Hi Heather! I'm really enjoying this book and will be sorry when it ends. I'm a long time listener and get very excited when a new book gets introduced.
I'm writing in to talk a bit about Mrs. Thornton. Mrs. Thornton is jealous of Margaret and that is why she behaves that way towards her. Mrs. Thornton has said before that she was once in a riot and she went to the roof to throw down the stones and she would have done it too if she hadn't fainted - blaming that on the heat! The only time we've seen Margaret faint was when the policeman came to the house and that was after he left. Mrs. Thornton talks a good game but now she's met her match in the younger stronger Margaret and is threatened. While Mrs. Thornton was in the room "caring for Fanny" (something she could have left the many servants to do) Margaret was actually out there, shielding John from the angry mob. That must have stuck in Mrs. Thornton's craw and so when she had the opportunity to put Margaret in her place based on half information, she wasted no time. Mrs. Thornton is strong, yes, she keeps things together but it seems it was John who went about setting things right with the debtors and it was he work was responsible for a great deal of his success. Mrs. Thornton sees Margaret and doing things she's only said she herself could do - she sees her as someone John could really rely on and be distracted with and replace her in his life as numero uno. That's why she's so happy to reproach her when the opportunity arose and she is so pleased to hear that Margaret was leaving Milton. It's like cliche mother-in-law who puts herself as a better cook, housekeeper than her new daughter-in-law. It is interesting that she would accommodate Fanny and her silliness and understand that it is her character, but so far has refused to give Margaret and inch. It all boils down to simple jealousy! What do you think?