Louisa May Alcott has been a favourite author of mine since the days of my childhood when I first read her charming Little Women and its sequels. Her writing seems timeless even though it was first published in the late 1800s, and I read and re-read her nearly every few months. The sentiments, thoughts and expressions in her work are always applicable to real life. I find friends in the characters in her book, who are so familiar to me that they seem to be real people rather than fictional characters.
Though Alcott is best known for the stories about Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, my favourite has always been Rose Campbell who makes her appearance in Eight Cousins and who is then further chronicled in Rose in Bloom which turns out to be a very quaint love story with not a hint of sappiness which I abhor.
We are introduced to Rose some time after her father’s death, living with her elderly great aunts, and awaiting her guardian – Uncle Alec – in order to move on with the rest of her life. At thirteen she is not in the best of health, nor has she much to be cheerful about. In short order, though, Alec institutes a regime of healthy living, learning and general happiness, and Rose soon begins to change from an unhappy child into a lovely girl. she makes new friends, learns new things, and above all LIVES. Her many aunts and seven boy-cousins are in and out of the house and much fun and high jinx are had. The book ends one year after we first met Rose, and she must make a choice as to whom she would like to spend her life with – one of the aunts or her beloved Uncle Alec…
The sequel Rose in Bloom picks up the tale four years on. Rose and her faithful friend Phebe return from their travels with Uncle Alec, and the boy cousins she has left behind are nearly all grown to men. She has returned home to find many changes, and choices as to her life as a heiress are sometimes hard to make. This book is definitely a romantic one, and one I often go back to as comfort-reading.
I’d put both books down as essential reading for young children and teens – both boys and girls, and don’t hesitate to pick them up if you’re not in that age group. I still enjoy them as much as I did when I was a child. Sometimes more!
A book designer, Arati has always enjoyed books and the world of imagination that they open up. She is extremely accident-prone, due entirely to absent-mindedness caused by thinking about books and their contents, instead of paying attention to what she's actually supposed to be doing. She reads multiple books simultaneously, and her choices range from cookbooks and design manuals to fantasy, crime and Regency romances.
She lives and works in London, UK and sells her art on paper and textiles at Etsy