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The Little Women Letters Hardcover – June 7, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"Marvelously entertaining, Gabrielle Donnelly's THE LITTLE WOMEN LETTERS evokes the spirit of Louisa May Alcott's LITTLE WOMEN with warmth and affection. I thoroughly enjoyed every word of this wonderful book." —Jennifer Chiaverini, author of the New York Times bestselling Elm Creek Quilts novels

“Gabrielle Donnelly's THE LITTLE WOMEN LETTERS radiates a rare warmth and charm that had me smiling from beginning to end. The characters absolutely live, and the story is utterly compelling. I quite simply love Donnelly's voice!” ---Santa Montefiore, author of The French Gardener and The Mermaid Garden

“Witty, warm, and bubbling over with voice, The Little Women Letters is a love letter to and from a set of unforgettable heroines. Gabrielle Donnelly's homage is just what a literary tribute should be: full of compassion, heart, and fun.” - - Erin Blakemore, author of The Heroine's Bookshelf: Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder

"A sheer delight, full of gentle humor and homespun wisdom." --Katie Fforde, author of Love Letters

"Gabrielle Donnelly's absorbing novel sweeps you across time and generations of family, bound together through love and the strife and joys of daily life. A refreshingly hopeful story that grips you so thoroughly you'll want to lock your door and read, read, read!" --Carol Cassella, author of Healer and Oxygen

"I LOVED this book - it was like a personal treasure trove. The letters sound just exactly as if Jo had written them, and isn't it what we'd always wanted and thought we could never have - more of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy?" --Penny Vincenzi, author of The Best of Times

“[A] light, spirited tale about modern women with old-fashioned values.” --Publishers Weekly

“Donnelly’s The Little Women Letters imagines how modern versions of the March sisters might have lived. . . . Donnelly writes with obvious passion for the classic take and successfully applies a fresh sensibility to the three modern sisters. Nostalgic without being deferential, jocular without being flippant…Beautifully crafted.” --Booklist

“Could be just the perfect pool-side read.” --The Washington Post

“For those who yearn for the verve and wit and chagrin of Alcott, ‘The Little Women Letters’ offers a thoroughly modern . . . twist.” --Seattle Times

“An absolute joy to read. . . charming . . . decidedly modern. . . . Alcott's fans will be pleased with the faithfulness Donnelly affords to the March family story, and fans of good fiction will rejoice in this delightful story.” --Ventura County Star

"If you enjoyed Little Women and like fun chick lit, this is your perfect beach read—light, fluffy and a guaranteed happy ending!" --Capital Region Living magazine

"Fans of Louisa May Alcott can rejoice."

About the Author

Gabrielle Donnelly was born and raised in London, where she worked as a journalist on women's magazines before moving to Los Angeles to specialize in show business journalism. She lives near Venice Beach with her husband, Owen Bjørnstad.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 1st Printing edition (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451617186
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451617184
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #575,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Candace M. Lira on June 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I was never a Little Women fan but I love this book. I found the characters to be fun, loving and people I would like to know. The story is interesting and engaging, Ms. Donnelly has a real feel for family and how women relate to one another. I loved the way she used the letters to interweave the story line between modern day and the late 1800s. I highly recommend this book and don't think that you will be disappointed.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lavish Bookshelf on June 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
To be honest, my opinion about this book is split. The Little Women angle is wonderful. Modern day Lulu finds a cache of letters in her mother's attic that are correspondences between the original March sisters, much as they would have been as they grew older through the years. The letters were so well-written and true to Alcott's characters that at times I forgot that they were written by Donnelly. I really enjoyed imagining what sort of lives the March sisters would have lived and how gracefully they would have aged and enjoyed their various offsprings.

While I enjoyed the March sisters' letters and the stroll down Little Women memory lane, the modern day family was not as entertaining to me as a reader. It is clear that the modern day sisters were written to resemble their March sister relatives. Lulu acts like Jo would have and of course Amy is represented by the theatrical sister Sophie. It's just that the modern family was never as engaging as the original sisters. Sisters fight, sisters sarcastically put each other down, sisters rally to the aid of each other...

Overall this book is a very fun read, but I found myself reading the letters between the March sisters with much more interest than I read the story of the modern sisters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ODell @ Book Twirps on June 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Compared to her other sisters, Lulu Atwater feels like a failure. Her older sister Emma is successful in her career and is engaged to be married, while younger sister Sophie is about to launch her career on the London stage. Lulu, though well-educated, works in an antique shop to pass the time until she can figure out what she wants to do with her life. One day, Lulu is asked by her mother to go to the attic and look for some old family recipes. While digging around she comes across a set of old letters written by her great-great-grandmother, Jo March.

Lulu keeps the letters a secret, and finds herself hiding away in the attic to read her grandmothers personal letters about she and her sisters: Meg, the oldest and most romantic, Selfless Beth who passed away too young and Amy, the youngest and most spoiled. Through these letters Lulu finds guidance to find her place in the world.

Gabrielle Donnelly does a wonderful job of tying a modern-day story of sisters, to an American classic. Each of the Atwater sisters reminded me of one of the March sisters: Emma is much like Meg, Sophie like Amy and Lulu is very similar to Jo. I read Little Women as a child and again in college, and am very familiar with that story, and I think that is why this book appealed to me. I doubt anyone who's never read the classic would get much from this story. It really helps to know the March sisters before diving in to this one. I did feel the book moved a bit slow, but it kept me engaged. I would recommend this book to any fan of Louisa May Alcott's classic. It would also be a great pick for a book club.

(ARC courtesy of Simon & Schuster)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sandra S. Skiles on August 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"Fee shook her head, leaned forward across the table, and laid a hand on her daughter's. 'Treats,' she said firmly."
This quote from the book has the mom telling one of her daughters that every woman needs a treat in their life to make a happy marriage. This book is a treat! I reread Little Women before I read this book to get the characters fresh in my mind, but you really don't need to in order to enjoy the book. The author's voice is current, descriptive, and full of a wicked sense of humor!The characters are believable and interesting. The way she described current London made me feel as if I have been there.This a book I highly recommend for any female from 15 years up. Give us more, Gabrielle!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Book Sake VINE VOICE on June 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I wasn't sure how the characters from Little Women were going to play into this book, but I have to say that Ms. Donnelly did a great job integrating the March women as relatives of the current day Atwater family. These three sisters, as well as Charlie, who is a close friend and gets somewhat adopted into the family, all face some serious life decisions, similar to those in the original Little Women. The story focuses on Lulu, the middle sister, who is going through a "what do I do with my life" crisis, and while all her family and friends are supportive and encourage her to go back to school, Lulu knows that isn't what will make her happy. We really get to see her going through all those steps of working crappy jobs, and thinking about what to do with herself and then one day it all comes together. The other sisters have their fair share as well and even without the link to Little Women I would have liked the story and the characters. I am not sure if there are plans to make this a series but I would love to continue reading about this fun family, and wherever life takes them next.

Reviewed by Gabi for Book Sake.
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