Margaret is intelligent, independent-minded, and passionate about her own concerns. But how does she carve a niche and an identity for herself within the repressive constraints of Victorian society? This sequel to Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South takes off from the concluding scene in its retelling on the BBC miniseries. It is a Victorian feminist bildungsroman (coming-of-age novel) couched in romance.
Gaskell wrote Margaret Hale as a character blossoming into one who did not fit the mold of the typical woman of her time. She exudes a natural self-assurance and a brooding intelligence that butts itself against John Thornton, the virile alpha male who is, nevertheless, vulnerable.
Margaret of the North focuses on how Margaret whittles away at Victorian repression—both self-imposed or socially-dictated. She marries John Thornton and confronts not only her place in a rapidly changing society but also her growing awareness of her persona as a woman with compelling sexual, familial, and self-actualizing needs. One who wants a voice and makes a mark.
Targeted Age Group:
18 and above
How is Writing In Your Genre Different from Others?
Every genre has a formula for the story that is told. In Romance, there is usually the expectation of a happily ever after ending and a relatively linear story line. That is, there is a recognizable beginning, middle, and end. Conflict must occur between the main protagonists before they finally come together. Many readers of romance novels expect these elements. That is not quite what happens in my book. While there are plenty of romantic moments between the hero and the heroine, the romance is also in the adventure and excitement Margaret undergoes as she discovers herself. Her journey happens mostly internally.
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
I don’t presume to be able to give advice. Writing is a very personal journey. If you are sincere and true to what you know when you write—in spite of all the advice you get on how you should do it—I believe you will produce something that resonates with someone. Reading is equally personal. You can’t please everyone, even those who like the genre you are writing in. I would end with this: Ask yourself why you write. If you do it for the money, then prepare to be disappointed. Unless you (or your publisher) pour(s) money into marketing.
EJourney thinks of herself as a flaneuse, watching life unfold, then writing and illustrating what she loves about what she sees. In a past life, EJ, who has a dormant Ph.D. in the field of psychology from the University of Illinois, did mental health program research, evaluation and development. Now, she does art in various media— from oils to digital paintings— and writes when she feels she has something to say. Some of her musings on Art and Such, Travel, Tasty Morsels, and State of Being reside in cyberspace at http:// www.eveonalimb.com. EJ did the digital “paintings” (cover and all other illustrations) for Margaret of the North, on an iPad using SketchbookPro.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The North and South BBC series based on Elizabeth Gaskell‘s book, North and South sat on my Netflix queue a long time and I only tuned in on it because I wanted to clean up my queue. I nearly saw the whole series in one sitting. Then, I had to read the book it was based on. Most people, who’ve watched the series, fall for the male protagonist. I was intrigued by the female character and how she upset my views on Victorian women. Women’s issues have always been in the back of my mind—as they probably are for all women although some may not be aware of it. The story ended almost abruptly, both on the further growth of the female character and the romance. It seemed to beg for a continuation.