, Margaret is initially shocked by the aggressive northerners of the dirty, smoky industrial town of Milton. But as she adapts to her new home, she defies social conventions with her ready sympathy and defense of the working poor. Her passionate advocacy leads her to repeatedly clash with charismatic mill owner John Thornton over his treatment of his workers. While Margaret denies her growing attraction to him, Thornton agonizes over his foolish passion for her, in spite of their heated disagreements. As tensions mount between them, a violent unionization strike explodes in Milton, leaving everyone to deal with the aftermath in the town and in their personal lives.

Elizabeth Gaskell serialized North and South between September 1854 and January 1855 in Charles Dickens’s magazine Household Words. Upon its publication, Gaskell established herself as a novelist capable of serious discourse on social responsibility and advocacy for change in defiance of established authority. (Summary by Dani) (18 hr 39 min)


Chapter 01 22:27 Read by Ophelia Darcy
Chapter 02 21:56 Read by Mary Reagan
Chapter 03 23:22 Read by Jo
Chapter 04 26:23 Read by neelma
Chapter 05 32:35 Read by leonardswench
Chapter 06 15:05 Read by Polly
Chapter 07 15:00 Read by LC
Chapter 08 27:44 Read by intothelight
Chapter 09 9:40 Read by Hadje
Chapter 10 19:48 Read by elisavet
Chapter 11 21:06 Read by winam
Chapter 12 14:11 Read by Mary Reagan
Chapter 13 15:18 Read by Polly
Chapter 14 15:51 Read by Hanne
Chapter 15 29:36 Read by Iliana
Chapter 16 21:01 Read by charybdis4
Chapter 17 21:04 Read by lauralee
Chapter 18 19:45 Read by helenworcs
Chapter 19 29:15 Read by Anne-Marie
Chapter 20 24:35 Read by grovejade
Chapter 21 17:47 Read by RedQueen
Chapter 22 32:30 Read by Classicsfan
Chapter 23 15:24 Read by Newtons05
Chapter 24 14:00 Read by Jo
Chapter 25 27:46 Read by Hedvig
Chapter 26 12:27 Read by Ophelia Darcy
Chapter 27 13:57 Read by islajane
Chapter 28 34:18 Read by 4Cullen
Chapter 29 14:13 Read by Robas
Chapter 30 27:39 Read by tesoro007
Chapter 31 24:19 Read by PJ
Chapter 32 11:55 Read by PenelopeC19
Chapter 33 13:36 Read by cats22
Chapter 34 13:13 Read by andromeda
Chapter 35 32:52 Read by Bestelle20
Chapter 36 28:24 Read by JB
Chapter 37 23:13 Read by LuvDemBrooders
Chapter 38 28:40 Read by Steph
Chapter 39 18:32 Read by islajane
Chapter 40 30:10 Read by Darcywil
Chapter 41 29:42 Read by Marianna
Chapter 42 28:54 Read by janeite
Chapter 43 25:00 Read by Linnéa
Chapter 44 26:09 Read by tittletattle
Chapter 45 6:57 Read by Milton Lass
Chapter 46 44:27 Read by Dani
Chapter 47 13:34 Read by Marie
Chapter 48 14:45 Read by Flo
Chapter 49 16:51 Read by Librarian
Chapter 50 24:32 Read by Ania
Chapter 51 17:35 Read by Woohoo
Chapter 52 10:23 Read by Dorothea23


Missed out on a third of the book..

(2 stars)

A few of the readers read so poorly, stumbling over big words, literally racing through the reading much too fast (LC in Honolulu in particular!) mispronouncing words, and whole chapters read by readers who were mostly unintelligible, heavy accents and poor sound recording, ruined a good third of this book for me. This is not supposed to be an exercise in remedial reading! However, the readers who were able to read carefully, and thoughtfully, were very much appreciated!!

Rich, rewarding and hard to put down

(5 stars)

Wonderful story rich with Elizabeth Gaskell’s vivid settings, engaging dialogue, perceptive heroes, and admirably complex, human characters. North and South is a poignant story of contrast and conflict introduced by the social and technological upheaval of industrialization in mid nineteenth century England. It is also a moving and quite gripping story of wisdom won from loss, of endurance, integrity and resilience. A must read for fans of Gaskell and historic fiction. A great read for any lover of good fiction. Highly recommended.

