I've read very few Victorian novels, the only one I can recall immediately that I've read is Dracula. I didn't know what to expect with these books but I've been pleasantly surprised so far.
Elizabeth Gaskell had always been a name I recognised for North and South, so when I saw Mary Barton on my reading list I had no expectations for the book. It follows a young girl named Mary Barton, what a shock, who has become the woman of the house after her mothers passing. Her father tends to leave her to her own devices which is how she ended up in a rather interesting courtship... The book takes off from there, hijinks and chaos ensue as you'd expect from this type of book.
I really enjoyed Mary's character. She had few airs and graces but always presented herself as best as she could. For a woman in that time, she had an awful lot of courage too, the boat scene really got me. Her interactions with the different characters were always fun to read. Especially when she wasn't overly fond of a person.
The plot is what you'd expect from a Victorian novel, especially a social problem novel. It doesn't offer a great deal of resolution for the main problem but the characters appear happy with the partial solution anyway. I wish there had been more plot threads finished off but again, it wasn't of the time to do that.
I was surprised by how easy this was to read. Having just exited the Romantic period in University the Victorian's are like a picnic.