John Thornton: “One word more. You look as if you thought it tainted you to be loved by me. You cannot avoid it. Nay, I, if I would, cannot cleanse you from it. But I would not, if I could. I have never loved any woman before: my life has been too busy, my thoughts too much absorbed with other things. Now I love, and will love.But do not be afraid of too much expression on my part.” ― Elizabeth GaskellNorth and South

Maybe not the most romantic words you'd expect from a gentleman, but so passionate! Don't you agree?
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Both to those of you who still believe this is a very special day to live with very special ones and to those who sneer and smirk at the thought of chocolates and flowers, candles and flirting or alike. 
Leave it or take it, this is our Valentine's post and for us today it is an occasion more to celebrate romance and passion. Why should we skip the chance? 
Author Trudy Brasure is my very special guest with a blog post dedicated to our (mine and hers) favourite love story, North and South and its hero, our dream Valentine, Mr John Thornton. Read her piece and take your chances to win a paperback  or ebook copy of  her latest retelling, In Consequence

Firmly within the era of Victorian propriety, Elizabeth Gaskell draws one of the most passionate heroes in literature.

We meet the hero of North and South, John Thornton, when our heroine arrives in her new surroundings. Although Margaret is utterly unaware of his history, we find out later that Mr. Thornton is a man who has toiled for many years in relentless patterns of self-denial and principled determination to raise his family from poverty to a dignified position of wealth and esteem. He prides himself on his self-control, but his very first encounter with the dauntless and poised gentleman’s daughter from the south sends seismic shock waves through his ordered world and shakes his self-command.

He can scarcely form coherent sentences as he takes in her confident grace and natural beauty. Everything about Margaret mesmerizes him. “Mr Thornton was in habits of authority himself, but she seemed to assume some kind of rule over him at once.” He is confounded at his own potent reaction while she seems haughtily indifferent to his presence and the Master leaves the room feeling “more awkward in every limb than he had ever done in all his life before.”

When he arrives for tea at the Hales’ a few months later, his fate is sealed. From the moment he arrives he observes the warm, comfortable ambiance of the rented home and promptly attributes these “graceful cares” to Margaret! While she prepares the tea, he can’t keep his eyes off her. But perhaps the most telling impulse he has that evening is the intensified longing to have something of what he witnesses when Margaret and her father play a little game with the sugar tongs and he sees “her eyes lifted to her father, full of light, half-laughter and half-love.” Long dormant needs begin to seethe under the surface as the Master gets a glimpse of a domestic bliss he had not hitherto imagined for himself.

Alas, any hope that his admiration will be returned is dashed by her bold censure of his hardened ideals. So he keeps the turbulent wrestlings of his attraction repressed, as reason would dictate. But we see signs of the foment within when a sigh escapes the Master as his eyes drink in the sight of Margaret’s lips, hair, and bare shoulders (and doubtless the ample view that formal gowns were designed to reveal!) at the dinner party.

However, it is not Margaret’s beauty alone that entices. He seeks to know her mind and is fired by the challenge she raises to his settled theories. She is the embodiment of everything that fascinates: feminine softness and compassion and formidable strength and intellect. And now the son who patiently endured deprivation and practiced austerity for his family’s sake finds himself wanting something for his very own.

He tries to cap his simmering desire to love and be loved by this girl, but the surging turmoil of events at the riot finally force an eruption of blinding passion as he carries her unconscious form in his arms. With seething emotion and a faint glimmer of hope of attaining her acceptance, John declares the intensity of his love to the vicar’s daughter the very next day, only to be soundly rejected. (Gaskell uses the word “passion” no less than four times in this heated chapter.)

The aftershocks of his rejection send him reeling and he cannot function for several hours as he wanders the countryside while the seething foam and fury of his devastated hopes slowly settle and solidify into helpless determination and undaunted resolution to love even when all hope of being loved in return is withered.

Then comes the prolonged struggle to contain his feelings and maintain his dignity, which is exacerbated by his belief that Margaret loves another. The nobility of his character and the depth of his devotion are sorely tested when he saves her from the inquest. John strives to continue on as before and to show that he is not broken, but the reader is given glimpses of the raging battle in his heart in the occasional outbursts of bitterness, flares of jealousy, and silent surges of desperation that Gaskell writes so exquisitely.

He manages to survive every disappointment with admirable strength and humility. But the loss of Margaret to London and the failure of his business add a crushing weight to his soul and steal the youthful vigor from his demeanor. Higgins notices the Master’s doleful appearance during these trying days.

By the time John comes to Harley Street for dinner, it has been over a year since he has seen Margaret. He has outwardly mastered his ardent feelings enough to appear as a cordial acquaintance to the girl of his dreams, but even in this setting of a few hours he cannot contain a flash of jealousy, repress a sigh, or share a moment of merriness in her presence without a stab of painful longing.

But all his anguish and suffering come to an end two days later when John and Margaret meet alone in Aunt Shaw’s back drawing room. Here, in an atmosphere of electric tension between the long-separated lovers, a spark of hope ignites the trembling passion that was ever latent in John as he discovers at last that his burning love is returned.

