Marmee
Grade : B+

Back in 2019, Sarah Miller wrote an excellent novelistic re-telling of Little House on the Prairie as seen through the eyes of Caroline Ingalls. Caroline: Little House Revisited was one of my favorite novels of that year.  Marmee,which retells the events of Little Women through the eyes of sainted mother Margaret – Marmee - March, is also a charming effort, but it’s not quite best-of-the-year levels of perfect.  Still, it’s a good and involving book.

The story, which provides a parallel chronicle of the events of Little Women, follows Marmee on her quest to save the Hummel family from the dire poverty which surrounds them while mothering her children alone.  While the family rarely go without food, the Marches must manage without certain luxuries, at least until the rich Laurences move in next door and provide the girls with close friendship and Marmee with charity of her own.  Her husband, Amos (a departure from Alcott’s text, where the father character is called Robert), is off serving in the Union army as a chaplain, and Marmee is driven nonstop to give every bit of herself in selfless charity.  She comes to realize that she’s yearning for friendship, for a purpose, for a drive that goes beyond bromides.

Everything’s here, from Meg’s entrée into society to Amy’s dunk into the skating pond to Beth’s bout with scarlet fever.  But Marmee goes deeper under the character’s skin, examining her strained relationship with Aunt March, who also receives development through Marmee’s anxiety, anger and pity regarding her.  Her friendship with Hannah, the family maid, also deepens a bit through their interaction.  It also, naturally, shows moments unseen by Little Women’s legion of readers, such as Marmee’s time at her husband’s bedside.  In her journal, Margaret is permitted to be human, rounded, flawed.  And her relationships with her daughters and husband are gently, carefully explored as well.

Miller delves deeply into the details at the heart of what life was like in the 1860s.  Tiny details like bowls of ice cream being stored in the snow outside of a house or folk treatments for diaper rash, pop up and teach the reader so much about the book’s characters.  Bouncing between domestic dramas and larger ones, Marmee finds a rhythm that involves and enchants. It’s a smart book, and an excellent one.

Buy it at: Amazon, Audible or your local independent retailer

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Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes
Grade : B+

Sensuality: Kisses

Review Date : October 25, 2022

Publication Date: 10/2022

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Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier
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