CHAPTER 1:

PREFACE/PROLOGUE

Hello! This is my first fanfiction, (ever), but I will endeavour to do my best and hope you like it. There are so many fantastic stories on this site and others and I just felt inspired to join you all. It is the first of a series of N&S fanfic tales I am considering, so if you enjoy this, then there may be more.

My story has the synopsis that Mrs Hale has cottoned on to the fact that there is something going on between Margaret and Thornton and decides to investigate. Why have I gone in this direction, you ask? Well, for two reasons. One, I love a lot of the N&S fanfic about, but I feel like much of it tends to go down very similar themes and paths, (not that there is anything wrong with that), so I decided I would try something new. Also, Mrs Hale is a bit of a bland character, who rarely gets much chance to have any fun or influence in the novel, the various TV adaptations, or in fanfiction, so I thought I'd play about with her a bit. Anyway, I hope you will find the hypothetical Mrs Hale interesting and worthwhile to read about. So, to set the scene, this is set roughly a couple of weeks after The Great Exhibition trip and so far, none of the events or characters have deviated from the original story. However, in order to make this work, Mrs Hale is still very unwell and rapidly declining, but still has the energy and focus to converse with people to some extent.

I would also like to state that the themes of illness, death, mental health, social deprivation, social inequality and sexual exploitation are constant underlying threads throughout this story, with some references that may upset some viewers. Please be assured that John and Margaret do not have a relationship that involves these themes, but the subjects surround them. I have felt these issues are important to explore, in order to give more substance to Gaskell's original characters, her text, and, of course, the author's own deep-seated concerns surrounding these problems that were so prevalent in Victorian society. I still believe that the story is positive with a happy ending, but this is to just make readers aware that negative themes are threaded throughout.

Of course, I must say, that I naturally do not own the novel North and South, published by Elizabeth Gaskell in 1854, nor do I have any connection to any of the television adaptations from 1966, 1975 and 2004. Likewise, I do not own the characters in this fanfiction, including Margaret Hale, John Thornton, Richard Hale, Maria Hale, or Dixon. In connection, the fanfiction that I am writing will naturally be taking the liberty of expanding on the novel, its themes, its characters, and its events, for the purpose of fan related story telling.

I also want to make it clear, that I am not an expert in 19th century etiquette, (eek, despite having a history degree, double eek!), and some of the content in relation to what people say or do, may not have been entirely spot on for the Victorian period. However, I have done my best to write all actions, behaviour and dialogue to be suitable in relating to how I feel the characters would have behaved – although I have made the dialogue a little easier for a modern audience to relate to, than the original text from the novel.

Anyway, enough chit chat from me, on with the story!