A Fan-Based 10th Anniversary Celebration

Hey everyone, I was just on Facebook and came across this great new group.  The group was created for the sole purpose of celebrating the 10th anniversary of the first première of North & South.  (November 14, 2004)


I am going to share some links to join the various groups now set up to mark this occasion, but before I do, let me share the details regarding this “quest of global celebration”…  what are they asking?

During the weekend of November 14, watch N&S and take a selfie of you watching (Shy people: if you, like me, are shy about taking a selfie that includes your face, don’t be concerned. My selfie is going to be of my TV with my legs stretched out on the coffee table in front of my sofa!).*

Then, post your photo on Twitter, your Facebook page, on the NS10 Facebook site, etc.


On your selfie post include your location to demonstrate the global appeal of North & South. Also, remember to add the ‪#‎NS10‬ (withnospaces) hashtag so we can compile all of these into one place, either on the special N&S page(link below) or on a blog.

“excerpt from blog post on Richard Armitage US “

As I am not a big fan of the results of my “selfies”, I will be doing what the blogger suggests… time to paint those toe nails! lol

The group is also asking for fans of the other actors in the production to join in the celebration.  If you know of how to reach some of the fan groups, please share in the comments area, contact me or go directly to FB, twitter or the blog listed below.

Daniela Denby-Ashe – Margaret Hale
Richard Armitage – John Thornton (think they have this covered ;) )
Tim Pigott-Smith – Richard Hale
Sinéad Cusack- Hannah Thornton
Brendan Coyle – Nicholas Higgins
Anna Maxwell Martin – Bessy Higgins
Lesley Manville – Maria Hale
Jo Joyner – Fanny Thornton
Pauline Quirke – Dixon
Brian Protheroe – Mr. Bell
Rupert Evans – Frederick Hale
John Light – Henry Lennox
William Houston -John Boucher

I’m looking forward to this as it’s been a bit too long since I’ve watched the series all the way through.  I need this treat.. it’s been a long YEAR!

Please Join NS10 – A Fan-Based 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Premiere of North & South

The groups….
the Facebook page
Twitter Account: Twitter: NS10 @NandS10th
Email account: ns10thanniversary at gmail.com
Blog: Richard Armitage US

I will also post any pictures that you all share with me here on WoM.

I was hoping for a 10th anniversary special edition of the DVD, but I don’t think that’s in the cards!  Darn! Come on ladies let’s join in on the fun.  I can’t believe it’s been 10 years already!

**if you know of other celebrations going on, please let me know via the comments or by contact form!

As always.. comments welcome.  Will you join in the celebration.. share that.  Even if you can’t watch it that weekend (Nov14) if you watch it in honor of the celebration… tell us all when you are watching.


A note from WoM member: shanghaiedinla

Hello all,  Shanghaiedinla asked if I would let all of you know of her blog.  Here are the details:

Website: shanghaiedinla.wordpress.com

I’ve relaunched my arts/entertainment blog (formerly at LiveJournal) after a *long hiatus. I review/post primarily about TV and film (and criticism thereof). I take on a mix of what’s in the zeitgeist, what I really love and what I really *don’t love. Industry related news/speculation gleaned from BTS coverage and/or the trades is also fair game. I’ll also occasionally initiate a discussion about social media’s impact on fandom (or fannish) behavior. My goal is to get people talking and thinking, so I try to avoid rehashing perspectives and critiques already out there for public consumption.


If you would be interested in seeing what Shangheiedinla has to say.. check out her blog!

*If you have a website, blog or item that fits within the realm of WoM topics, I will be happy to post your announcement as well,  just contact me via the contact form on this site.  I do ask that if you do make a request that you are a faithful member, either by discussions or follower. If you are a faithful follower of WoM, as stated, I would be happy to consider your announcement.  If the topic of your blog, website or product is outside of WoM realm of topics, I reserve the right to accept or decline, due to that nature of the topic.

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Mrs. John Thornton: Bliss or Bondage?

However much the heroine of a Victorian story displays her independent tendencies, for a traditional happy ending, the tale must end in marriage. North and South is no exception.

After evading Henry Lennox’s vision of domestic contentment and spurning John Thornton for attempting to rescue her reputation, will Margaret Hale find lasting happiness marrying the powerful Milton manufacturer?

