I admit it. I love classics. Give me a man in a cravat and a top hat any day. But I know a lot of people who don’t understand my love for them, they think that all classics are boring, slow stories. Well, my friends, not all of them are…If you’re looking for your next classic or you’re interested in reading one for the first time, then look no further than a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell. I have to admit, I’m slightly obsessed with her work. There’s romance a plenty, but also plenty of other drama to keep you hooked.

So here’s a quick rundown of what Mrs Gaskell has to offer and why you should pick up one of her books pronto…



Mary Barton

Is there anyone sweeter or more loyal than Jem Wilson? Probably not. I mean, who wouldn’t love a man who is willing to sacrifice everything for the love of his life in the hope that she will be happy? But this book isn’t just about the unselfish Jem, it’s jam-packed with exciting twists and turns. There’s a murder, a raging fire, a high seas chase and a war between the classes.


The charming story of a small country town filled with spinsters (maybe that’s why I find it so appealing). The ladies of Cranford are so stuck in their ways that their daily lives are governed by rules so strict they border on the ridiculous. The adaptation is also a must watch and with a cast that reads like a who’s who of Period Drama, you know it’s going to be entertaining.


This book may or may not have made me cry. Controversial in its day, Ruth is a surprisingly sympathetic look at a ‘fallen woman’. When Ruth winds up abandoned, alone and with a baby on the way, her future looks bleak at best. But don’t think this story is all doom and gloom, it’s really a rather touching story of a woman struggling for redemption in a world that is against her.

Sylvia’s Lovers

Stock up on the tissues before starting this one…Luckily I was home alone when I finished it for the first time and didn’t have to explain why I was openly weeping. A bit Thomas Hardy-esque, it’s the tragic story of two men in love with the same woman. There’s all kinds of love on show here, unrequited love, obsessive love and unselfish love. My emotions!

North and South

Move over Mr Darcy, there’s a new leading man in town. Mr Thornton is passionate, sexy, intelligent, and a true gentleman. The man of my dreams – well Margaret Hale’s dreams maybe. He’s from the harsh north, she’s from the slow-paced south, they clash but we all know that he’s been in love with her all along.

Wives and Daughters

Fear not Jane Austen lovers, if small town country life and eligible bachelors are more your style, then this is the book for you.  There’s just one catch – it was never finished (it falls just short). It’s clear from where the story is headed just who is endgame, but if you’re after some closure then definitely check out the adaptation. Now there is a sweet ending if ever I saw one.

With a catalogue of novels that are so different, there really is something for everyone…So which one takes your fancy?


2 thoughts on “Why should you read Elizabeth Gaskell?

  1. Great post, Emma! I have added Mary Barton, Ruth and Sylivia’s Lovers to my ‘to read’ list! Already obsessed with the other three – particularly the adaptations! Ruth sounds kind of Tess of the D’Urbervilles-ish (another fave ;))


    1. Thanks, Eleni! 🙂 The adaptations are amazing. Don’t know why they haven’t made the other three, but they really need to!
      You’re right, Ruth is quite similar to Tess, hope you enjoy!!


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