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Part 1: Trudy’s post + N&S Quiz + Book Giveaway

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Dear Readers,

81uiI+fCcwL._SL1500_      Today I have such a treat for you I can hardly contain my glee!

Fellow Richard Armitage/North & South connoisseur and author extraordinaire Trudy Brasure has accepted my invitation to share with us her take on Gaskell’s masterpiece and she’ll be spoiling us today and Friday, so make sure you stop by.InConsequenceSmall

Most of you are familiar with Trudy’s writing as she has long been considered one of the most notable fanfiction turned published authors with an uncanny ability to capture our Mr Thornton and make us fall for him hard all over again.

I leave you in the capable hands of my guest blogger and one of my most favorite N&S continuation authors (not to mention a thoroughly lovely person…):

Trudy Brasure

Trudy author pic

Five things you probably didn’t know about me:

1. I had a great childhood. As one of nine children, I was surrounded mostly by brothers. Boys? Yeah, we got ’em. I faked my first crush in school to fit in with the crowd. Heck, I didn’t find boys that mysterious or enchanting in those pubescent years.

2. My obsession before I discovered John Thornton/Armitage was … um… Abraham Lincoln. What can I say? I love a good, brooding man in a top hat.

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3.  My first plane ride was from Toronto to Paris – alone, at age 17 – to stay for a month with the family of the exchange student our family had hosted the summer before. Unforgettable adventure for a small town girl from Pennsylvania.

4. I’m the organist/pianist on Sundays at the church I attend. All those years of piano lessons were not wasted!

5. I’ve never been to England! I know, I know…. it’s really quite presumptuous of me to write stories set in a place I’ve never been. Thank goodness for my British editor. I’ve been close, though! My husband and I spent our honeymoon in Ireland and Scotland.

Get your pencils (or quills) ready for QUIZ TIME!
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(John has studied hard for this.)

Think you know North and South? I’ve seen a few fun quizzes posted here and there. But they were too easy.  Try this mean baby if you’ve read the book.   Hey, if you’ve read my stories you might be able to answer a handful of these.  Level: Wicked

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post for the answers!

1. How old is Margaret at the time of Edith’s wedding?

2. Where is the Lennox family from?

3. What military rank did Aunt Shaw’s late husband hold?

4. What is Mr. Bell’s first name?

5. Is it Bessy or Bessie?

6. What is the port town nearest Helstone?

7. How did Leonards happen to be at the station to discover Fred?

8. What are Mr. and Mrs. Hale’s first names?

9. True/False:  Gaskell was a master of precision in writing the sequence of events.

10. What pet did Aunt Shaw have?

11. What is the name of Frederick’s intended (and later, wife)?

12. Name one of the books that Hannah Thornton reads from.

13. What personal tragedy did Hannah silently recall during her visit with the dying Mrs. Hale?

14. True/False: The Great Exhibition is mentioned in a conversation between Thornton and Mr. Hale.

15. True/False:  Thornton discovers that Margaret has a brother from Mr. Bell.

16. True/False: Higgins calls Thornton a bulldog.

17. Mr. Thornton made a point of visiting Helstone while returning from a business trip to what venue?

18. True/False: Mr. Thornton attends the funeral of both Margaret’s mother and father.

19. What is the name of the member of parliament who comes to dinner at Aunt Shaw’s house in the penultimate chapter?

20 . How much time passed between Thornton’s post-riot declaration of love and the final scene in London in which Margaret offers her fortune to Thornton?  (a.) six months  (b.) a year  (c.) 18 months  (d.) two years

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

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If you loved the angst and repressed passion Richard portrayed as John Thornton in North and South, you’ll love my new story! In Consequence puts a twist in the story at the time of the riot which spins the developing story of love and attraction in a whole new direction.  Available for free at C19 and Wattpad, In Consequence is also for sale as a Kindle book at Amazon. It will soon be available in print and as a Nook, ibook, etc. as well.

Leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win a copy of In Consequence – paperback or Kindle. (worldwide) The winner will be announced next Thursday, February 6th.

Share what you love most about N&S, ask me a question, or talk to me about my story or Gaskell’s.  There’s nothing I enjoy better than engaging in discussion about North and South!  

Coming up tomorrow: Trudy’s pet peeves regarding all things North and South as well as the answers to the quiz!

The Book Giveaway is now finished!

winner

The Perfect Hobbit première Companion for Richard

KRA Week is in full swing!

I hope you’ve given the Scavenger Hunt 2012 a try.

Day 3 questions were a killer, and I’ve been moaning about them ever since they broke this ignorant’s back 😉

I’ve answered the questions from the other days (correctly, so Yahoooo!), and decided to go back to Day 3 later.

The deadline is 3rd of September.

In other news, if you’ve enjoyed the wonderful work TORn has been doing, it’s your chance to give back.

RAFrenzy explains.

With the première of The Hobbit moving closer, and our excitement levels rising to disturbing levels, I was thinking about finding a date for Richard for the big red carpet event.

As far as I know, RA’s never taken a girlfriend or female companion to an event promoting the projects he’s been in, so I though it would be fun to pair him off.