I’m ever the romantic, wanting to believe that happily-ever-after’s really do happen for my favorite literary couples. But others have not been as optimistic about Margaret Thornton’s future. Endeavoring to look at the realities of years of married life in that era, it’s reasonable to ask some hard questions: wouldn’t she eventually feel confined in her domestic roles, trapped in an ugly city where she lives next to a noisy mill spewing forth filth into the sky? …. and with Fanny and Hannah for her closest female relatives?

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Who says the path of happiness has to be lined with primroses? Living in Milton was not going to be anything like the comfortable, carefree life that her cousin Edith inhabited. But Margaret didn’t want that life. She turned away from that life twice — first, when she rejected Henry, and again in the end when she refused to waste her life away in London following the patterns of self-satisfied social activity that Edith enjoyed.

Gaskell shows us from the very beginning that Margaret is made from a different mold than those around her. She didn’t seem to aspire to anything beyond enjoying her family and what personal freedom she has. She’s compassionate and kind, always considering the impact of her actions on others. She doesn’t need to be the center of attention to be happy, nor does she need extraneous finery to make her feel satisfied or proud. Margaret Hale has a very strong sense of identity. She’s a self-assured, quiet thinker who feels confident in her own sense of self-worth. She doesn’t need to look to a husband to define her or validate her. In fact, she doesn’t appear to be interested in seeking a husband at all.

So what is Margaret looking for in life? What makes her tick and what drives her? The answers to these questions I think would help spell out what type of marriage would work out best for her. In the end, what makes us happy is not our physical environment, but our mental atmosphere.

I think family is hugely important to Margaret. Most of what she does in the novel and a lot of what she suffers is due to her strong commitment and desire to fulfill a supportive role in her family. She sacrifices self for her family at nearly every turn.

She wants to be a part of making things harmonious. She is impelled to try to do things that make things better. She’s determined and strong-willed when it pertains to someone else’s suffering. She doesn’t seek out power, but she will take the reins if no one else is willing or able to do what needs to be done and withstand the consequences. She is guided by a strong moral sense. In short, she’s a strong thinker, doer, and lover. She’ll think for herself, do what she thinks is right, and love whomever she decides to love, despite social boundaries.

I don’t get any indication that Thornton would be the type of husband who hopes to mold his wife to his will. It’s Margaret’s independent and self-assured spirit that really knocks him speechless at their first meeting. Here’s a man who loves her for who she is – her mind and body and soul. This successful and experienced businessman listens to her – a young chit from the country who has no idea what life in the industrialized world entails. And he wants to hear her speak her mind.

He’s a match for her in all aspects: strength of character, intellect, determination, morality, and passion. I think Gaskell’s vision of this marital union was modeled very much on the Unitarian ideals of marriage she and her husband embodied – that of a more equal partnership than the prevailing model of female subjugation.

John Thornton is a man who has spent years building a home for his mother and sister. He has a strong yearning for a satisfying sense of home, and a heart that beats strong with longing to love and protect those under his domain. His dedication to his work has been formidable, but he’s also spent considerable amount of heartache for two years, longing for the wife he’s chosen. I can’t believe he’d be dunder-headed enough to take that wife for granted once they were married. It’s clear he desperately wants the warmth, comfort, and intimacy that marriage promises. He wants a soft place to land. He will invest time and effort in this relationship, which he long believed was beyond his grasp.

Of course, Margaret would likely be wrapped up in domestic concerns once children came on the scene. But I don’t find any hints from the book to indicate that she wouldn’t relish the role of mother and wife – in trying to bring peace, order, and comfort to all within her sphere. She seems to be a natural nurturer. She wants to help Bessy, her parents, the Bouchers, etc.

But would her influence be confined to her own household? I hardly think so. Margaret has the ear of one of Milton’s most powerful and looked-to men. Her ideas and impulses concerning any range of social or economic issues and dilemmas will be heard. If she has a desire to work in the community or to push forward new agendas, I doubt John would hinder her strong inclinations. She will have a voice.

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She will be free to think and do as she pleases within a normal limit of personal obligations. In Milton, there will be endless opportunities for using her talents for being on the forward edge of social thinking. Her life will be as full of as much useful activity as she chooses to take on. She will have purpose in the realms she tends to.

