From Louisa May Alcotts beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has taken the character of the absent father, March, who has gone off to war, leaving his wife and daughters to make do in mean times. To evoke him, Brooks turned to the journals and letters of Bronson Alcott, Louisa Mays fathera friend and confidant of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. In her telling, March emerges as an idealistic chaplain in the little known backwaters of a war that will test his faith in himself and in the Union cause as he learns that his side, too, is capable of acts of barbarism and racism. As he recovers from a near mortal illness, he must reassemble his shattered mind and body and find a way to reconnect with a wife and daughters who have no idea of the ordeals he has been through.
Spanning the vibrant intellectual world of Concord and the sensuous antebellum South, March adds adult resonance to Alcotts optimistic childrens tale to portray the moral complexity of war, and a marriage tested by the demands of extreme idealismand by a dangerous and illicit attraction. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brookss place as an internationally renowned author of historical fiction....Continua
I did note this, and set it down as yet one more of life’s injustices: that the man who has been wealthy is dunned more civilly than the fellow who has ever been poor. My creditors would come to me most graciously, diffident, if not downright apologetic, for asking what was theirs....Continua
This book starts out from the view-point of Mr. March (father from Little Women). It is set during the time he was away from the March family home, serving down south in the civil war. Brooks handles both the battle scenes and post battle scenes convincingly but the book bogs down severely in the middle as Brooks fills us in on the history of the abolitionist movement and on March's own personal history. However, the story soon returns to the current Civil War storyline which thankfully allows the pace of the book to pick back up again. Most of the second part of the book is told from the viewpoint of Marmee (mother from Little Women)....Continua
I enjoyed this historical fiction set in the early 19th century and in the early years of the U.S. Civil War. I liked reading about the Underground Railroad, John Brown, and the transcendentalist movement (Thoreau, Emerson). I think it helps to have read Little Women first so March's descriptions of his wife and daughters become more familiar....Continua