Posts Tagged ‘north and south’

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!


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.


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



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!


Read Full Post »

Hello, my dear readers! I have a special treat for you today! I am thrilled to welcome Melanie Stanford to Diary of an Eccentric for the first time to celebrate the release of her novel, Collide, which is inspired by Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South (a book I have yet to read and really must do so). She is here to introduce the novel and share an excerpt, so please give her a warm welcome:

Thanks Anna, for having me at Diary of An Eccentric! I’m so excited for the release of my second Romance Revisited novel, COLLIDE, inspired by Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South.

COLLIDE is a modern story, so naturally I had to make some changes from the original. One of these changes was Margaret’s move to Milton, which is a huge moment in the story. It didn’t seem right to have my character move with her parents, so I made it something my Maggie wanted from the start. Maggie is a contemporary dancer, and dreams of dancing with a fictitious Las Vegas contemporary dance company called Essence Dance Theater. After rejecting a proposal from her high school sweetheart, she finally has the courage to follow that dream and move to Vegas.

I’d considered other dreams for Maggie to pursue- a college degree, photography, art. It was fun for me to make her a dancer because I used to dance as well and I still love it. Giving Maggie this immediate desire made her more interesting to me as a character, and it also created obstacles that I didn’t see coming (I love it when that happens).

The scene I want to share with you today is from Jay’s point of view, where he’s seeing Maggie dance for the first time. They’ve already met, and he already likes her, but seeing her dance—a form of dance he wouldn’t be familiar with—makes him want her even more. Of course, it’s not that easy because Maggie is not into him. This scene also highlights the differences between them as characters. Enjoy!

Maggie was dancing—spinning and leaping around the room McCrary had set up for aerobics classes that nobody had wanted to take at a boxing gym. Her body moved in a way I’d never seen before. It was beautiful and strange. Compelling and sexy. There was no music, but earbuds snaked from her ears and into the waist of her skin-tight leggings.

Her movements slowed, she hesitated for a moment, breathing deep without looking my way. Aside from her leggings, she only had on a sports bra, showing off vast amounts of bare skin shining with sweat. Every curve and muscle of her body was visible, and I wanted it all under my hands.

She resumed dancing, swaying to a beat I couldn’t hear, her arms making long lines, one leg reaching for the ceiling. Then she was on the floor, her body almost caressing it as she moved. I’d been to clubs, watching girls dance in far less than Maggie had on, writhing and swaying for money. The way Maggie danced was different, special.

Tension and desire moved through my body. I clenched the railing.

She stopped, freezing her last step for a moment before she pulled the buds from her ears. Wiping sweat from the back of her neck, she turned and finally saw me.

My lips parted.

“What are you doing here?” she asked. She was panting from the exertion, her chest rising and falling. Her face flamed under my stare. “So late, I mean?”

Blood pounded through my veins. I wanted nothing more than to close the distance between us and wrap my hands around her waist, caress her sweat-soaked skin with my fingertips. Taste her with my mouth.

I swallowed. “I had to grab the accounting books for McCrary.”

She slipped her phone from her leggings, avoiding my gaze. “McCrary?”

“Conall McCrary. He owns this place.”

“Oh, right.” She pulled a hoodie over her sports bra, curves and skin disappearing under the bulky fabric.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

She bent down and removed some kind of weird shoes, then stuffed them into her bag. “Nico said I could use this space for practice.”


“Yeah. I needed some space. He said he’d run it by Old Man…Mr. McCrary.” She slung her bag over her shoulder. “I’ll only come at night, when no one is here. So I don’t interrupt classes or anything.”

“Okay.” It would be exquisite torture, watching her dance again. I already wanted it.

We headed down the stairs together. She smelled faintly of sweat and something sweeter. I moved closer.

“Is this some scheme to come up with the money?” I asked. “Because I don’t know if it’ll work. You’d have to get a lot more naked.”

I’d meant it as a joke, but her face flushed again and her jaw clenched. I was an idiot.

At the bottom of the stairs, the gym was dark except the light over the front desk. Maggie tripped on a mat and I grabbed her arm, steadying her. She jerked away, whipping me in the face with her ponytail.

