The Little Women Letters

One of the most beloved literary classics of all time, Little Women, explores the life of four sisters: Josephine, Amy, Meg, and Beth March. Set during the Civil War, the book focuses mainly on the wild and rebellious Jo March, who always feels out of place and seems to always do the exact wrong thing. Generations of girls have fallen in love with the March family, and have shared in the sisters’ loves and heartbreaks. But what happens after Little Women (and after its sequels, Little Men and Jo’s Boys)? The Little Women Letters, by Gabrielle Donnelly explores one possible answer to this question.

What if the March sisters became nothing more than a family myth, with Grandma Jo as an eccentric, somewhat embarrassing ancestor? For Lulu, Emma, and Sophie Atwater, that is exactly the case. They don’t know much about Grandma Jo and her sisters, but when their mother asks Lulu to find a collection of old family recipes in the attic, Lulu ends up finding a treasure trove of letters written between the March sisters in the 1800s.

Steady Emma, who is about to be married, is the stable, levelheaded sister, and Sophie, an actor, is colorful and glamorous. But Lulu, with a college degree and no idea what she wants to do in life, moves from dead-end job to dead-end job and hasn’t had a boyfriend in forever. She feels like a failure, until she starts reading Grandma Jo’s letters and realizes she shares more than genetics with her ancestor; they also share a rebellious spirit and a need for more out of life.

Keeping the homey feel of Little Women, The Little Women Letters is told from the Atwater sisters’ viewpoint, as well as through letters between the March sisters. Events from the original book come to life again through the letters, and the adventures of the Atwater sisters mirror that of their ancestors as the girls struggle to find happiness and fulfillment, as well as staying true to themselves and their family.

(Galley provided by Touchstone)

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