North Carolina, 1863. As the American Civil War rages on, the Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island is blossoming, a haven for the recently emancipated. Black people have begun building a community of their own, a refuge from the shadow of the old life. It is where the March family has finally been able to safely put down roots with four young daughters:
Meg, a teacher who longs to find love and start a family of her own.
Jo, a writer whose words are too powerful to be contained.
Beth, a talented seamstress searching for a higher purpose.
Amy, a dancer eager to explore life outside her family’s home.
As the four March sisters come into their own as independent young women, they will face first love, health struggles, heartbreak, and new horizons. But they will face it all together.
This is my second of the remixed classics and it’s really been such a nice experience reading classics retold through the perspectives of people whose stories have never been considered classics. I have to say I don’t remember much about Little Women because I was too young when I read it and have never watched any adaptations either.
The author does a wonderful job with the setting of this story during and after the civil war, describing in perfect detail how the daily lives of Black people were in the Roanoke Freedmen’s Colony, their struggle to keep their colony running while also living fulfilling lives after having achieved freedom. It was interesting to see all the women of the March family work hard at their chosen professions, being independent thinkers and never letting go of their dreams despite the circumstances. The writing is simple and straightforward, with so much raw power and emotion that made this an impactful read. The pacing could be a bit on the slower side but that could be expected in a slice of life kinda story.
Mammy is the rock who supports them all while their father is away on war related work. Meg is the silent strength who loves teaching the newly freed people and wants a stable home life for herself. Jo is the intellectual whose words and thoughts flow and her convictions might get her in trouble a bit but she is always true to herself. Beth is an excellent seamstress who finds her purpose far away from home. And Amy is the baby whose dreams are more high profile and her exuberant nature is perfect for her profession as a dancer and private tutor. Other than the sisters, it was Lorie who left a deep impression on me. He and Jo are an amazing pair, an unbreakable deep friendship and more which can’t be defined but is as beautiful as any which is societally recognized. Their unwavering support for each other was a particular highlight of this book.
To conclude, I think anyone who loves Little Women and like it to be retold would enjoy this story. And I would definitely recommend it to anyone who would love to see more historical fiction novels featuring characters whose stories were never told, especially set in times of American history when they were never regarded as important enough to be able to deserve their stories to be told.
PS: Thank you to Feiwel Friends and Netgalley for providing me with the advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.