Rose in Bloom
This is the sequel to “Eight Cousins” and further tells the story of Rose and her friends and family. It is a great piece of historical fiction because it tells a lot about how life was like during this era, particularly when it comes to dating and courtship. Again, one of the things I really enjoy about the Rose books is the presence of a really strong father figure in Uncle Alec. He is one of my favorite Alcott characters. The book does get a bit slow at times, but overall it is very worth it. There are beautiful love stories involved and even though one may make you go “Huh?” it again gives us a glimpse of how life was in those days. I loved this book!
Under the Lilacs
This is one of Alcott’s lesser known works. It the story of Ben, a run-away from the circus and his dog Sancho. He finds a surrogate mother/big sister to stay with and begins life as a somewhat normal kid. There are many fun adventures along the way and many sweet moments. It does drag at times but there is one particular scene in the book that is so heart-warming, I will bet that it will make you cry. Of all Alcott’s books, this one is probably the most designed for children and gives the characters a “happily ever after” that is worthy of the fairy-tales.
Jack and Jill
I love this book! Again, it is one of Alcott’s lesser known works. It is the story of two best friends, Jack and Janey. Because they are always together, Janey is nicknamed Jill after Jack and Jill from the nursery rhyme. A tragic sledding accident leaves them bed-ridden for the winter and while Jack gets better quickly, Jill doesn’t fare so well. It is a delightful coming-of –age story about them and their friends and family. I love the two mother characters in the story. Jack’s mother is especially beautifully written. This was my second time reading it and when I came across this line it made me smile just like the first time. In talking about one of the characters, it said she “remained a merry spinster all her days, one of the independent, brave, and busy creatures of whom there is such need in the world to help take care of other peoples' wives and children, and do the many useful jobs that the married folk have no time for.” Of course I want to be married but it that is not to be in this life, I hope that I can be like that.
An Old-Fashioned Girl
Hands down, “An Old Fashioned Girl” is my favorite Alcott book outside the Little Women series. I have read it several times and each time it does me so much good. I wish Louisa had written several Polly books. Polly Milton is a girl from the country who goes to stay with a friend’s family who lives in the city. She is such a beautiful and inspiring character. In each of Alcott’s books there seems to be one character who an angel on earth of sorts. As much as I love Beth from Little Women, Polly is much more of relatable character. She is an inspiration but also loses her temper and has struggles. Her relationship with the Shaw family is wonderful and I particularly love the surrogate father/daughter relationship that develops between her and Mr. Shaw. I love the beautiful love story as well. Each time I close this book at the end I feel a little sad. Each time I start it, it makes me smile. It is a lovely story!