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I’ve not yet read Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, but I was intrigued to learn about a new collection of stories inspired by the classic, especially as it features some of my favorite Austenesque authors. I have the pleasure of welcoming several authors from the anthology to Diary of an Eccentric today to talk about their contributions to the collection and to share a giveaway. Please give them a warm welcome!

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Thank you so much for hosting us today, Anna, it is a pleasure to visit your blog!

Falling for Mr. Thornton is a book born out of love not only for John Thornton, but also for many subjects tackled in North & South and each one of us decided to take a different approach on our short stories. Today we decided to talk to your readers about our stories from our own perspective; we hope they feel motivated to give Falling for Mr. Thornton a try.

 

Trudy Brasure

My story, Once Again, focuses on the incredible moral courage of John Thornton as he summons the strength and determination to move forward in crushing circumstances. There’s a lot of loneliness and silent suffering in North and South. I dive into John’s agonizing desire to be understood–to love and be loved.

Devotion to family is another theme I touch on. Hannah’s concern for her son, and John’s care for his mother are important factors in keeping each of these characters moving forward during great trials.

And finally, I show how much John’s social conscience has grown. He has a deep desire to make a difference in the lives of others.

 

Nancy Klein

In “Looking to the Future,” I worked Margaret’s guilt, regret, and sorrow into the story. As a parson’s daughter, she was raised to do the right thing, to tell the truth, and to be true to her faith. When she conceals Frederick, and lies about the incident at the train station, it tears at her conscience. Although she does it out of love for her brother, it is still a sin and she can no longer pretend that she has taken the high road. Mr.Thornton’s intercession on her behalf doubles her guilt, and makes her realize she is no better than any other sinner. I believe this is a turning point for her, softening her pride and making her much more human than the proud young goddess she once was. This is what makes her see Mr. Thornton with new eyes; this is what helps alter her opinion of him.

 

Evy Journey

“Let me go to Cádiz, or else I die.”  Margaret says somewhat jokingly towards the end of Gakell’s  novel, after her father dies and she’s all alone. Her hopes of doing so rest on Mr. Bell’s  remark about taking her there to see her brother and his new wife. The hoped-for trip fizzles out in the  novel but my short story, Reeducating Mr. Thornton makes it happen for Margaret.  Not with Mr. Bell but with Mr. Thornton. My story goes further. The trip to Cádiz, a bustling center for international  trade at the time, sets the stage, first of all, for Mr. Thornton to widen his world view and gain precious insight for reviving his business (a subplot in N&S ). Second, it elaborates and continues events on another subplot, a second love affair,  in N&S—that of the felicitous union of Frederick and Dolores in Cádiz.

 

Julia Daniels

 From an early age, John Thornton became the patriarch of the Thornton family. He took this responsibility deeply to heart, and was proud of his rise to power, as it provided a stable home for his mother and sister. Fanny did not understand or appreciate the sacrifices her brother made for her, and her impetuous nature led her to commit a horrible mistake.

Margaret Hale deeply regretted her mistake in rejecting Thornton’s marriage proposal. Each time he came for his lessons with her father, she felt it keenly. Although Fanny always treated Margaret with condescension, in her darkest hour, she sought Margaret for help.

It is during that darkest hour when John and Margaret come together to repair the misunderstandings between them, while assisting Fanny to remedy her mistake. Mistakes and Remedies clearly illustrates that it is always darkest before dawn and all three characters are able to overcome the darkness and find happiness.

 

Damaris Osborne

Whilst the ‘Loose Leaves from Milton’ parody is steeped in tea leaves and all things tea, beneath the surface it does still pick up themes used by Elizabeth Gaskell- Hannah Thornton’s exclusive love of her son, which leaves Fanny emotionally out in the cold, John Thornton’s moral uprightness (the only act which wavers his moral compass is colluding with Margaret’s denial of being at the railway station when he himself saw her there, rather than corroborating the unknown witness), and Margaret’s mixture of social conscience and naïvety. The overarching cultural divide between Margaret’s idealised rural South and demonised industrial North also remain, to be broken down in the course of events.

