Good Wives

Overview

The sequel to Little Women sees the March sisters grow up and experience great love and tragedy in their lives

It is three years since we last met the inimitable March sisters and much has changed since we left them as little women. Meg, the eldest and most sensible of the sisters, is preparing to marry Mr. Brooke. She no longer works as a governess, instead happily looking after her young twins, Demi and Daisy. Jo, as ever the life of any gathering, goes to live in New York as ...

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Good Wives

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Overview

The sequel to Little Women sees the March sisters grow up and experience great love and tragedy in their lives

It is three years since we last met the inimitable March sisters and much has changed since we left them as little women. Meg, the eldest and most sensible of the sisters, is preparing to marry Mr. Brooke. She no longer works as a governess, instead happily looking after her young twins, Demi and Daisy. Jo, as ever the life of any gathering, goes to live in New York as a governess. She is concerned that Laurie, the March girls' friend, may be planning to propose to her and she will have to refuse him because she doesn't love him. Beth, the sweet and kind third daughter, has never recovered from the scarlet fever and is becoming more ill by the day. And Amy, the darling baby, seems finally to be catching up with her sisters. She goes on a tour to Europe, developing her considerable artistic skills and will end up surprising them all by marrying someone the family knows very well indeed. This intriguing sequel is a more mature book that is ultimately just as uplifting as its better known prequel with a strikingly modern message of female empowerment. Includes an extended character profile of Beth.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
 • "Six generations of readers have found in the story of the March family universal truths about girls, families and growing up." --Guardian
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781843915119
  • Publisher: Hesperus Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2014
  • Series: Little Women Series
  • Pages: 320

Meet the Author

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) was born in Pennsylvania, the second of four daughters. Little Women, loosely based on her own experiences, was published in 1868 and was an immediate success. In her later years Alcott became involved with the women's suffrage movement. She published her last novel, Jo's Boys, in 1886.

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Read an Excerpt

Good Wives


By Louisa May Alcott

Kessinger Publishing

Copyright © 2004 Louisa May Alcott
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1419122126

Excerpt

Chapter One

Playing Pilgrims

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

"It's so dreadful to be poor!" sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.

"I don't think it's fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all," added little Amy, with an injured sniff.

"We've got Father and Mother and each other," said Beth contentedly from her corner.

The four young faces on which the firelight shone brightened at the cheerful words, but darkened again as Jo said sadly, "We haven't got Father, and shall not have him for a long time." She didn't say "perhaps never," but each silently added it, thinking of Father far away, where the fighting was.

Nobody spoke for a minute. Then Meg said in an altered tone, "You know the reason Mother proposed not having any presents this Christmas was because it is going to be a hard winter for everyone, and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure when our men are suffering so in the army. We can't do much, but we can make our little sacrifices, and ought to do it gladly. But I am afraid I don't." And Meg shook her head, as she thought regretfully of all the pretty things she wanted.

"But I don't think the little weshould spend would do any good. We've each got a dollar, and the army wouldn't be much helped by our giving that. I agree not to expect anything from Mother or you, but I do want to buy Undine and Sintram for myself. I've wanted it so long," said Jo, who was a bookworm.

"I planned to spend mine in new music," said Beth, with a little sigh, which no one heard but the hearth brush and kettle holder.

"I shall get a nice box of Faber's drawing pencils. I really need them," said Amy decidedly.

"Mother didn't say anything about our money, and she won't wish us to give up everything. Let's each buy what we want, and have a little fun. I'm sure we work hard enough to earn it," cried Jo, examining the heels of her shoes in a gentlemanly manner.

"I know I do - teaching those tiresome children nearly all day, when I'm longing to enjoy myself at home," began Meg, in the complaining tone again.

"You don't have half such a hard time as I do," said Jo. "How would you like to be shut up for hours with a nervous, fussy old lady, who keeps you trotting, is never satisfied, and worries you till you're ready to fly out of the window or cry?"

"It's naughty to fret, but I do think washing dishes and keeping things tidy is the worst work in the world. It makes me cross, and my hands get so stiff, I can't practice well at all." And Beth looked at her rough hands with a sigh that anyone could hear that time.

"I don't believe any of you suffer as I do," cried Amy, "for you don't have to go to school with impertinent girls, who plague you if you don't know your lessons, and laugh at your dresses, and label your father if he isn't rich, and insult you when your nose isn't nice."

"If you mean libel, I'd say so, and not talk about labels, as if Papa was a pickle bottle," advised Jo, laughing.

"I know what I mean, and you needn't be statirical about it. It's proper to use good words, and improve your vocabilary," returned Amy, with dignity.

"Don't peck at one another, children. Do you wish we had the money Papa lost when we were little, Jo? Dear me! How happy and good we'd be, if we had no worries!" said Meg, who could remember better times.

"You said, the other day, you thought we were a deal happier than the King children, for they were fighting and fretting all the time, in spite of their money."

"So I did, Beth. Well, I think we are. For though we do have to work, we make fun of ourselves, and are a pretty jolly set, as Jo would say."

"Jo does use such slang words!" observed Amy, with a reproving look at the long figure stretched on the rug.

Jo immediately sat up, put her hands in her pockets, and began to whistle.

"Don't, Jo. It's so boyish!"

"That's why I do it."

"I detest rude, unladylike girls!"

"I hate affected, niminy-piminy chits!"

"Birds in their little nests agree," sang Beth, the peacemaker, with such a funny face that both sharp voices softened to a laugh, and the "pecking" ended for that time.

"Really, girls, you are both to be blamed," said Meg, beginning to lecture in her elder-sisterly fashion. "You are old enough to leave off boyish tricks, and to behave better, Josephine. It didn't matter so much when you were a little girl, but now you are so tall, and turn up your hair, you should remember that you are a young lady."

"I'm not! And if turning up my hair makes me one, I'll wear it in two tails till I'm twenty," cried Jo, pulling off her net, and shaking down a chestnut mane. "I hate to think I've got to grow up, and be Miss March, and wear long gowns, and look as prim as a China aster! It's bad enough to be a girl, anyway, when I like boys' games and work and manners! I can't get over my disappointment in not being a boy. And it's worse than ever now, for I'm dying to go and fight with Papa. And I can only stay home and knit, like a poky old woman!" And Jo shook the blue army sock till the needles rattled like castanets, and her ball bounded across the room.



Continues...


Excerpted from Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott Copyright © 2004 by Louisa May Alcott. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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