Me? Writing another post about Little Women? Surpris! Beth and Amy by Virginia Kantra is the sequel to Meg and Jo, and follows, you guessed it, the other two March sisters. Both books are contemporary retellings of Little Women, set in North Carolina farm country, and aged up a bit. They’re in their 20s, and Beth & Amy picks up about 3 years from where Meg and Jo left off.
Some spoilers for the first book, but I mean, it’s Little Women…so you know how it goes.
Anyway, at the end of Meg & Jo, Jo and Eric are together, with a new baby, and Meg and John are happy, etc.Beth is on the road with her shitty country music star bf who loves her only for her songs, and Amy is in NYC running her handbag company. but the family all comes back to North Carolina for Jo and Eric’s wedding, and Beth ends up leaving the tour, and Amy ends up finding the joys of family and home all over again. Of course, this is Little Women, wo we’ve got Trey–the Laurie character–and Amy’s feelings for him, along with Beth battling illness.
There’s weddings and hospital visits and discussions of career and family aspiration, etc etc etc. A proposal or two..
I’m not one of those people that’s opposed to contemporary retellings of classics, even if they aren’t always perfect. Because the point is that these books–especially Little Women–have had a huge impact on modern writers, and seeing that on the page–what they decide to keep, what they decide to change–is fascinating. I think telling this as a duology was a really interesting way to stage it–grouping older vs younger, and “settled” vs “growth,” for example.
I found this book to be fine–an interesting retelling. Nothing special in the writing or narrative structure, very “women’s fiction-y.” Amy and Trey go back and forth, she has regrets, etc. Beth struggles with an eating disorder and finds solace in the farmhand, etc.
I gave this book 3.7 stars overall–I’ll definitely add it to my growing Louisa May Alcott collection, but I’m not going to talk about it all the time.
Beth & Amy by Virginia Kantra is on sale wherever books are sold on May 25, 2021.