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The Little Women Letters Hardcover – June 7, 2011
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"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
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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The mother, Fee, was a Bostonian who lived in a collective; when she met and fell in love with David, a Brit, she had some adjustments to make in creating a new life in England.
Soon we learn that Jo, from Little Women, was the great-great grandmother to the Atwater girls. Lulu, the middle sister, is the one who goes up to the attic one day to search for old recipes and discovers a cache of Great-Great-Grandmother Jo's letters. Letters she wrote to Meg, to Amy, and even to Beth.
This discovery comes at an especially pivotal time in Lulu's life, as she searches for what to do about her future. As she struggles to find something she is passionate enough about to make into a career, she also questions whether or not someone like her will ever find love.
Themes of identity, belonging, and family connections fill the pages of The Little Women Letters, and I was hooked from the beginning. We see a sampling of the letters interspersed with the daily lives of the sisters. I had trouble liking Sophie, the youngest sister, with her sarcastic tongue and her dramatic flair. Emma was easy to like, with her level head and sensible approach. But it was Lulu who captivated me, with her flaws and insecurities. Who wouldn't love such a person?
Just as the characters in Little Women found a place in my heart, so did this new generation of sisters. This was a lovely book that is just calling out for a sequel, since I'm not feeling satiated by these characters. Five stars.
I wanted to like it, but I just didn't. I love Little Women so much I tried to convince myself I liked it much more than I did. I ended up returning it the same day I bought it.