Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Good Wives

Louisa May Alcott
Fiction  Series
For ages 14 and up
Aegypan, 2008   ISBN: 978-1606641316

When we last saw the March sisters, Meg was engaged to John Brook, Mr. March was home safe and sound, and all was well in the little house. Three years have gone by since then, and now Meg is going to marry her John. The wedding is everything that Meg had hoped for, and soon she and her good kind husband are settled in their little house which Laurie has christened “The Dove-cote.”

Jo is hopeful that there will be no more weddings for a while, as she finds it very hard to have her family broken up. Unfortunately, Laurie has other ideas, and soon Jo decides that she should leave home for a while. She could do with a change, and she is hopeful that if she puts some distance between herself and Laurie he might forget the “love-lornity” that he seems to feel for her. So Jo goes off to New York to stay with a family friend and to work as a governess for two little girls. At Mrs. Kirk’s boarding house, Jo meets Professor Bhaer, a wise and kindly German gentleman who teaches Jo how to speak German. He soon becomes a very dear friend and counselor to the young woman.

Jo goes back home after a few months to find that Laurie’s feelings have not abated. Instead he presses his suit and she has to turn him down, a painful experience for them both. It cannot be helped though for Jo cannot love Laurie in “that way” and she knows that they would suit each other either.

Not long after this dreadful encounter, Laurie and his grandfather go away to Europe. Amy is already there with her aunt’s family and is delighted when Laurie turns up on her doorstep. At least she is for a while, but soon she finds Laurie’s lazy indolence hard to bear and she feels compelled to tell him so. Poor Laurie cannot seem to please anyone these days.

In this continuation of the “Little Women” story, readers will be able to follow the trials and triumphs of Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth as they continue to grow up. There are moments of laughter and moments of great sadness, and anyone who has struggled with the pangs of first love will recognize the confusion that the young people feel as they try to navigate through these difficult waters. With warmth, tenderness, and an acute sensitivity to the challenges that people face in their daily lives, Louisa M. Alcott has created a story that has, and will continue, to stand the test of time.