‘A Heart for Milton: A Tale from North and South’ by Trudy Brasure

BOOK BLURB: When Margaret Hale hastily rejected the wealthy industrialist’s fervent marriage proposal, she could not have foreseen the events that would lead her to change her mind and open her heart. But was it too late now to let the handsome, brooding mill owner know? Set amidst the clamor of Victorian England’s Industrial Revolution, this is a tale of hope, trial, and love’s fulfillment.

Based on the novel North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, this book weaves a change in the original plot to create a beautiful continuation of an enduring love story.


“What are you doing here?” he asked, finding his voice first. His pulse hammered as he took in the sight of her in her thin nightclothes. She looked like a goddess in her flowing white dressing gown, her auburn hair spilling down her back, laying in long tendrils around her shoulders.

“I…I was going to get some water, but saw a light here,” she managed to say as a way of explaining herself, feeling a little out of breath to be standing so close to him. “What are you doing here?” she asked him in turn, casting her eyes downward to stare at the fabric of his waistcoat.

“I could not sleep and thought I might read,” he explained in a soft, low voice that stupefied her. His eyes raptly traveled the length of her. Margaret stood in the dim shadow of his towering form; the candle flickering in her hand cast a warm glow on her face and illuminated the draping cloth that covered her body, revealing a tantalizing outline of her waist and hips.

“Do you often have trouble sleeping?” Margaret inquired curiously, her speech wavering as she cautiously lifted her face to meet his heated gaze.

“Lately, yes – when I cannot stop thinking of you,” Mr. Thornton intoned breathlessly, his blue eyes blazing with ardor. He felt himself perilously close to certain danger. He knew he should disengage himself from her, allow her to recover her modesty and flee from his presumptuous gaze. But he could not tear his eyes from her for fear that she would indeed escape from him.

“Oh,” Margaret uttered, transfixed by the intensity of his stare and the play of candlelight dancing across the chiseled features of his face. He was so close to her that she could smell the clean scent of sandalwood emanating from his body.

Wordlessly, Mr. Thornton reached out a trembling hand to grasp a long lock of her hair, watching in fascination as the silken tress passed languidly through his fingers. Margaret felt her knees weaken in response to this intimate gesture, and her heart pounded in her ears.

“I should go,” she breathed, weakly attempting to recover her sensibility; however, she lifted her eyes to his and was drawn to him like a moth to the flame.

“Yes…you should,” he whispered, bringing his face closer to hers, unable to resist the beguiling sight of her parted lips.”

***   ***   ***

***   ***   ***

“Miles Apart

He studied in reverent fascination every object within that had held communion with her: the rose-colored curtains, the elegant marble-topped vanity, the glass-framed pressed flowers hanging on the wall, and the simple chest of drawers with a lace overlay. The trunks Dixon had packed lay opened on the floor, bulging with all the delicate finery of a lady’s wardrobe.

His eyes narrowed with interest as his gaze rested upon the garment that lay at the top of the pile. It was the elegant gown she had worn at the dinner party those many months ago. He stepped forward and crouched down to examine it. Touching the silk fabric gingerly, he recalled how stunningly beautiful she had appeared that evening. Amazement washed over him once more at the realization that she had accepted him. He had not thought such a lady of refinement could ever be his.

It remained a wonder to him that he had somehow won her regard. Of old, she had always spoken to him with harsh disdain, never more so than when he had first told her of his love.

Crouched there, in the middle of her room, he become aware of the faint fragrance of jasmine. He closed his eyes to better concentrate on the scent, which instantly brought to mind the tremulous moment when he had nearly brushed against her as he had secured the door behind her on that fateful morning. She had seemed so fragile and beautiful. He had yearned to feel the smooth skin of her face; to draw her to him and claim her as his own in some presumptuous way.

He brushed his fingers reverently along the folded silk for a lingering moment before slowly straightening himself to stand.”


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27 thoughts on “‘A Heart for Milton: A Tale from North and South’ by Trudy Brasure

  1. Can you believe that I have never seen this North and South? I desperately want to. The excerpt snagged me so I have to read A Heart For Milton.

    “I should go,” she breathed, weakly attempting to recover her sensibility; however, she lifted her eyes to his and was drawn to him like a moth to the flame.

    “Yes…you should,” he whispered, bringing his face closer to hers, unable to resist the beguiling sight of her parted lips.”

    I just love when they try to fight the attraction. We all know it’s going to happen but for whatever reason, they want to fight it. Makes it sweeter when they do let go.

    • Leah! You must see it! Promise me! I cried!!!!
      I now have this on my Kindle and am in the middle of my Christmas reads for my December posts, but It is on the top of my TBR and I promised myself that I would re-watch N&S first!

  2. Wow! I loved North and South, and it’s a pure delight to be able to enjoy more of the sweet, passionate love beween John and Margaret.

    • Wasn’t it amazing? That’s the first time I saw Richard Armitage, and then he appeared in BBC’s ROBIN HOOD, and stole the show as Sir Guy!

