Time has brought changes to the March household -- home of the girls Jo, Amy, Beth and Meg, introduced in Louisa May Alcott's classic novel Little Women. Having returned safely from war, Mr. March has become a trusted and beloved minister in the local parish. Home, too, is young John Brooke, whose plans for a shared life with Meg, however modest and poor that life may turn out to be, make the eldest March girl think herself the happiest soul in Christendom. The young lovers will live in a charming little house dubbed "The Dovecote," with its front lawn the size of a handkerchief. Life promises adventures and fulfillment for the other March girls, as well -- for not only are their talents developing, but they are growing older and more accomplished in the complicated matter of living their own lives. Tomboyish Jo's curly crop is lengthening into long coils, and she is learning to carry herself with ease -- if not quite with grace. Beth has grown slender, pale, and more quiet than ever, with beautiful eyes brimming with kindness. And Amy, the flower of the family, at sixteen already has the air and bearing of a full-gown woman, and exerts an indescribable charm -- especially on young men.
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Louisa May Alcott (1832 - 1888) was an American novelist and poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women (1868) and its sequels Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886). Raised by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott in New England, she also grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. Alcott's family suffered financial difficulties, and while she worked to help support the family from an early age, she also sought an outlet in writing. She began to receive critical success for her writing in the 1860s. Early in her career, she sometimes used the pen name A. M. Barnard, under which she wrote novels for young adults. Published in 1868, Little Women is set in the Alcott family home, Hillside, later called the Wayside, in Concord, Massachusetts and is loosely based on Alcott's childhood experiences with her three sisters. The novel was very well received and is still a popular children's novel today, filmed several times. Alcott was an abolitionist and a feminist and remained unmarried throughout her life. She died in Boston on March 6, 1888. --WikipediaFrom AudioFile:
Alcott's "little women" continue their story in Good Wives, a tale that follows them into adulthood. Herbert brings characters as diverse as the guttural Mr. Baer and the Irish Hannah to life but struggles to differentiate the four girls, making Jo take on a rough, mannish tone while Beth is almost otherworldly. In truth, her voice is better suited to the older characters, whose scenes flow seamlessly until another youngster interjects a word. Listeners may find Herbert's deep intonations, while clear and consistent, too heavy for such a gentle tale. She paces the story well, though, and true fans of Alcott will find the interpretation of the work worth their time. K.R. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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