And I have to believe that she would revel in the role of being her husband’s solace and confidant at the end of every day. Who wouldn’t want that job? And what is there that a happy and contented John Thornton couldn’t accomplish?

Yes, these two make a fabulous team. It’s clear from the anguish expressed in the book, that each would never have been radiantly happy to live a lifetime alone. For both of these unique individuals, no other person would have satisfied as a spouse. There was only one thing missing in their lives….

For better or worse, their match was inevitable. And considering the mental suffering both Margaret and John endured in their belief that the other would never have them, I think this marriage would have turned out to be something pretty special.


A Love Preserved

As you may already know, Lori has asked me to write a piece on what I like about the ending of the book and, by extension, what I don’t like about the ending of the movie.  (By movie, of course, I mean the beloved, albeit controversial, 2004 film adaptation – obviously.)  This is not that post.  Instead, while doing my homework for that post, I ran across some other bits of information that sparked my curiosity but that were too tangentially related to the topic of the ending to be included in that post.  I mean really, if I had put them in there, that would have been an epically long post with epically long footnotes.  So, instead of making you wade through a dissertation, I thought it best to address select side-issues separately.  This piece is one of those curious footnotes.  –Courtney

At the end of the 2004 movie, during the final (hotly debated) train platform scene, John is on his way back to Milton after having been to Helstone where, incidentally, he found and kept a rose from the Hales’ former parsonage.  When he starts talking to Margaret, the first thing he does is present this flower.  Because he was just there earlier that day, the flower is fresh.  Really, really fresh.  He removes it from the breast pocket of his vest and hands it to Margaret to tell her where he’s been.  She is mildly astonished at the sight of it, not because he had been to Helstone, not because he had been to her old house, but because she thought those roses were all gone.  [roll your eyes with me] Then, they quickly move on to the topic of her business proposal.

JT discovers a rose

In the book, however, the flower part of this scene plays out completely differently.  John doesn’t produce the roses until after he and Margaret have (essentially) declared their love for each other, not upon their first entering into conversation.  And the roses he produces are dead.  Dried and preserved, not fresh.  In fact, he had collected them from Helstone over a year prior to this meeting and has kept them ever since.

Which made me wonder, What’s the deal with the roses?  Sure, it’s a cute little exchange, but it hardly seemed significant.  Yes, they indicate that he had gone to Helstone – Margaret’s idolized (idealized) childhood home – and yes, that’s very sweet of him.  But is it weird that he kept them?  Or that Margaret demanded they be given to her?  What’s the deal?

As I looked into the flower issue, I came to appreciate it as an act of devotion and sentimentality that meant a great deal to John and Margaret.  So I’ll take you through it.

Here’s the scene:

“’Do you know these roses?’ he said, drawing out his pocket-book, in which were treasured up some dead flowers.

‘No!’ she replied, with innocent curiosity. ‘Did I give them to you?’

‘No! Vanity; you did no. You may have worn sister roses very probably.’

She looked at them, wondering for a minute, then she smiled a little as she said – 

‘They are from Helstone, are they not? I know the deep indentations round the leaves. Oh! have you been there? When were you there?’

‘I wanted to see the place where Margaret grew to what she is, even at the worst time of all, when I had no hope of ever calling her mine. I went there on my return from Havre.’

‘You must give them to me,’ she said, trying to take them out of his hand with gentle violence.

‘Very well. Only you must pay me for them!’”

(Ch. 52 – Pack Clouds Away)

When I first read about the “dead flowers” I thought John was just being sweet and sentimental and maybe a little sappy, bless his heart.  I had no idea the possible degree to which he had gone to preserve those flowers, nor the cultural meaning of such a gesture.

According to my internet research, the Victorians were REALLY interested in flowers.  They ascribed meaning to them and could send “messages” to people based on which flowers they sent.  Red roses were love, pink roses were purity, yellow roses were friendship, black roses were death…you get the point.  We don’t know what color these roses were.  (We’ll assume they weren’t black.)  But regardless of their color, they clearly meant something to John and to Margaret such that their mere presence was significant.  They were old, well-preserved, and culturally relevant – the perfect Victorian token of love.