  3. Hi Melanie!

    I can’t believe the wonderful authors that you have featured since starting your celebration including Trudy! Fortunately we have finally had our power restored in time for me to comment!

    Since I live in Rhode Island (also refered to as “Rogue’s Island” I am familar with textile mills since Slaters Mill is in northern Rhode Island. Mr. Slater actually stole the plans to build not only the mill but the machines necessary to produce textiles when he left England for a “new life” in his “new country” and built the first textile mill and helped start the Industrial Revolution in the US.

    It is stll standing today and a great place to find out more about not only our past but how our ancestors produced textiles in England. It’s a wonderful resource not only for school children but for anyone who wants to study the roots and be able to realize the hardships their ancestors from England endured when working in factories during the time period of Trudy’s book.

    A Tale for Milton: A Tale of North and South sounds like a book not only to be able to immerse ourselves in a wonderful story about the English Regency period but also to learn more about England Industrial Revolution but also to understand the development of our own past as well.

    • OMG! That’s an amazing story you just told! Glad your power’s back! This really is a must. Just from that excerpt I fell in love with her prose…so itching to read it!

  4. Thanks for your comment! I love history, too. If you haven’t read ‘North and South’ by Elizabeth Gaskell, you might like to try it. Gaskell weaves in the economic and social upheaval of the Industrial Revolution into her story of unlikely love between two people from different spheres. It’s beautiful. The BBC film of the same title is an incredible masterpiece which should not be missed by any living and breathing female!

    • Trudy,

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your work with us! I am looking forward to reading the book. Never read Gaskell. I think I’ll watch the series again before I take up your book…need RA fix ;D

      • The book (North and South by E. Gaskell) is great for getting in Thornton’s head. You really experience his angst in Gaskell’s beautiful writing. There are some fabulous swoon-worthy quotes of his longing and struggle in her story. I did my best to emulate her prose.

  5. Hi Trudy!

    I had’t realized that BC had made a film of North and South and hopefully will be able to get a copy from Neflix! I had read it but I’d love for my husband to see it as well since I can’t get him to read the regency romance books that I love reading!

    • Yes, Netflix has it!! And yes, some husbands have been known to enjoy it as well. Mine, however, has never made it all the way through… there’s not enough explosions and shooting for him.
      (If you do happen to fall in love with the BBC adaptation, you’ll want to buy the DVD. For whatever reason, Netflix edited out a few small scenes.)

      • Thanks for the information on the Netflix version! Believe me I’ll make my husband watch the entire story – I deserve it after him making me watch every episode of Wings of War ever produced!

      • I didn’t know Netflix had it…I will have to look it up. I enjoyed the book North and South and this series sure looks like it does the story justice.

    • Jeanne,
      I know what you mean about husbands and reading! This year BBCA had THE COPPER on and I was SHOCKED when he got hooked on it! He complemented THE WRITERS!!!!

      When I mentioned that Delilah Marvelle books are very similar to the show and asked him to read it, he was like, no…that’s okay..you’re the reader in the family!

      He did love Delilah when he met her, though ;D

  6. NORTH AND SOUTH is a favorite.

    I’m reading the series A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE by George RR Martin. I highly recommend. George has created a world of wonder. Memorable characters & civilizations.

    FB: Mary Preston

    Email Subscriber: marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    • Mary!

      OMG! That’s a long book! The longest I’m willing to go is Diana Gabaldon’s series OUTLANDER! Read them all. Looking forward to Game of Thrones season 3 and Downton Abbey season 3. I just noticed that the only series I’ve been watching are either on HBO or PBS Masterpiece Theater…

  7. I’ve been wanting to read North and South for a while now and seeing the video trailer makes me want to even more. It sounds like a beautiful love story. Little Women is one of my favorite books.
    FB: Fiery Na
    Email blog subscriber: simplyreadingAThotmailDOTcom

  8. I want watch North & South newer version. I have read the book and watched the mini-series when I was younger, but it has been years. Is the guy in the picture Richard Armitage. I looks like him, no I want to see it even more.
    My recommeded book is going to be Mansfield Park. I love Jane Austen & everyone always says Pride & Prejudiced or Sense & Sensibility, so I am recommending a different book. I loved this book, I love all her books. A very good read, check it out.

    • Wait, wait WAIT! There’s a new version?! Where?! Who’s in it?

      YES! That’s RA. You can find it on you tube and don’t need to buy it!

      • There was a 1975 version of N&S by the BBC, but it is not available anywhere. It starred Patrick Stewart (as in the ‘make it so’ Captain in Star Trek) as John Thornton. And our Mr. Hale (Tim Piggot-Smith) was Frederick!

  9. After watching North and South on Netflix, I immediately picked up Gaskell’s book — and I “push” it most easily! It is a wonderful book, and my opinion is that Richard Armitage was cast perfectly.

  10. I’ve heard mention of the ‘North and South’ film but haven’t seen it yet – i’ve made a note to do so. It would be interesting to read a story about a non-aristocratic industrialist in the Victorian age.

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