An Agreeable Surprise.

(5 stars)

I've just finished listening to this recording and I have to say that although I had my my doubts initially this group collaboration works better than most. The variety of voices is fascinating, the diction throughout is clear and the readings themselves are thoughtfully and intelligently delivered. Inevitably, some readers are better than others - one or two sound to be of professional standard - but all are very listenable and obviously enthusiastic about what they were doing. Thoroughly recommended.

Brilliant story

(3.5 stars)

Suprisingly well read ..and a riveting story, however, chapter 11, and other chapters, had irritating background noises? I did find the last chapter a bit as if the author had run out of paper and had to end as quickly as possible. That was a bit of a minus, considering the long-windedness of other less interesting and essential chapters. On the whole, an entertaining book.

I like the readers, If the rest of you don't.....

(5 stars)

then go buy the recording. I am disabled and so thankful to librivox and internet archive because i have only enough money for food, shelter, and internet on an old computer. This female collaborative was superb. This male is grateful for your fine work readers. QUITE FRANKLY YOU "REVIEWERS" WHO COMPLAIN ABOUT SUCH TRIVIAL AND PETTY THINGS as quality of recording or readers which do not live up to your high and lofty standards(who volunteer their time for free), I find disgraceful. Reviewers who have at least some dignity and intelligence restrict their reviews to the content,style,which characters they like or dislike,critique of author,and so on, of the book,play, poetry etc. btw, I am a male, I am not a librivox reader, have no vested interest in librivox or IA, I am not staff, et al. But I am eternally grateful for this wonderful free service they provide. Due to my condition and physical suffering in reading a book, these free audiobooks and other non text media, are a godsend. a bit on the book: it is so extremely sad and emotional so far, it is hard to listen to more than a few chapters at a hearing. i hope the ending has some peace and justice. Mr. Thornton is not unlike hypocritical, survival of the fittest type of capitalists today(not all capitalists today are like this but they are sadly in the minority. In the late 19th century there were more socially conscious industrialists and capitalists then today. For example Sir George White in the UK who after many business successes started an airplane company late in his life at Filton. Sadly the great Filton airfield(in Briston metro area) is now closed and is taken over by predatory land developers. And Sir White really did come from working class beginnings.) Mr. Thornton never came from the under class as he proclaims. The "horatio alger" myth dahszil male american(end the US empire and restore the republic)

Great book, mixed bag of readers

(3 stars)

It was Richard Armitage's BBC portrayal of Mr. Thornton that first interested me in North and South. I have been a fan ever since. If you enjoy Jane Austen, I think you will also enjoy this mixture of social commentary and love story. Janine Barchas published a thoughtful analysis of the connection between Austen and Gaskell in an article for the journal of the Jane Austen Sociaty of North America (North and South: Austen’s Early Legacy, by Janine Barchas, Persuasions vol. 30 (2008)). I'm not a lit major, but could appreciate the parallels once they were pointed out to me. Like Austen, Gaskell is an author that you can enjoy on multiple levels. If you're looking for a good story - this is one. If you're looking for deeper social commentary from a woman's perspective, this also suits. So overall, I have the highest praise for the book. Librivox has two collaborative versions of North and South posted. This is the original, and contains many excellent readings - it's particularly fascinating to listen to the variety of British accents. But several chapters were so poorly done that I couldn't wait for them to finish. All in all, I would choose to listen to the second Librivox version.

(3.5 stars)

I previously gave this a pretty low rating because of some of the earlier readers. I could barely make it through several chapters and gave up for a couple days before trying it again and skipping chap 15 entirely. I have to give credit where credit is due and say that chapters 19 and 20 are exceedingly better. The reader for chapter 20 is one of the best I’ve heard. She sounds very like the actress from the movie! Excellent reading and excellent accent. My hope is that there are more great readers to follow.

Some unbearable chapters

(4 stars)

I loved this audio book but some of the chapters were recorded with poor equipment or done by speakers of whom English is not their native language. This is not to say that every non-native reader on this version was bad, but some read in a monotone voice and skipped words so that I couldn't wait for the next reader to take over. Perhaps the other version is better.