If they weren’t fresh, like in the movie, how old were they?  John says that he went to Helstone on his way back from Havre.  If you remember, John was on the train back from Havre when he met up with Mr. Bell and learned of Mr. Hale’s death.  (Ch. 41 – The Journey’s End) Bell was on his way to inform Margaret of her father’s sudden expiration.  So how long before this meeting in the study was that trip, exactly? Well, you’ll remember that after her father’s death and after she cleared up a few local affairs, Margaret was whisked off to London to live with her Aunt Shaw (Ch. 43 – Margaret’s Flittin’) and that she had been gone “considerably more than a year” before John showed up for that fateful dinner party and their encounter in the study (Ch. 51 – Meeting Again).

Here’s the timeline:

Flowers were picked -> They (the flowers, JT, and Bell) travelled to Milton -> Margaret learned of her father’s death -> Margaret waited for Aunt Shaw to arrive -> Margaret cleared up local affairs -> Margaret stayed in London for “considerably more than a year” -> Thornton arrives in the study and shows Margaret the flowers.

Added up it equals really, REALLY old flowers.

They were well over a year old, yet still in great shape!  The fact that these roses were preserved well enough that over a year later they could still be recognized by the indentations on their leaves tells me John did a careful job of preserving the flowers.

Which would make sense.  Apparently, the Victorians were dedicated flower preservationists.  They dried and used flowers in many kinds of art, both decorative and keepsake.  Of course, I’ve never tried to press a flower.  I don’t know that it’s even ever occurred to me to press a flower.  But, our dear, love-sick John Thornton did.


And apparently, flower pressing is quite a process!

Flower pressing is the process by which moisture is removed from the flower while the color and basic shape are preserved.  To effectively remove the moisture from the flower without destroying it or losing it to mold, one must be careful and diligent.  It’s not as simple as slapping it between two pages of a book and forgetting it’s there.  (That’s what I would do.)  Instead, one must use blotting pages to absorb the moisture.  Then, every so often, one must change the blotting pages so that fresh ones can absorb the remaining moisture.  Old pages are moist pages and if the moisture is kept in contact with the flower for too long, mold will develop.  It’s not a do-it-once-and-forget-about-it process.  It’s meticulous and requires maintenance.

But John’s flowers weren’t moldy.  They were nicely preserved.  Old, dry, and recognizable.  He hadn’t just stuffed them in his pocket and forgotten about them.  Of course not!  Our John wasn’t impulsive.  He was meticulous.  And apparently, he did a fine job of preserving those flowers – Margaret recognized them by a tiny detail on the leaf, which would have been lost had someone like me done the preserving.

After he presents the flowers and she guesses where they’re from, Margaret demands John give them to her.  She even tries forcibly to remove them from him!  I always saw this as a strange little exchange – maybe artificially enhanced so that Gaskell could set up the kiss John demands as payment.  But because the Victorians were so sentimental and intentional in their flower rituals, it seems that perhaps Margaret was within the scope of reasonable, culturally acceptable behavior to believe that the roses SHOULD be given to her.  That’s what people did.  They gave each other flowers that meant something – that were sentimental – that were meaningful – and I believe that John intended to give them to her, not just to present them for her inspection.


I wonder if, when he knew he would be travelling to London and might encounter Margaret, he removed the flowers from their normal place and put them in his pocket book in hope of giving them to her.  Or, maybe he just wore them on his person at all times.  Either way, he’s adorable.

I like to think that he wore them in his pocket at all times.  After all, they were all he had to remind him of his beloved Margaret.  And if that’s the case, then think for a minute.  He must have had those roses carefully tucked away in his chest pocket when Margaret came to say goodbye to him before leaving for London.  I can imagine him feeling the weight of them against his chest as she walked out of his life, seemingly forever, and his heart broke.  Those flowers weren’t just an afterthought of a dreamy, love-sick boy, plucked as he strolled a strange garden, then carelessly stuffed into his jacket.  They were cherished.   They meant something to him.  They were Margaret’s and they were HIS – when she was not.

Now, in the study, John, who had held onto those roses for well over a year as a reminder of the woman he loved, was finally holding the woman he loved.  The roses could now safely be given to her.  And I’m sure that our Margaret took those roses and pressed them into a glass frame for display in their house in Milton where she and John – and their children and grandchildren – could see them and remember their time apart and how much they cherished being together.


