SO MANY BEGINNINGS: A LITTLE WOMEN REMIX , Book 2 of 4: Reclaimed Classics, by Bethany C. Morrow, Feiwel & Friends, Sept. 7, 2021, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult)
Four black sisters come to realize their place in a brand-new world in Bethany C. Morrow’s So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix.
North Carolina, 1863. As the American Civil War rages on, the Freedpeople’s Colony of Roanoke Island is blossoming, a haven for the recently emancipated. Black people have begun building a community of their own, a refuge from the shadow of the “old life.” It is where the March family has finally been able to safely put down roots with four young daughters:
Meg, a teacher who longs to find love and start a family of her own.
Jo, a writer whose words are too powerful to be contained.
Beth, a talented seamstress searching for a higher purpose.
Amy, a dancer eager to explore life outside her family’s home.
As the four March sisters come into their own as independent young women, they will face first love, health struggles, heartbreak, and new horizons. But they will face it all together. —Synopsis provided by Feiwel & Friends
As a white woman who holds the source material dear — I’ve read the book a few times and I’ve seen no less than five film adaptations — I entered So Many Beginnings with trepidation. Would Bethany C. Morrow mangle Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women?
There was no need to worry.
So Many Beginnings is probably the most thought-provoking reimagining I’ve ever read.
The book stands as almost a direct comparison between two worlds — black and white. Instead of writing fiction, Jo writes about freed people. Rather than tutor snobby children, Meg teaches former slaves to read. Beth is a talented seamstress, not as a pianist. And Amy gets the chance at a childhood none of the other sisters had.
Morrow’s writing is thoughtful and heartfelt. Her pacing is smooth and her scene setting perfection. Still, it’s not a fast read, especially if you’ve read Little Women. Moments of contemplation are common while reading, and I found myself taking little breaks here and there to help things settle.
When my daughter is old enough to read both Little Women and So Many Beginnings I plan to suggest reading them in succession. They truly feel like companion novels. So Many Beginnings publishes on Sept. 7.
So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix is the second of four Reclaimed Classics books in the works from Feiwel & Friends. The other books include A Clash Of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix (Sept. 2021), Travelers Along the Way: A Robin Hood Remix (March 2022), and What Souls Are Made Of: A Wuthering Heights Remix (July 2022).
*Read Cracking the Cover’s review of Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix.
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