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    March: A Love Story in a Time of War (Harper Perennial) (Paperback) By (author) Geraldine Brooks

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    DescriptionWinner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and Richard and Judy pick. From the author of the acclaimed 'Year of Wonders' and 'People of the Book', a historical novel and love story set during a time of catastrophe on the front lines of the American Civil War. Set during the American Civil War, 'March' tells the story of John March, known to us as the father away from his family of girls in 'Little Women', Louisa May Alcott's classic American novel. In Brooks's telling, March emerges as an abolitionist and idealistic chaplain on the front lines of a war that tests his faith in himself and in the Union cause when he learns that his side, too, is capable of barbarism and racism. As he recovers from a near-fatal illness in a Washington hospital, he must reassemble the shards of his shattered mind and body, and find a way to reconnect with a wife and daughters who have no idea of the ordeals he has been through. As Alcott drew on her real-life sisters in shaping the characters of her little women, so Brooks turned to the journals and letters of Bronson Alcott, Louisa May's father, an idealistic educator, animal rights exponent and abolitionist who was a friend and confidante of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. The story spans the vibrant intellectual world of Concord and the sensuous antebellum South, through to the first year of the Civil War as the North reels under a series of unexpected defeats. Like her bestselling 'Year of Wonders', 'March' follows an unconventional love story. It explores the passions between a man and a woman, the tenderness of parent and child, and the life-changing power of an ardently held belief.


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    an outstanding read5

    Marianne Vincent March is the second novel by Australian author, Geraldine Brooks. It tells the story of Mr March, the absent father in Louisa May Alcott's classic novel, Little Women. But as well as giving the reader an idea of his experience "at the war" (the noise, smell, blood, cold and death are almost palpable), Brooks provides background on the Civil War: attitudes to slavery in the north and south, behaviour of soldiers on both sides of the war, and the experience of the civilian population. She touches on the North's mixed record of high idealism, negligence and outright cruelty regarding the contraband (slaves who came within Union lines) and vividly illustrates the moral dilemma faced in war by pacifists who were also ardent abolitionists. A multitude of facts is incorporated into the story in a way that renders them easily absorbed. By having March narrate the first two thirds of the book, Brooks also gives the reader some of Mr March's history: his youth, his career, meeting Marmee, his involvement in the Abolitionist cause, the reason for his reduced circumstances. Marmee's thoughts and feelings about her husband's actions are detailed when she takes over the narration: this wise, dignified, compliant woman is shown to have unspoken opinions while remaining the strength of the March family. All this Brooks meshes seamlessly with the events in Little Women. While Alcott would have been able to write from personal experience, the vast amount of research that Brooks has had to do is evident on every page. March adds some darker adult resonances to the voids of Alcott's sparkling children's tale. An outstanding read. by Marianne Vincent

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