Thank you Courtney for this lovely post!


Dear sir.. forgive my delay!

Dear Mr. Thornton,

Please forgive me as I know this is heavily belated. I hope that my excuse is one that you will understand and therefore forgive me.  I was working.. all day and into my evening!  You sir understand the devotion of work, as I know sir, you work and have worked tirelessly into the night to keep Marlborough Mills going.

JT sleeping

Please note dear sir, that your devoted admirer did not let your day go by unnoticed! While I worked sir, I did listen to the soundtrack of the movie that first introduced me to you. Daydreaming at times as I listened to those notes fill my office.

It’s been 157 years since our Mrs. Gaskell first introduced you into the world and it’s been a wonderful ride for you and for those of us who are your loyal fans.

On this belated birthday sir, I wanted to dedicate a song to you that struck me as one that your dear Margaret might have sung to you during those lonely days after she came to see  the love that she had carried for you for so long.  Thinking over all those moments in time, when you saw the real person she was.  How she could have made sense to you when she had many times been so critical. The agony that she felt in feeling that she had come to know her own heart too late.  She longed to be there for you.. just wanted to “go with you”  Silently, she had pledged her heart.. and life to you when she had no hope that her future would include you.

Again, this song is for you and your true heart dear Mr. Thornton… Margaret did become yours.. she did “go with you!”

Happy Belated Birthday dear sir,
Love always… LoriBear

Another Country by Tift Merritt

Lost hours and secrets too
No one will find but you
And falling is like brand new rain
Places I have never been

I thought these things would come to me
Love is another country

And I wanna go, I wanna go too
Wanna go with you,
I wanna go too, wanna go with you.
Wanna go with you

But I’m broke down right here
My heart won’t come out clear
I get– lost on the inside too
How could I make sense to you?

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When you walk away from me
You’re further than another country

I wanna go, I wanna go too
Wanna go with you
I wanna go too, wanna go with you
Wanna go with you

If you should lose your place
This world should hide its face
And go where you can’t follow to
I will come and look for you

You can just hold onto me
Strangers in another country

‘Cause I wanna go I wanna go too,
wanna go with you I wanna go too,
wanna go with you I wanna go with you,
I wanna go with you
Wanna go with you, wanna go with you.

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I hope you all enjoy this little post to honor our dear Mr. Thornton.  I mark his “birthday” as September 9.  If you’ve not read the post that explains why.. you are welcome to now.

Comments are welcome.  Did you like the song? (available on iTunes) Did you see the heartbroken Margaret discovering love, only to feel she had lost her chance?  You are welcome to share songs in the comments that remind you of Margaret during this time.. or maybe even Thornton!

*If I had the time.. I would create a fan vid using this song… I envision scene to match each verse! If only…


Walk in Glorious Sunlight…

Hello everyone,  did you think I had gotten lost in Milton world?  Well I wish, but alas, all I can give you as an excuse is an image of me buried under piles of work.  Not very romantic!

One thing that I have done to keep N&S close by is to keep track of a group read that has been under way at Goodreads.  The great thing about this group read is set to let the reader move at their own pace.  A few have already finished the book while many more are not even to the midway point.  So if you would like to pop over and participate, I have no doubt that you would be welcome.

This Goodreads group read has also inspired more than a few posts ideas.  This one being such the case.  While discussing and doing research on another topic, I stumbled across one of my many favorite quotes from the book.  Another goes along with this quote, although, it lives in an entirely different chapter.

What do these quotes have in common, they share a link to the depth of Thornton’s love for Margaret.  Coming up in the next week or so, I will share a post written by our friend Courtney, who will also dip into this particular topic but from an entirely different angle altogether.  So let’s get started.

As I said, while doing a bit of research on another topic, the thought occurred to me, why does Thornton fall in love with Margaret?  Why, does this spirited young lady, who seems to give him endless grief catch hold of his heart in such a manner that it does not let go, even after her cruel rejection.  Explaining how and why a person finds themselves in love with one person and not another, is something that may never be possible.  Yet in Thornton’s case, I think we can see that he was able to see through the outer shell that she displayed to him (early in the book) to the person she was.  He instinctively understood what drove her. This is where one of the quotes comes into play,  found in Chapter 33, ‘Peace’

“Yes! he knew how she would love.  He had not loved her without gaining that instinctive knowledge of what capabilities were in her.  Her soul would walk in glorious sunlight if any man was worthy, by his power of loving, to win back her love.  Even in her mourning she would rest with a peaceful faith upon his sympathy.”

