Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Little Women Letters, Gabrielle Donnelly

Plumfield, October 1888: Dearest Amy, My daughter has arrived in this world, and bless the infant, she is the reddest and the squallingest baby you ever did see!

Lulu is the middle sister of the Atwater family. Her older sister Emma is planning for her wedding, and her younger sister Sophie is pursuing an acting career on the stage, so she can't help that she is the failure of the family, not sure what to do with herself. She's working dead-end jobs and has no romantic prospects. But then, as she is looking through the attic for some old family recipes, she finds a collection of letters written by her great-great-grandmother Josephine March. "In her letters, Jo writes in detail about every aspect of her life: her older sister, Meg's new home and family; her younger sister Amy's many admirers; Beth's illness and the family's shared grief over losing her too soon; and the butterflies she feels when she meets a handsome young German. As Lulu delves deeper into the lives and secrets of the March sisters, she finds solace and guidance, but can the words of her great-great-grandmother help Lulu find a place for herself in a world so different from the one Jo knew?"

The tie-in to Little Women was good in this one, but it also stands well alone as its own story about a young woman trying to find herself. I like Little Women a lot, though I haven't reread it recently, so I got most of the references. Sometimes, however, Lulu could be a bit too nasty to her sisters, borderline taunting rather than teasing. However, The Little Women Letters is an amusing read, I would almost say a beach read, even though I read it in the fall. But it's the kind of book best for a sunny afternoon or two.

The book doesn't just focus on Lulu though; it also focuses on Emma and Sophie's lives and complications, as well as their parents and Charlie, Lulu's friend. This one kind of reminded me of The Weird Sisters, but I think it was much better. At least, the subject was more interesting to me.

Read The Little Women Letters:
  • if you like Little Women
  • if you like books set in England
  • if you like fiction about family relationships and finding yourself
355 pages.
Very Good! I would recommend this book!

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