If You Loved Little Women, Then Read These

The movie Little Women is taking audiences by storm. Most of them are now discovering (or rediscovering) the real beauty of this great novel. If you love the book as much as I do and you are looking for more like it, here are some great reading selections that will help you get started:

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Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

With two sons of her own, and twelve rescued orphan boys filling the informal school at Plumfield, Jo March — now Jo Bhaer — couldn’t be happier. But despite the warm and affectionate help of the whole March family, boys have a habit of getting into scrapes, and there are plenty of troubles and adventures in store. (Credit: Signet Classics)

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Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott

Beginning ten years after Little Men, Jo’s Boys revisits Plumfield, the New England school still presided over by Jo and her husband, Professor Bhaer. Jo remains at the center of the tale, surrounded by her boys—including rebellious Dan, sailor Emil, and promising musician Nat—as they experience shipwreck and storm, disappointment and even murder. (Credit: Bantam Classics)

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Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott

When Rose Campbell, a shy orphan, arrives at “The Aunt Hill” to live with her six aunts and seven boisterous male cousins, she is quite overwhelmed. How could such a delicate young lady, used to the quiet hallways of a girls’ boarding school, exist in such a spirited home? It is the arrival of Uncle Alec that changes everything. Much to the horror of her aunts, Rose’s forward-thinking uncle insists that the child get out of the parlor and into the sunshine. And with a little courage and lots of adventures with her mischievous but loving cousins, Rose begins to bloom. (Credit: Dover Publications)

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The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott

Her recently discovered first novel, The Inheritance, written when Alcott was just 17, offers readers a fascinating look at the birth of a remarkable career.Influenced by the melodrama of the contemporary theater, the sentimental romances she read as a child, and the popular gothic novels of the time, Alcott weaves a tale far removed from the reality of her everyday life in Boston. The Inheritance, set in an English country manor, is the story of Edith Adelon, an Italian orphan brought to England by Lord Hamilton as a companion for his children. With a charm reminiscent of Jane Austen’s novels, Alcott’s plot sets love and courtesy against depravity and dishonor — and with the help of a secret inheritance, allows virtue to prevail. (Credit: Penguin Classics)

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The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

What secrets lie behind the doors at Misselthwaite Manor? Recently arrived at her uncle’s estate, orphaned Mary Lennox is spoiled, sickly, and certain she won’t enjoy living there. Then she discovers the arched doorway into an overgrown garden, shut up since the death of her aunt ten years earlier. Mary soon begins transforming it into a thing of beauty–unaware that she is changing too.But Misselthwaite hides another secret, as mary discovers one night. High in a dark room, away from the rest of the house, lies her young cousin, Colin, who believes he is an incurable invalid, destined to die young. His tantrums are so frightful, no one can reason with him. If only, Mary hopes, she can get Colin to love the secret garden as much as she does, its magic will work wonders on him. (Credit: Puffin Classics)

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Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Black Beauty spends his youth in a loving home, surrounded by friends and cared for by his owners. But when circumstances change, he learns that not all humans are so kind. Passed from hand to hand, Black Beauty witnesses love and cruelty, wealth and poverty, friendship and hardship . . . Will the handsome horse ever find a happy and lasting home? (Credit: Scholastic)

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The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

Enter the hilarious world of ten-year-old Kenny and his family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. There’s Momma, Dad, little sister Joetta, and brother Byron, who’s thirteen and an “official juvenile delinquent.” When Momma and Dad decide it’s time for a visit to Grandma, Dad comes home with the amazing Ultra-Glide, and the Watsons set out on a trip like no other. They’re heading South to Birmingham, Alabama, toward one of the darkest moments in America’s history. (Credit: Yearling)

The Moorland Cottage and Other Stories by Elizabeth Gaskell

Love is the common thread which runs through the stories collected here. Gaskell recognizes that it can give rise to selfishness as well as self-sacrifice, unhappiness as well as joy. Writing with passion and shrewdness, irony and sympathy, she explores these paradoxes through humour, pathos, tragedy, the extraordinary, and the everyday.

This selection of one short novel and eight stories shows Mrs. Gaskell working in different genres and with a wide range of material. As in her novels she explores different kinds of love, and her observations about human nature are as acute here as in her longer works. (Credit: Oxford Classics)

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