This was a lovely example of how good writing can cast a new light on a beloved classic! I grew up adoring Little Women, and while I've come to appreciate the original story, I admit I was always a little saddened by the fact that Jo and Laurie did not end up together. As soon as I saw this pop up on my new book radar, I knew it was something I had to read!
While many of the characters and situations in this novel are familiar, what I love is that this story takes you out of the original book. Our Jo is still a writer, but as presented here, she is the author of the phenomenon Little Women, and is struggling to write the sequel (known as Good Wives in both this fictional story and in real life circa 1867). The authors are careful to include both elements of the Jo we love from Little Women and of Louisa May Alcott, imagining the struggles of following up on such a well regarded novel. The structure is very meta, but it works, especially as the second half of Little Women has not taken place, giving some leeway on how the "real life" story plays out.
I was dazzled by the chemistry between Jo and Laurie, which borrows heavily from Little Women but is set in new and interesting circumstances. It is an excellent piece of historical fiction, and I was swept up in the descriptions of balls and train rides through the countryside. I felt this honored both Little Women as a story and Louisa May Alcott as an author, carefully weaving a new tale in between that more than satisfied my curiosity of an alternate ending I've always imagined!