Sigh. North and South is definitely my favorite love story. Such passion and devotion despite every hardship! I love an anguished hero who gets his just reward in the end: some happiness and a lot of good loving!

   My new novel, In Consequence, includes a lot of repressed Thornton passion. How much would John’s struggle with his passion be heightened if the promise of realizing his desires were tantalizingly encouraged? I’ve put a twist in the original plot that leads to new circumstances and a different evolution of John and Margaret’s relationship. I hope that those that enjoyed both the anguish and the fulfillment which Gaskell writes in North and South will love immersing themselves into the swirling emotions of this beautiful love story again in my rendition of events.

Trudy Brasure

About the author:
Trudy Brasure is a hopeless romantic and history enthusiast with a penchant for the Victorian Era. She writes in the morning before her three children awake and school begins.
The author began her own personal romance story with a whirlwind courtship. Her married life started in a picturesque colonial town on the coast of Massachusetts. She now resides in California, where she and her family endeavor to enjoy the beauty of nature whenever possible.
Find out more about the author at a heartformilton.com. Talk with her about "North and South" at C19 or WestofMilton.com

About the book:

Upon being abruptly uprooted from her idyllic childhood home, Margaret is thrust into the industrial world of Milton where conflict, inequity, and bitterness seem to beset her at every turn. How can she ever find peace and happiness in such a place? 

Mr. Thornton longs for the chance to show this newcomer from the South that beneath his strict adherence to business principles he possesses a heart. Captivated from the first by her beauty, strength, and independent spirit, the lonely Master finds himself increasingly tantalized by her presence and stirred by her words. 

When a riot breaks out at Marlborough Mills, events take a decidedly different turn from the novel, spinning a story of attraction and developing love in a whole new direction…. 

From the author of "A Heart for Milton" comes another tale of the burgeoning love and longing between John Thornton and Margaret Hale, those exquisitely drawn characters from Elizabeth Gaskell's masterpiece "North and South." 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


junewilliams7 said...

I love that Thornton made his own fortune - he worked hard, he saved, he scrimped, he sacrificed - and never swerved from his goal. Nor will he swerve from his love for his wife and family.

Marcia Belloube said...

Hi!!! I am praying to win this book!!!

And if it is signed, I'll be very happy!

Marcia BElloube

dstoutholcomb said...

I'd love to read how she altered it.

As for the movie--it's all about Richard! ;)

BeckyC said...

I love N&S and have watched many times. There are not too many variations out there so I am thrilled to find one. Thank you for the giveaway.

Margay Leah Justice said...

I just love this story and the dynamic between Thornton and Margaret. I can see where there's all this underlying passion between them that really wasn't fully realized in the story.

Anonymous said...

Would love to win

Monica said...

This sounds fabulous! It's been awhile since I read N&S but I love the film with Richard Armitage (Omg! swoon). I haven't read any N&S variations and I'd love to read Ms Brasure's take on it. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

Anonymous said...

Great fun. Thanks Marguerite B

Ceri said...

I LOVE North and South! I've read that book a few times but never anything based on it, would love to try this :)

Ceri said...

I LOVE North and South, but have never read any books based on it, would like to read this.

Fanny/iz4blue said...

My favorite part of North and South as Gaskell wrote is to hear what goes on John Thornton's heart & mind. So of course I would love to read Trudy's continuation on my kindle :)

Heidi Reads... said...

I'd lovve to read your book! I adore the movie and just read the book over the summer. The movie has the best kiss ever, in my opinion!

Anonymous said...

A wonderful Valentine post. You mentioned C19.
C19 as I understand it, is a board that requires membership.
I would like to discuss N&S over there.

Is it free or is there a fee?

Thanks, Mrs J

Trudy said...

Thanks for everyone's interest in my alternative N&S story. I love how accessible Thornton is as a romantic hero - the modern reader can sympathize with him because he has worked hard to get where he is in life and because Gaskell gives us fabulous glimpses of what's actually going on in his head. And Richard Armitage brings out all this passionate intensity to perfection! The best screen kiss ever? I heartily agree!
I'm happy to sign the book, if you win, Marcia. ;)
C19 is a free Internet forum for fans of period drama and literature where N&S is a favorite. Richard Armitage fans congregate here as well. :)

Maria Grazia said...

Dear Mrs J., C19 is completely free and is a virtual meeting place for very interesting discussions. If you are interested join at http://c19.proboards.com/
Thanks for dropping by and commenting :-)

mariam said...

I hardly know any sequel or variation made on N&S which is quite sad. N&S is not my favourite novel alongside P&P but also a novel in front of which it is impossible not to cry or laugh or smile ! (I did all of these)
I am quite curious to know which kind of path theytook and how their relationship would evolve and if Margaret's parents and Bell would be still alive if the story was different...

WarmisunquAusten said...

North and South, one of my favorites. It sounds so good. I am looking forward to reading this book.
Thank you for the giveaway that offer.
Good luck with the release, Trudy.

Unknown said...

I've always been a fan of N&S, I'm now excited about reading this new retelling.

Anonymous said...

I've read N&S both in English and italian version and i love the story. I'm thrilled about the new retelling