Good Wives

- Louisa May Alcott


With four lively, attractive women in one house and a dashing young bachelor in the neighbouring one, romance can only be a matter of time. As Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy become young women, they take separate paths in life, following their dreams, finding love, becoming wives, and travelling the world. But the tie that binds the sisters brings them together when tragedy strikes, for only with each other can they find the comfort they need.



In order that we may start afresh, and go to Meg’s wedding with free minds, it will be well to begin with a little gossip about the Marches. And here let me premise, that if any of the elders think there is too much “lovering” in the story, as I fear they may (I’m not afraid the young folks will make that objection), I can only say with Mrs. March, “What can you expect when I have four gay girls in the house, and a dashing young neighbor over the way?”


almost perfect:
Apparently, all the magic I was looking for in Little Women was hidden in the second half, otherwise known as Good Wives.

Good Wives is much more mature than its first half – the sisters have grown up (there’s a three year jump in time), and while they’re still very much connected, they’re living much more independent lives. Meg is married and having babies, Jo is in New York working as a governess and making lots of new friends (after turning down an old one), Amy is traipsing through Europe, and Beth is at home, making every day count.

There are fewer moral lessons (but not none), and each chapter feels more like a character painting, focusing on each sister in turn rather than like an after school special teaching you how to be a good Christian. And while everyone is still poor, there seems to be a lot fewer worries about money and working hard.
I will admit the one little bit that bothered me was Jo losing all interest in writing and only telling her stories to her boys. Like all she needed was to be wifed up and become a mother to forget her manly ambition. While I will admit that I never thought I’d like her with anyone other than Teddy, Bhaer was such a perfect partner that I couldn’t be happier with how this turned out. And he supported her writing and pushed her in the right direction. It doesn’t seem right that she would give it all up. I hope this changes, or is corrected, in future instalments.
This classic does not read like one at all. The writing was contemporary and accessible, and I didn’t feel like I was forcing my brain to focus on words that weren’t English, which is usually how I feel when reading classics. Fingers crossed Little Men and Jo’s Boys are similar.



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