Review: Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott

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Good Wives is the second story about the March family. Three years on from Little Women, the March girls and their friend Laurie are young adults with their futures ahead of them. Although they all face painful trials along the way – from Meg’s sad lesson in housekeeping to Laurie’s disappointment in love and a tragedy which touches them all – each of the girls finally finds happiness, if not always in the way they expect. The book includes a behind-the-scenes journey, including an author profile, a guide to who’s who, activities and more.. 

This review is for Good Wives, or part 2 of Little Women. My review for the first part can be found here. Most editions of the book will contain both parts and will be commonly called Little Women in it’s entirety, but the Wordsworth children’s collectors edition I read ended at the end of part 1. I then borrowed my boyfriend’s copy of the Penguin Paperback Classic (found here) which contains both parts so I could finish the story properly!

Good Wives is set 3 years after Little Women, when the sisters are presumably in their late teens. Not surprisingly due to the name of the book, this part mainly focuses on the sisters settling down into relationships and moving out of the family home. I enjoyed the way this book uses letters between the girls and Marmee, as well as focusing on where they are throughout the books.

Love is the only thing that we can carry with us when we go,

I really liked the way this book looks at marriage and relationships as the sisters get older, especially having the different opinions from the girls. This whole book is so fascinating in the way it looks at femininity and marriage, and I really love how all of the sisters have different ideas of how they want to fit what is expected of them as women. Meg is the very ‘traditional’ sister, married in the first chapter of Good Wives and satisfied largely by her little family. Jo, however, is the polar opposite, and very forward thinking for her time. Considering the time this book was published, it is a revolutionary piece of writing when it comes to Jo. She is definitely my favourite sister and the one I most admire and relate to.

Although I absolutely adore the sisters and learning about how they grow and develop over the course of Good Wives, this book definitely lost a little of the magic I felt in Little Women. I didn’t quite feel as connected to the sisters as I did during part 1, which I believe may be due to the fact they are not living in the same place and everything can feel a little jarring between sections. Little Women felt like such a comforting book, whereas this one is definitely slightly deeper and darker. I definitely believe this is due to the girls growing up and exploring more about themselves and their relationships. It just lost a little bit of innocence between the parts, which at least for me makes Little Women what it is.

and it makes the end so easy.

I’m so glad I read these parts separately, even if it was a complete accident! I believe that if I had read this as one book, it would have reached 5 stars for me, but I am glad I was able to judge this as a separate text. I still very much enjoyed this part of the story, and I know the story as a whole will be with me forever.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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One thought on “Review: Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott

  1. Pingback: March Wrap Up + April TBR – The Books are Everywhere

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