A Novel

Brooks, Geraldine

Book - 2006
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
An extraordinary novel woven out of the lore of American history by the author of the international bestseller Year of Wonders From Louisa May Alcott s beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has animated the character of the absent father, March, and crafted a story "filled with the ache of love and marriage and with the power of war upon the mind and heart of one unforgettable man" (Sue Monk Kidd). With"pitch-perfect writing" (USA Today), Brooks follows March as he leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks s place as a renowned author of historical fiction.

Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2006
ISBN: 0143036661
Branch Call Number: FICTION BROOKS 2006
Characteristics: 280, 9 p. ;,20 cm


From Library Staff

Join us for the discussion on March 11, 2015. Brooks tells the story of the absent father, March, in Louisa May Alcott's classic, "Little Women." When March goes off to join the Union cause during the Civil War, his experiences change his marriage and his beliefs.

I always thought it was pretty weird that Mr. March would abandon his "Little Women" for a war, but this story from his perspective gives great insight into the man and his ideals.

From the critics

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Oct 31, 2012

I completely enjoyed "March" as a beautifully read audiobook, (a format I highly recommend for this book), and Geraldine Brooks' "Caleb's Crossing". I went on listening, and chose " the Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott", an excellent story of the well-loved American author, which also illuminates the character of her father, Bronson Alcott. All in all, it was a fascinating three weeks immersed in American historical fiction, and all three books books highly recommended.

Sep 07, 2012
  • lisahiggs rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I’ve had this book in my to-be-read pile for years now, always picked over because I wanted to get around to re-reading Little Women first. This books gets immediate props for someone finally thinking to tell Mr. March’s side of the story.

The perfect father in absentia in Little Women, who barely exists in the narrative even when he returns home, March is given a much bigger character in this book, and Marmee is too. Neither is the saint their children think them to be … and they are much less likeable once we get to know them better. Despite Marmee’s independence and intelligence, and March’s modern opinions, Marmee no longer seems the equal of her husband, and her husband makes enormous family decisions without her input.

There is no domestic bliss in March, only deliberate lies, a husband and wife who have no idea what the other is thinking, and such extreme war experiences that it seems quite strange that March returns serene and usual to his little women. Brooks has finally told March’s story, but perhaps it was better left unknown.

Mar 03, 2012
  • DeltaQueen50 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I have been nervous about reading March by Geraldine Brooks, even though I have enjoyed her previous novels, as I have such a strong attachment to Little Women and I feared Brooks’ vision wouldn’t agree with mine. I am happy to report that other than minor differences, Geraldine Brooks has delivered an excellent, moving story of how a man of conscience experienced the Civil War over the course of one year.

The author draws on her own experience as a war correspondent to vividly describe both battle scenes and conditions in a realistic way. Through the eyes of Peter March, we are able to picture the small events and narrow views of one man’s war experiences. As a chaplain he is mostly dealing with the wounded , the sick and the dead. Being a man of such strong anti-slavery convictions and being totally against violence, he spends a lot of his time wrestling with the morality of war and his own guilt. Not be able to accept even the most casual racism that was prevalent even on the Yankee side, he soon found himself transferred from the regular army to a captured Plantation to deal with the education of ex-slaves.

I was a little taken aback with Brooks view of Marmee, but as I read deeper into the book, her interpretation grew on me and seemed right. I haven’t read Little Women in years, but I now realize, that the Marmee depicted in that book is too good, too saintly to be real. This author saw beneath the veneer and gave the women flesh and blood.

In the end I loved this story of a naïve dreamer going to war and having to face his own shortcomings, and learning the lesson of what is important in life. March by Geraldine Brooks deserves it’s Pulitzer Prize, and is a book I am proud to have share the shelf with the original Louisa May Alcott novels about this family.

Jan 13, 2012

Interesting. Wish I had re-read Little Women before reading this book.

Nov 08, 2011
  • BethHMW rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Brooks' novel is an intriguing exploration of the inner turmoil that occurs within the idealistic and pacifistic March when faced with the realities of a war in which he believes to be for the larger good. A substantial fleshing out of the character who has a very small role in Little Women, Brooks based the character largely on Louisa May Alcott's own father, Bronson Alcott. an intriguing character study that recognizes the harshness of war regardless of its lofty goals. The novel also explores how difficult it is to truly understand any other individual, as is brought to light in the few chapters from Marmee's perspective. A beautifully detailed historical novel with luxuriously rich prose but also a novel of interest to anyone interested in exploring the beloved characters from Little Women from an alternate perspective.

Oct 23, 2011
  • fictionrules rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

What happened during the Civil War to the father of the Little Women. Historical Fiction at it's best.

Apr 18, 2011
  • lwarman rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Interesting melding of the fictional Mr. March and the historical Bronson Alcott. Marmee doesn't fare so well -- she comes off as a bit of a termagant, which is a change from her portrayal in "Little Women" but still somewhat one-sided. The action is lurid but plausible, given the realities of the American Civil War.

Apr 15, 2011
  • jadavies rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of my absolutely favourite novels of all time. Mesmerizing, and beautifully written.

Mar 24, 2011
  • laurieec rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Point of view is that of the missing father from Alcott's "Little Women", although the character is framed more like the biological father of Louisa May Alcott. Main character makes his fortune then in mid life, in 1862, joins the Union Army where both his faith and world collapse. I love the way Geraldine Brooks does historical fiction, taking factual historical happenings plus great liberty of fiction. She is a wonderful writer.

Mar 02, 2011
  • tessyjay rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Geraldine Brooks is one of my favorite authors. Read one of her books and you'll be hooked!

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Mar 02, 2011
  • tessyjay rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

tessyjay thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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