Brief Update on our Book Club PSA: Thank you! More than 60 people have completed the Book Club survey and the data is so interesting! We will keep the survey open for three more weeks because of Sabbath next week and we know some will check back in when our next book begins. I’ll get a full summary out to you in mid-July. But here is a snapshot on one answer:
I am currently (a) on the field 68.3%, (b) on Home Assignment or Furlough (11.7%), (c) returned to my passport country (15%), (d) other (5.1%).
So fun to see real people’s info, isn’t it? In case you missed it last week, have you ever wondered how big Book Club is? I have! I know there are those of you out there who read the books and are a part of the Book Club but don’t comment (and that’s fine!). Others of you never read the books, but enjoy the Book Club posts. Also fine, wonderful actually. As we apply for grants, many want quantifiable data. The main data we have for Book Club is the number of books we have read. While that is an important piece of information, it is insufficient for the true heart of Book Club. Could you please take a few minutes to complete this survey? In July I’ll share the results. Thanks for your help! Now, on to the real reason we are here: books.
We made it! Yay us, high fives all around. Now that we are at the end of North and South by
When we selected the book I didn’t know how long it was, picking up my copy from the library my heart sank a bit. Then I got a copy on Kindle so I would read without the competitive inner dialogue reminding me at the beginning that not only was I lost (is this about Edith or Margaret?) but that I had pages and pages to go.
It worked. Smiley face.
And I am so glad to have read and really digested this book through our weekly discussions. I can say without a doubt I am all the better for reading this book with you and not by myself. So, thank you!
Now to get on to the end of the book. Oh, my word! So much in this section, though I knew it had to be resolved, I did not see coming.
I have written and deleted what I’m trying to say three times because I was shocked, surprised, and satisfied. Here goes again.
Surprise: Fredrick isn’t going to be cleared. But I loved seeing how Margaret, Mr. Hale, and Delores built a relationship long distance and without haven’t met each other in person.
Shock: Mr. Hale dies! At least it was at his friend’s house and giving us a foreshadowing of Margaret’s inheritance.
Surprise: Mrs. Thornton is helpful to Martha. We learn that Mr. Higgins had also been a clerk when he was younger, but he “went down” while Mr. Thornton “went up.”
Shock: Mr. Thornton learned of Frederick’s existence and plays back memories . . . seeing them in a different light and having several “ah-ha!” moments.
Surprise: Where will Margaret live? Seeing how the Shaw/Lennox clan and Mr. Bell were vying for Margaret and the relative little say she had (I think her choice would have been to stay in Milton) even though she knew she would inherit quite a bit from Mr. Bell.
Shock: Edith is annoying. (Okay, that was my own personal shock.) Does anyone else want to shake her and say, “Stop being so selfish!”
Surprise: Margaret gets to visit Helstone. I would imagine some of you have also had the experience of visiting a place you used to live and still hold dear and those who came after you making changes (or as the new vicar’s wife called them, “upgrades.”) It is good to visit. It is hard to visit. So many memories and the finality that you really can’t live life backward, a certain season truly is over.
Humorous: Mrs. Dixon concerned she will become Catholic as she visits Spain. So much needless speculation because Edith mentions that Mr. Bell said . . . like a bad game of “telephone.” Margaret keeps waiting for Mr. Bell to go to Milton and tell Mr. Thornton about her lie.
Shock: But then Mr. Bell dies?! What?! Margaret loses another person in her life? At least she insisted on going when she heard he was sick and was able to see the room where her father died.
Surprise: Margaret is rich! and takes the family on vaca. Relations are growing warmer between her and Mr. Lennox. (Since Edith is on #TeamLennox, I am definitely on #TeamThornton.)
Shock: Mr. Thornton’s business is not doing well and instead of risking other’s money in speculation with his brother-in-law and earning a fortune, he is no longer a master.
No Surprise: Margaret’s fortune goes up as his comes down. Mr. Thornton, a true hero, encourages those at the Lennox dinner party to create opportunities for people from different classes to interact and understand each other.
I like the ending! It wasn’t too sappy. The last line was very satisfactory.
“Hush!” said Margaret, “or I shall try and show you your mother’s indignant tones as she says, “That woman!”
Now that we are at the end, I did a bit of research on Wikipedia. We know that this book was first serialized, being published over a 20 week period. Originally it was to be a 22-week story but had to shorten it after sales started dropping after week six.
I found these adaptations from serialized to book format interesting: “The text in the book, particularly the ending, differs significantly from that of the serialized episodes. Gaskell included a brief preface saying that due to the restrictive magazine format, she could not develop the story as she wished: ‘Various short passages have been inserted, and several new chapters added.’ For instance, she elaborated on events after the death of Mr. Hale and adding four chapters: the first and last chapters and two chapters on the visits by Mr. Bell to London and by Margaret and Mr. Bell to Helstone.”
I’m glad I read it and agree with what others had said about it really picking up in this section!
Before we end, next week is the Sabbath break, so no official reading. After that, we jump right into Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer, hosted by Sarah Hilkemann. I look forward to our next book together, but before we start it . . .
What surprised or shocked you in this section of North and South? How do you think Mrs. Thorton and Edith will respond to the news? Will Margaret and John become “partners” or will Margaret have more power because she brings the money?
See you in the comments.
- July—Hope was here by Joan Bauer
- August—My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman (May have a different title in Europe: My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologies
- September—Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali by Kris Holloway