A Heart for Milton: A Tale from North and South, by Trudy Brasure – A Review

A Heart for Milton, by Trudy Brasure (2011)Review by Kimberly Denny-Ryder

Based on the iconic work of Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South, Trudy Brasure’s A Heart For Milton picks up in the middle of the original work, with Margaret, a 19th century unmarried English woman, ready to leave her home soon after the death of her father.  She has finally realized her love for John Thornton, an industrialist and mill owner in their small town of Milton, but fears a relationship between the two will never happen due to her earlier dismissal of him.  In the original tale, they are kept apart, yet in this work, a brave move by Thornton ensures their immediate and happy marriage and settling in Milton.  Brasure then weaves a tale of challenges, twists, and romantic turns that face Margaret and John in their new life together.

When I read Gaskell’s North and South I continually commented to myself about how much I liked the way Gaskell presented both the thoughts of the north and the south of England on the Industrial Revolution and social issues of the time.  The romance took a backseat to the more prevalent storylines of striking mills and labor unions.  I was happy to see Brasure add these differing opinions into A Heart For Milton.  Including these discussions on social issues not only offers the reader insight into what living in 19th century England was like, but it also offers deeper insight into all of the characters in general once one begins to understand the social context of the time.

Brasure’s vision of Thornton was a truly spectacular one.  In the original North and South we know from his interactions with Mrs. Thornton that he is a caring, hardworking man.  From his interactions with Margaret we know him to be a stoic intellectual.  Brasure’s vision of him as a completely besotted husband was wonderful new layer.  This softer side of Thornton, falling in love with Margaret, as well as the beauty of southern England, made the story warming and romantic.  It was wonderful to see the side of him that is wholly mesmerized by his wife.  It was also wonderful to see Margaret not only as a doting wife, but a woman that still stuck to her principles.  Their developing relationship was a worthwhile journey to follow.

The only thing that became a bit repetitive was Thornton and Margaret’s ways of describing each other in their minds.  The adjectives became a bit overused by the end of the novel and I found myself getting agitated.  Other than this, however, I really enjoyed seeing the fleshed out roles of Mr. Bell and Mrs. Thronton.  I was always curious to how Mrs. Thronton would adjust to Margaret being in their lives, considering that she is such a formidable woman.  In all, Brasure’s work was a great fit with the original, dovetailing nicely and giving readers of North and South a great fairytale that they can enjoy for years to come.

4 out of 5 Stars

A Heart for Milton: A Tale from North and South, by Trudy Brasure
CreateSpace (2011)
Trade paperback (398) pages
ISBN: 978-1463683436

Kimberly Denny-Ryder is the owner/moderator of Reflections of a Book Addict, a book blog dedicated to following her journey of reading 100 books a year, while attempting to keep a life! When not reading, Kim can be found volunteering as the co-chair of a 24hr cancer awareness event, as well as an active member of Quinnipiac University’s alumni association.  When not reading or volunteering, Kim can be found at her full-time job working in vehicle funding. She lives with her husband Todd and two cats, Belle and Sebastian, in Connecticut.

© 2012 Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Austenprose

14 thoughts on “A Heart for Milton: A Tale from North and South, by Trudy Brasure – A Review

  1. North & South is one of my favorites and a closer look into John and Margaret’s happiness sounds wonderful! Definitely going on my (lengthy) to be read list.

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  2. Thanks for the favorable review! It was ‘North and South’ that impelled me to pick up my pen and become a writer. I love it! I’m currently working on my next novel – a ‘what if’ based on (of course) N&S. Happy reading to all!

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  3. I am so glad that you reviewed this book. I have had my eye on it but I wasn’t sure if it was worth reading. I love North and South and after your lovely review, I will definitely be adding it to my ever growing TBR pile!!=)

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  4. I have had peeks into the book, as I have it on my Kindle already, but yet need to read it from start to finish. Thaks to your review I´ll try to do that soon! :)

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  5. North and South both the book and the movie is one of my absolute favorites. I agreed with your review about the times, changes, circumstances and opinions of the characters. I have had this on my tbr list but I just haven’t had the opportunity to get it. I am even moreso looking forward to reading it now. I’m so glad of your input.

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  6. I read this variation to North and South and I also gave it 4 out of 5 stars. So romantic! I read a few sequels to Gaskell’s North and South in the last months and I reviewed them on goodreads and my blog, FLY HIGH. Still looking for the 5/5 sequel, so I’ll go on reading others. Have you got any suggestion?

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  7. A Heart for Milton is beautifully written and has made me so very joyful every chapter I have read thus far! I look forward to finishing this lovely book by Trudy Brasure!

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  8. Pingback: #87 A Guest Review of A Heart For Milton by Trudy Brasure « Reflections of a Book Addict

  9. I loved North and South and revisit it from time to time. Is “A Heart For Milton” a romantic rewrite, or a continuation? For me, the angst between our “destined lovers” was what kept the story more interesting – and in my mind was what became the bonding agent for their H.E.A. Life! However, I enjoy a romantic tale. (BANDITOCAT on NetFlix).

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