“My life doesn’t revolve around Officer Ting’s money, you know,” she said.

“It should.”

She stopped walking. We were near the front, close enough to the light that I could see her face, twisted with annoyance. “Would you leave me alone about it?”

My eyebrows lowered. “No.” I would bug her and bug her about that money until the deadline hit, anything to keep me from doing what I had to do if she couldn’t pay up.

“No?” Her hands went to her hips and so did my eyes.

I grabbed the strings of her hoodie and tugged on them, bringing her closer. “I won’t leave you alone until I see all thirteen thousand of those dollars.”

She batted my hand away. “Right. Just doing your job.”

I pulled her into me, our legs entwined. I didn’t let the feel of her distract me. Her hands were on my chest but she didn’t push me away.

“Maggie. This isn’t just about my job. Simon will hurt you.” My grip on her hips tightened, I couldn’t help it. She needed to wake up. She needed to know. “Simon will make me hurt you. Don’t you get it?” He would make me do something I couldn’t do. But I didn’t want to be faced with that choice, or the consequences if I refused.

“It’s all part of the job though, isn’t it? I mean, you must enjoy it. Hurting people. Otherwise you wouldn’t do it.”

Desire turned to anger, and it began to boil under my skin. Of course that’s what she thought. I let her go. “Your life might be black and white. Mine isn’t.”

“God gave us this life,” she said. “It’s up to us what we do with it.”

“Was that on an inspirational poster at Bibles ‘R’ Us?”

She made a face I couldn’t read. “My dad is a preacher.”

She was clueless. If her father was a preacher, her life had probably been all Bible Study and prayer meetings and choir practices. Everything boiled down to a belief in simple moral choices. As if my life, my choices, were so simple.

I crossed my arms. “Maybe some of us are doing the best we can.”

“Maybe your best isn’t good enough,” she said, but her face softened, taking the bite out of her words. She was pitying me now, and that was somehow worse.

“I’m sorry,” she said. My eyebrow twitched in surprise. “If I can’t practice here, I won’t come back again.”

I turned away. “You can practice here.” All the time and never.

She didn’t move. I didn’t move.

“Thank you,” she said.


About Collide

When their worlds collide, neither will be left unscarred.

Suffocated by her small-town life, Maggie Hale runs away to Las Vegas to pursue her dream as a contemporary dancer. But Vegas doesn’t turn out like she imagined. She doesn’t make it into Essence Dance Theater and the only job she can find is working in a greasy diner—again.

Jay Thornton wants to quit enforcing and own his own boxing gym one day. But his loan shark boss saved him from the streets as a kid and he owes the man everything. Cutting ties isn’t so simple.

When Maggie pledges to pay back a friend’s loan, she becomes Jay’s next mark. Sparks fly between them, but choosing each other could mean the end of both their dreams.

COLLIDE is inspired by Elizabeth Gaskell’s NORTH & SOUTH

Check out Collide on Goodreads | Amazon (U.S.) | Amazon (Canada) | Amazon (U.K.) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


About the Author

Melanie Stanford

Melanie Stanford writes romance and YA of different genres. Her first novel, SWAY, a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, debuted December 2015 from Samhain Publishing and was shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. Since Samhain’s closure, Melanie decided to republish SWAY herself, along with the rest of her Romance Revisited series: CLASH, a Romance Revisited novella, COLLIDE, and a third novel coming 2018. She also has short stories featured in the Austenesque anthologies THE DARCY MONOLOGUES and THEN COMES WINTER.

Melanie reads too much, plays music too loud, is sometimes dancing, and always daydreaming. She would also like her very own TARDIS, but only to travel to the past. She lives outside Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband, four kids, and ridiculous amounts of snow.

Connect with Melanie: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram



Melanie is generously offering a $25 Amazon gift card as part of the blog tour. Enter through the Rafflecopter link. Good luck!

Thank you, Melanie, for being my guest today and sharing that very intriguing excerpt! Congrats on the new release!

Read Full Post »