Adapted from Elizabeth Gaskell’s classic nineteenth-century novel NORTH and SOUTH, Roses & Thorns presents a love story in the tradition of Pride and Prejudice, a gritty romantic drama set against the harsh industrial landscape of the English industrial revolution. (Finalist, Moondance Film Festival).
When her father renounces his ministry as a village cleric, Margaret Hale and her family are uprooted and transported to Milton in the heart of the industrial north, where Margaret’s father has arranged employment as a private tutor. Margaret’s contented, ordered world is shattered and she is forced to carve out a new understanding of herself as she faces the confusion of a throbbing industrial world, foreign to everything she has held as dear.
In the midst of this upheaval, Margaret meets John Thornton, a wealthy mill owner who rules his factory workers with fairness, but also with a rod of iron. John is Mr Hale’s main pupil, seeking to better his knowledge and lack of education. The proud Margaret looks down on him for this - “And as to Mr Thornton’s being in trade, why he can’t help that now, poor fellow. I don’t suppose his education
would fit him for much else”.
Early on, Margaret befriends a factory worker, Nicolas Higgins and his daughter Bessy and through them comes to sympathize with the workers’ grievances. In the personal and often bitter confrontations between Margaret and John over the issues of Capital and Labour, both hold fiercely to their positions, and their hostility plays out against a backdrop of civil unrest, class conflict and bloody strikes.
It is their tentative, antagonistic approach, then their
growing respect and final reconciliation in love
that is the triumph of the story.