To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Elizabeth Gaskell's birth, we embark on a series of unabridged and abridged recordings of her major novels. "North and South" follows our widely-praised recording of "Cranford" (2008), transporting the listener to the heart of Victorian England by vividly delineating the social landscape and an unlikely romance which flourishes within it. Saddened to be leaving behind the sophistication of the South, Margaret Hale approaches her new life in the unrefined, industrialised North with dread. Appalled at the poverty, struggle, and mean conditions that surround her, her revulsion particularly centres on the factory owner John Thornton. Yet, when circumstances conspire to bring them together, Margaret begins to see past crude stereotypes. Conjuring up a fantastic sense of time and place, Gaskell's novel of romantic suspense and changing perceptions, is a sheer delight in the hands of Manchester-born reader, Clare Wille.