Before some of you start huffing and puffing, and blowing this post down, let me explain.

Let’s stick this in the ‘Silly Sunday’ category.

Take one tuxedo-clad Richard, like so.

Take a few of the more interesting female characters who have appeared opposite an RA character.

I’ve decided to go for the less obvious choice for The Hobbit date for Richard.

So, let’s break all the rules, and transplant them into a reality where going to a première with Mr Armitage is actually an option.

You know, like you transplant yourself into a reality where Richard Armitage does his best Harry Kennedy impression, decides you’re the love of his life, and insists you marry him 😉

Here are a few of my suggestions:

Ros Myers

Pros:

A very beautiful and intelligent woman

Richard could need the extra security at the première

Cons:

Could beat RA to a pulp

Would probably be on a secret mission, therefore placing Richard in danger

Fanny Thornton

Pros:

A good catch

The ultimate Milton party girl to rival Pris Hilton

Cons:

The ultimate Milton party girl, probably mimicking Paris Hilton in her behaviour

Would draw attention to herself with her flashy clothes, nervous giggle, and superior manner

Would test the patience of a saint

Katie Dartmouth

Pros:

Very intelligent, would have plenty of interesting stories to tell

Political and passionate

Cons:

Political and passionate

The daughter of a very famous father, which could draw unwanted attention

Alice Tinker

Pros

She’d be ever so thankful for the chance to get out of Dibley and rub shoulders with celebs

She’s a good laugh, and once a tall handsome man explains a joke, she actually gets it

Good to have the descendent of Christ at an event like that

Cons:

Richard would actually have to stand there while Alice annoys all the celebs

The pink anorak would clash with the red carpet

AgzyM

Pros:

I’d be ever so grateful

Cons:

Too many to mention 😉

These are a few of my suggestions.

Who do you think should be Richard’s date for the Hobbit première?

Just remember we are sticking with characters, and not actresses who play them 😉

My North & South Anniversary 5/7. Wallpapering Milton

I’m still celebrating my 1st N&S Anniversary. In my previous post I talked about death in Manchester during the Industrial Revolution.

What is it about wallpaper that upset the Hale ladies so?

Why focus on the walls when you find yourself in a strange place, so far from the home you loved, in a sub par dwelling?

Wallpaper popularity saw an increased in Elizabethan England, although its history dates back to the Medieval times, when patterns were painted on walls, and woven tapestries were attached to the walls of churches and castles.

 It offered protection against dampness, and hid the smoke stains from the fireplace.

It also provided a decorative element and enhanced the room’s interior.

By the early 1700s, wallpaper became so popular, a tax was introduced an any paper “painted, printed or stained to serve as hangings.”

 The industry continued to grow with the rise in popularity, and the development of a printing machine in 1839 that allowed for the printing of endless lengths of paper.

The Manchester Exhibitions of 1849 added to their popularity, and there was an entire wallpaper section at Great Exhibition 1851, showcasing an overwhelming variety of design, probably much to Fanny Thornton’s delight.

Wallpaper could display new-found interests, especially those connected to newly discovered cultures within the British Empire.

They were also a reflection of prosperity and status.

Fashion dictated that a bare room reveals poor taste.

During the Victorian era, wallpapers fell into two classes: simple, meaning repeated geometric patterns; and complicated, which would consist of flowers, vases, shields.

 Many appeared three-dimensional.

A standard Victorian parlour would be full of ornamented furniture, with knickknacks cluttering the surfaces.

The wallpaper meant to embellish this design, and to imitate fabrics, drapery, and architectural mouldings.

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Others were to give the impression of marble, wood grain, leather or damask.

Mrs. Hale and Margaret chose a paper that most resembled the one at Helston. As we know, almost, but not quite.

It would stand to reason that Milton taste would differ from that of the south.

 As Fanny states, the fashion is the same, although it arrives in Milton delayed.

 John Thornton concludes: “On behalf of Milton taste, I’m glad we almost past muster”.

The paper chosen by the Hale family depicts a floral pattern on a beige background.

It would have been a point of honour for the Hale ladies to entertain their guests in an environment that reflected their status and social standing.

For more on the history of wallpaper, visit the V&A page

My North & South Anniversary 4/7. The Dying Man and the Industrial Machine

You can read about the Victorian wedding here.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the living conditions in Manchester during the Industrial Revolution were harsh.

The death rate was related to wealth, with the poor living the shortest.

There was a chronic lack of hygiene, minimal knowledge of sanitary care, and little awareness about how illnesses spread, let alone how to cure them.

Diseases such as cholera, typhoid and typhus were devastating to the population of the overcrowded city, and the bigger the population, the worse the problem got.

Accidents occured in many mills and factories, with fire and machine malfunction being a major cause of death.

Respiratory problems caused by pollution and working in cotton mills, as well lung diseases like TB contributed to te high death rate.

The working conditions were as atrocious as their living ones, and the workers diet was poor.

Malnutrition was seen as a cause of lower immunity, and therefore a cause of many illnesses.

Every time I watch North & South, the sight of those pig heads parked on the street make me shudder.

