For "Jo's Boys", which she intended to be the last in her series about the March family, Louisa May Alcott pulled out all the stops. It is with great fanfare that the beloved characters of former books make their last appearance. All sorts of incredible developments are described in the course of the novel--and some of them fairly stretch the imagination. A favorite is the "emigration" of the whole extended family to Plumfield: Meg has a house close by, Laurie and Amy have a mansion on an adjacent hill, and even Mr. March and Mr. Laurence have become neighbors to the school. The school itself has become a college--a convenient twist that allows the characters from "Little Men" to still be in the same area years after they ought to have moved away. Though not all the Plumfield students make a second appearance, Louisa May Alcott's famous favorites remain. A decade later, Demi is having trouble deciding on a career and declaring himself to a certain young lady. Tommy is in pursuit of his childhood sweetheart, Nan, who has vowed to be a spinster for life. Nat is sent to Germany, far away from his beloved Daisy, for musical training. Emil is shipwrecked, Dan tangles with the law, and young Ted gets into scrapes worthy of his namesake's youth. There is enough "lovering" and "spooning" here to make up for the lack in "Little Men." No one has to forsake his or her castle in the air, this time around. Even though Meg, Jo, Amy and Laurie had to give up their artistic aspirations, being deficient in "genius," the next generation of dreamers does not suffer the same fate. Few of them are made to "grow out of" whatever made them so wonderful during childhood. This almost makes up for the novel's lack of polish. If you are looking for closure in the series about the March family, "Jo's Boys" is the book for you.
Paperback, 432 pages
Published on September 6, 2018 by Virago Press Ltd