 

Elaine Owen

For this story I tried to work in several of Gaskell’s original themes: the tension between the workers and masters; Margaret’s role as a peacemaker; selflessness and sacrifice; and of course the love that bridges all divides! All of these things came together, along with one significant event in the original story, to create a different way for our dear couple to finally unite.

But I also wanted to introduce a couple of new ideas into the mix. Gaskell’s original work can be quite dark, with sad endings far outnumbering the happy endings. So I decided that at least one beloved character should get a new chance at life. And not only a new life, but a new romance! Also I really liked the idea of Thornton having a friend who is neither a master nor a worker, someone who can see right through Thornton and encourage him to pursue his heart’s desire. I really liked the way these two new ideas came together in the story.

 

M. Liza Marte 

Margaret’s remark that John asks her to marry him because he wants her as a possession always stuck with me. Saying she should have expected that behavior from someone in trade wasn’t just an insult. She really sees them as different, as opposites. She did not take the time or effort early on to see beyond his tradesman appearance and as such, misjudges his character and worth. Much like Elizabeth’s quick prejudice against Mr. Darcy because of his haughty, snobbish manner, Margaret never notices that little things that sets John Thornton apart from the mill owners. In my story, I wanted her take her out of her comfort zone. Without her father and the familiarity of her home, Margaret now must depend on John to be her protector and companion. In his company she begins to see all the little things that escaped her notice before. Now she notices the hand carved, twirling trinkets that have adorned their home all this while. She notices how often he works late at night. She sees the nicks and cuts on his hand and fingers. Her eyes have opened to the man behind his trade. While in the book, it is John’s assistance in concealing Frederick’s presence that thaws her heart. In my story it is simpler than that. Living in the same house with him, she is at his level. At home, John hides nothing. He is an open book. His every emotion is on display for Margaret to see. Maybe I did force them into a tight corner so they had to interact, but I always suspected, once Margaret saw the real John, she will like what she sees. After that, there is no turning back for her.

 

Kate Forrester

When I thought about the story line for Passages in Time I really wanted to explore two things; firstly how the unbending stiffly polite Mr Thornton would feel in 2019 and secondly how he would feel nor knowing what had happen to his mother and his sister.

Manners in modern times are so much more casual in modern times than they were in Victorian Britain. I remember the uproar the railway station kiss caused in the television adaptation, although strangely enough most people chose to overlook it – I can’t imagine why. It got me thinking, how would Mr Thornton cope with our casual speech, casual use of first names without introduction, casual clothing, and the casual way in which we now treat the opposite sex. I hope I managed to convey not only his distaste and horror of these things but also his confusion when he finds himself attracted to Miss Hale.

One of the most touching themes of the Mrs Gaskell’s novel is the bond between Mr Thornton and his mother Hannah and the responsibility he feels towards his sister Fanny. I wanted to show how he would feel compelled to make sure they were alright – it is this above all else that drives him to seek a way back to his own time.

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About Falling for Mr. Thornton

 

Amidst the turbulent backdrop of a manufacturing town in the grips of the Industrial Revolution, Elizabeth Gaskell penned the timeless passion of Mr. Thornton and Margaret Hale. A mixing of contemporary and Victorian, this short story anthology by twelve beloved authors considers familiar scenes from new points of view or re-imagined entirely. Capturing all the poignancy, heartbreak, and romance of the original tale, Falling for Mr. Thornton is a collection you will treasure again and again.

Stories by: Trudy Brasure * Nicole Clarkston * Julia Daniels * Rose Fairbanks * Don Jacobson * Evy Journey * Nancy Klein * M. Liza Marte * Elaine Owen * Damaris Osborne * Melanie Stanford ** Foreword by Mimi Matthews **

Buy on Amazon: Kindle | Paperback

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Giveaways

The authors will offer a grand prize to one reader following the entire blog tour. This prize will contain 13 different ebooks: one copy of Falling for Mr. Thornton and one other ebook from each author. To enter for the grand prize, you must use this Rafflecopter link.

Additionally, the authors would also like to offer 2 bookmarks of Falling for Mr. Thornton at each blog. To enter for a bookmark, please leave a comment below with your email address. I will choose 2 winners randomly after the blog tour ends. The winners will be announced in the comments section of this post.

Both giveaways are international. Good luck!

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