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Even he, himself, understood that instinct was involved.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Thornton knew Margaret better than she knew herself.  He understood her capacity for loving.

Now of course, some of this is gleaned by observing her with her parents.  Though she constantly challenged and criticized him at every turn, her love for her parents was steadfast, patient and kind.  She endured on their behalf.  Endured being swept away from her beloved home, not once, but twice.  In the first instance she was a mere child and unable to fight, yet Gaskell tells us that this change tore at her heart.  The second time takes place right before our eyes.  She bares it up bravely, but if you look closely, you can see how grieved she is and this second removal.


So many, label Margaret as being this willful independent woman.  In reality, this element of her nature was in the minority.  With those that she deeply loved, she was self-sacrificing, supportive with little question, loyal and fiercely devoted.  She endures quietly with amazing strength.  I don’t think I have to go into any description with all of you to note that translating this capacity of love toward a husband would also include a deep physical passion.

Thornton knew this of her.. you see it and feel it in his thoughts above.  But let’s take a look at something else found in this quote.  You can tell by this expression of love for her, that lived in his inner thoughts, that Thornton understood that a heavy responsibility lay with the man seeking her love.  That he must worthy of her love.  Not just before he acquired it, but everyday that followed.  I have goosebumps.. do you?


Let’s go on to look at another quote that displays the depth of his love for Margaret.  Chapter 38 ‘Promises Fulfilled’ opens with Thornton tortured as he tries to cope and process seeing Margaret out at night with a ‘handsome young man’…

“His nobler self had said at first, that all this last might be accidental, innocent, justifiable; but once allow her right to love and be beloved (and had he any reason to deny her right?—had not her words been severely explicit when she cast his love away from her?), she might easily have been beguiled into a longer walk, on to a later hour than she had anticipated. …”

This is but one example of how, even in his pain and agony at her rejection, he puts her first.  That though it pains him, and though he longs to be the man that she loves, he does not wish to deny her love.  This is love.. in its purest form.

…but then the knowledge of her lie…

“… But that falsehood! which showed a fatal consciousness of something wrong, and to be concealed, which was unlike her. He did her justice, though all the time it would have been a relief to believe her utterly unworthy of his esteem. …”

Though it would have been easier on his heart to believe her “unworthy”… again his heart KNEW her and could not resign himself to her being unworthy.  There must be a reason… once again selfless love.

“… It was that misery—that he passionately loved her, and thought her, even with all her faults, more lovely and more excellent than any other woman; …”

This is the beloved quote that I spoke of, (which lives as a protective sticker to protect my iPad.) Isn’t this how we all desire to love and be loved? Thornton saw her clearly.  He had no illusions of perfection.  He thought of her, even WITH all her faults, more lovely and more excellent than any other woman.  [insert long deep sigh here!]

But that’s not the end…

“… yet he deemed her so attached to some other man, so led away by her affection for him as to violate her truthful nature.  The very falsehood that stained her, was a proof how blindly she loved…”

Of course if you read further, you find Thornton thrust in to the depths of jealousy and pain.  He in turn was not perfect and though he loved her selflessly, he did agonize and feel this love as a deep wound.  With that, as he gives credit to Margaret, that her fault was also a credit to her, so this is a credit to Thornton.

I encourage you, to take just a few moments and read through this scene, found at the opening of Chapter 38.  The passion found in here and in the scene that follows is truly breath-taking and displays the kind of man Thornton was.


So what do you think of Thornton’s love for Margaret?  Was it just an obsession? Would Thornton be the type of husband that so many assume he would be?  Passionate and loving at first but a workaholic and neglectful later? How do you see their future relationship?  Are you like Thornton?  Do you see the real Margaret and so many miss?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

*If you do not wish to comment, I would love to know if you enjoyed the post.  You can tell me by clicking on the “like” button below! 

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