But it's not Pride and Prejudice. It's something much more nuanced. The woman, Margaret Hale, is someone from a culture where class and distinction are based on birth and education. It doesn't matter that she is poor and her father a clergyman; she is a gentleman's daughter by right. However, when her father has religious doubts that lead to a conscientious decision to leave his position in the Church, they move to northern Milton. There, she meets a man, Mr. Thornton, who is self-made, working his way up from shopboy to mill owner. His place in society was not determined by his birth but by his own hard-won efforts. Margaret doesn't fit into the mill owner/mill worker class distinctions in Milton and Mr. Thornton's lack of knowledge of Greek literature and tradesman skills render him unworthy of the title 'gentleman'. When they meet, it's a clash of cultures.
Learning to respect/like each other, then, is not simply a situation where one person learns to get over hastily formed opinions; it's a paradigm shift. Each person learns to see outside of their own deep-rooted upbringing and background to find common ground. It's a fascinating social commentary on industry, social class, progress and gender roles. But it's also a great observation about relationships and people.
Definitely a good read. Good job, Elizabeth Gaskell. Good job.