Historical Fiction

Books like March


2006, Geraldine Brooks


March (2005) is a novel by Geraldine Brooks. It is a novel that retells Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women from the point of view of Alcott's protagonists' absent father. Brooks has inserted the novel into the classic tale, revealing the events surrounding March's absence during the American Civil War in 1862. The novel won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

In 1862, Mr. March, an abolitionist and chaplain in the Union Army, is driven by his conscience to leave his home and family in Concord, Massachusetts, to participate in the war. During this time, March writes letters to his family, but he withholds the true extent of the brutality and injustices he witnesses on and off the battlefields. He suffers from a prolonged illness stemming from poor conditions on a cotton farm in Virginia. While in hospital, he has an unexpected meeting with Grace, an intelligent and literate black nurse whom he first met as a young woman staying in a large house where she was enslaved. The recovering March, despite his guilt and grief over his survival when others have perished, returns home to his wife and Little Women, but he has been scarred by the events he has gone through. The novel accurately reflects Bronson Alcott's principles, notably his belief that boys and girls of all races had a right to education and his wish to follow a vegetarian diet. It presents the young Mrs March as a fiery character with strong verbal and physical expressions of anger.

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