cover image So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix

So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix

Bethany C. Morrow. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-76121-7

In this reinvention of Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 classic, Morrow highlights with impressive acuity the four March sisters, Black young women who come of age in the shadow of the American Civil War. After being emancipated by President Lincoln’s Proclamation in 1863, the Marches build a home on Roanoke Island, a budding Freedpeople Colony. Irrepressible adoptive daughter Amethyst, 14, longs to be the center of attention; levelheaded seamstress Bethlehem, 16, battles an unknown illness; tempestuous builder Joanna, 17, pursues writing; and Meg the teacher, 19, longs to marry. The family’s passionate contributions to the Union war effort are disrupted by the arrival of Joseph Williams, “a handsome, young Black man... from up north” who was “born free.” Suddenly, all four sisters must confront the challenges of building happy lives amid the ruins of the past. Via delicately written characterizations, each March woman exemplifies the notion that the wounds of bondage don’t disappear simply because freedom is at hand, and the racist catalyst of enslavement doesn’t disappear with the stroke of a pen, as a beloved story gains new meaning through the lens of enduring Black resilience, love, and hope. Back matter includes an author’s note. Ages 13–up. (Sept.)