Margaret Hale, a 19-year-old lively young girl, and her parents leave the south, when her father Richard resigns as the clergy in Helstone on a matter of conscience. The family moves to Milton in the north of England where Mr. Hale starts working as a private tutor. Margaret and her mother find it difficult to adapt to the north. While Margaret tries to deal with her new home and thereby befriends Bessy Higgins and her father Nicholas, poor local mill workers, she becomes aware of the social inequalities. On seeing John Thornton, a cotton-mill owner, badly treating one of his workers, Margaret's prejudices are reinforced. Thornton, on the other hand, forms a more positive opinion of Margaret.