Mrs Gaskell's finest social novel is also the powerfully moving story of the developing relationship between southern-born Margaret Hale and John Thornton, the young northern mill-owner.
Margaret is compelled to move from Helstone, her beloved childhood home in the New Forest, to Darkshire in the industrial north when her father resigns his parsonage owing to religious doubts.
When she first encounters John Thornton, her father's pupil and a man in favour of the power of master over worker, she finds their views in conflict. But industrial rebellion and family tragedy cause Margaret to learn the realities of urban life and Thornton to learn humanity. Only then can a mutual understanding lead to the possibility of enduring love.