After watching North & South for the very first time, I was desperate to talk about the story with others because I simply couldn’t stop thinking about it. I found C19 within a few days. It saved me from certain lunacy (or did it?). What a relief to know that I wasn’t the only one suffering from the effects of watching a Victorian cotton mill owner smolder for nearly four hours. Finally I could discuss and ask questions … but that was not all. There were stories there! Other people, whom the gods had allowed to find N&S years before me, had written stories about John and Margaret.
I had discovered fan fiction! Cue the music from on high.
I spent hours upon hours immersing myself in Milton again through the creative talents of many fellow fans. I devoured all the stories set in the Victorian Era and then, still hungry for more, tried those that transferred the romance to a modern setting.
Eventually, I turned to writing my own stories. It’s the most effective way of getting the story fleshed out in exactly the way you see it playing in your head.
But what if you’re not inclined to write your own N&S story? There are plenty of tales to get lost in, written by those who couldn’t leave the images of Margaret and John swirling in their heads until they had attempted to transcribe it for others to enjoy.
Here are some of my favorites, heavily influenced by my long-term love for and connection to the C19 forum:
Traditional continuation stories
Pack Clouds Away My all-time favorite continuation from the book. So Gaskellesque: tender and passionate all at once.
True North Wonderful continuation from the mini-series written with historical detail and a little spice.
Mistress of Marlborough Unfinished, but a favorite at C19. They go to Cadiz to visit Fred!
Variations stories / What-ifs
Fate & Circumstance Unfinished, but so worth it anyway! The prose is incredible. I’m left with my jaw hanging every time. And the sexual tension is staggering. A must-read, but be prepared for a grinding halt to the story.
Under Compulsion Margaret is pressured to marry Thornton to save her reputation after the riot. Margaret warms to John as his wife.
Bring the Heart to Earth The premise is tough to take, but the reconciliation involved is a slow-burn delight.
Past and Present There’s a magnetic attraction between Milton hotel owner John Thornton and the girl who’s just moved into town. Intense! I love this author’s writing.
East and West Sweet story based on N&S although the names are changed. ‘Margaret’ is a California liberal who moves to NYC where she meets the conservative financial executive ‘John Thornton.’
Come Back to Me Maggie and Jon endure a tumultuous relationship that includes crossing social classes.
Deep Blue Sea Fantastic Regency world story based on N&S. The names have been changed, but ‘John Thornton’ is a sea captain! A creative and spicy spin on the story.
North and Spoof This is a hilarious spoof that throws a little Thorin in with the stolid Mr Thornton. It takes a special skill and a little inherent wackiness to create a brilliant parody. The author talks about her craft and inspiration on another post here.
North and South for Dummies Who doesn’t need a good laugh now and then? A zany look at a few of the episodes in N&S.
You’re welcome to tell us your favorites!