Then I noticed some more meat on the streets of Milton, when Mr. Thornton was passing by.

This time is was an unusual display of chickens hanging by their feel, no doubt waiting to be plucked.

The Manchester working-class were at the mercy of the food suppliers. Because of the sheer size of the population, the choice was limited.

Let’s remember that this was a time when canned goods were more expensive than fresh, and transporting perishable goods was a complicated process.

The mill masters and their families, like the Thorntons could afford expensive delicacies like fruit, but poor workers would often go hungry.

The average death age for a laborer was just 17.

My North & South Anniversary 3/7. Fanny Thornton’s Big Day

This post is part of a series of loose thoughts on N&S to celebrate my 1st anniversary.

You can read about the Thorntons dinner party here.

Fanny Thornton had been preparing for her wedding to Watson with zeal, buying out most of the shop stock.

She was a huge strain on the Thornton budget, and it came at a very bad time, but having someone else take responsibility for her was a relief.

Undoubtedly, her choice of dress would have been dictated by the fashion of the time. Most middle and upper-class brides copied the style of Queen Victoria.

In the 1840s white was a very expensive fabric and colour, so only the wealthiest brides could afford it. They also wore Honiton lace.

During the Industrial Revolution, many hand-made products, like lace, started being machine-made.

 This caused many skilled labourers to become unemployed. The choice of lace as part of her wedding dress was not accidental.

Victoria’s wedding dress was made of a single piece of handmade Honiton lace.

By the 1850s and 60s, the trend for white wedding dresses had spread, and it had become conventionalized.

Prior to Queen Victoria’s white dress, most upper-class brides wore silver or metallic fabrics.

They were extremely expensive, and served as a reminder of the wealth of the family.

Victoria was not just a royal bride, a princes or Queen Consort when she married.

She was Queen, and as the leader of her country, she felt she needed to make a statement as the leader of an empire. It wasn’t her wealth or beauty that was to be displayed, but rather her duty to her kingdom.

Therefore, instead of flaunting her wealth in a gold or silver dress, she decided to wear a white gown, with the exquisite lace decoration, to show her support for the British industry.

Many believe that the bride wearing white as a sign of virginity and purity didn’t come into play until the mid 20th century.

My North & South Anniversary 1/7. A Revolution in Manchester

It’s been a year since I watched first North & South, and I’ve decided to celebrate!

The next couple of posts will be related to this mini-series.

It’s not like I haven’t written about it before, but I hope to mention a few things I have observed the many times I’ve re-watched it.

I’ll start by something a little more personal.

I was raised in Manchester, though I often joke with RA fans that it was Milton.

Of course, the post-industrial reality of my upbringing differed significantly from the one we could observe in the series.

It was this city where Marx and Engels cooked up the Communist Manifesto.

Manchester was also the original industrial city, leaving London far behind during the Industrial Revolution.

It become the largest centre of manufacturing in the world, a place where ambitious, people could make a fortune and make a name for themselves.

Chimneys and factories were larger and loomed over churches and palaces. The air was polluted, and the city was shroud in a cloud of smog.

The shocking rise in the industrialised society in the 19th c. were evident in the horrible conditions caused by the rapid and uncontrolled development.

Manchester was an example of what to avoid when industry in he United States started becoming more significant. The idea was for the US to remain a pastoral landscape, with farmers growing cotton, and leaving the filth of the industrial world to the British.

The masters of the mills built fine residences and libraries, but the workers conditions were dire. They lived in shacks scattered around the factories. Outbreaks of illnesses like cholera were common, and the death rate of infants was over 50%.

The death rate was connected to wealth.

The workers were weighed down by poor wages, impossibly long working hours, dangerous and unsanitary working conditions.  The working day lasted on average 14 hours, although without any laws restricting the  amount of hours, the mill masters that often forced their employees to work longer.

There was little or no health provisions.

Working class children played an important role in the economy of Manchester. As they were paid ten times less than adults, they were eagerly hired.

The youngest children were employed to crawl beneath machinery while still in operation.  They had to gather up loose cotton, and many died by getting caught up in machinery. Those who did survive to adulthood had permanent stoops or were crippled from the prolonged crouching.

There was little sympathy for the ‘under class’, as the attitudes tended to be laissez-faire.

Acquiring wealth was seen as a sign of virtue, therefore, the poor were bad, and the rich were good.

Through hard work one could be expected to be rewarded by an increase in wealth.  As much as the elderly and widows could expect aid, the unemployed were seen as lazy, and could expect no such help.

My experience of life in Manchester, over 100 years later, was of course different, although I do like looking through pictures from the Victorian times.

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I was raised in a middle-class residential area of The Greater Manchester area called Northenden, which was mentioned as Norwordine in the Domesday Book of 1086.

Despite the urbanisation process of the 19th century, Northenden remained predominantly rural area, but later absorbing the overspill of  southern Manchester

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I remember my childhood, like most do, in idyllic terms, with my primary school at the end of the road, garden parties at the Old Rectory (picture above), Bonfire Night fireworks, events at St. Wilfred’s Church.

These are very fond memories, indeed 🙂

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