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The Little Women Letters

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  1,729 Ratings  ·  441 Reviews
Vibrant, fresh, and intelligent, The Little Women Letters explores the imagined lives of Jo March’s descendants—three sisters who are both thoroughly modern and thoroughly March. As uplifting and essential as Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Gabrielle Donnelly’s novel will speak to anyone who’s ever fought with a sister, fallen in love with a fabulous pair of shoes, or wo ...more
Hardcover, 355 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Touchstone (first published 2011)
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Joanne Three contemporary sisters descendents of the original Little Women. One of them finds a trove of letters written by Jo March to her sisters and…moreThree contemporary sisters descendents of the original Little Women. One of them finds a trove of letters written by Jo March to her sisters and spends a year reading them. Author makes a not very successful attempt to wind this into a story, but manages more to provide only choppy vignettes. (less)

Community Reviews

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Jill Furedy
Nov 13, 2011 Jill Furedy rated it liked it
As I read this book, I realized that in my head, I had somehow made Little Women into a history book instead of a novel. I kept thinking things like, 'these letters sound so accurate, I wonder if they were based on actual letters' know, from fictional Jo March to her fictional sisters. Insert head slap here. So I liked those portions of the book, right up until the last letter, which I couldn't make the leap to buy into. There were a lot of things that bothered me about the book though...l ...more
Susan Bailey
Jul 27, 2011 Susan Bailey rated it it was amazing
Sigh. Another good friend to bid adieu to. That’s how I felt when I finished The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly. I became very attached to the London-based Atwater sisters (Emma, Lulu and Sophie) and their family and friends and appreciated the guiding hand of “Grandma Jo,” aka Jo March from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
“New letters” by Jo March

That’s right. In this story, Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy and Marmee are true characters and ancestors of the Atwaters. Lulu accidentally comes upo
Jul 02, 2011 Denise rated it it was amazing
The Little Women Letters begins with one of the descendants of Jo March finding a bunch of Grandma Jo's letters in her mother's attic. Lulu is struggling with some career decisions and its harder that her two sisters seem to have it all figured out. A bit of an odd duck with her bushy hair and prickly personality, Lulu finds exactly the advice and encouragement she needs in the letters. The story centers on Lulu, but also involves a whole host of the women surrounding her including an extravagan ...more
Sarah McC
May 27, 2013 Sarah McC rated it liked it
Do you ever read a book that you can’t decide whether or not you like? Well, this was one of those for me.

Basically, the premise of this book is that if the March sisters, from Little Women, were real, then they would have great-great-great-great grandchildren alive today. And Emma, Lulu, and Sophie are three of those great (etc) granddaughters, living in modern London (their mother is from Boston).

Emma, the oldest sister, is a lot like Meg (I’m going to assume that you are all familiar with Lit
Mar 25, 2016 Gemma rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2016

Thoughts/review on the blog:
Amy Dashwood
Sep 20, 2013 Amy Dashwood rated it liked it
As far as storyline goes, I wanted to give this four stars... but there were some things sprinkled throughout that I wasn't too comfortable with (mild language, non-marital relationships, etc.) that made me hesitant to give it four stars. (If my prudery bothers you, don't read my reviews.) I loved how the March sisters were re-visited in the Atwater sisters-- the modern family is just enough like the 19th-century one to make the similarities plain, but not so alike as to prompt eye-rolling. (Peo ...more
Feb 28, 2012 мεgяεร. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 01, 2011 Betsy rated it really liked it
This book could so easily have been self-conscious or just plain awful, given the author's jumping-off point of one of the most beloved books of all time. But it was really good -- not overly precious, not tortured. The characters are likable and seem like perfectly plausible descendants of Jo March.
Aug 24, 2012 Aubry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is now on my "all time favorite" list. I loved it. It wasn't mind-blowing clever but it gave you plenty to think about. The characters are well defined and the storyline flows very well. Definitely a book to re-read
Maia B.
Aug 16, 2011 Maia B. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Little Women, or anyone wanting a feel-good story
This book and I met in the Strand, where it was on sale half-price, which is pretty much why I bought it. (And it has a connection to Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women." Obviously.) I was doubtful - no one, I thought, could write letters as if they were Jo March's, and no one could invent events as much fun as in the original book. A modern family of sisters to compare with the Marches? I don't think so.

Ha! I was so wrong.

The first two pages convinced me that I had been hideously judgemental, an
Jan 27, 2013 Eliza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook

Davanti alla parola "seguito" storcete il naso, vi girate dall'altra parte e vi date alla fuga? Bhè in questo caso vi direi , invece, di aspettare un attimo e di dare una possibilità a questo libro, che seguito vuole esserlo ma a modo suo.
L'autrice immagina che le sorelle March abbiano avuto una lunga discendenza ancora viva e vegeta nella Londra dei nostri giorni. Qui, infatti, vivono Lulu, Emma e Sophie, tre sorelle molto legate tra loro proprio come le
I grew up with the March sisters, despite having many sisters of my own, (none of whom are particularly close to me in age so in childhood I was more like an only child in that sense- thankfully over the years we have all forged much closer bonds) the March sisters were MY sisters.
I loved each and every one of them, for different reasons and every time I sit down to read Little Women I find something new, even after re-reading it over and over again for the last 30 years.

I approached this book
La mia recensione completa la trovate qua

Lulu, Emma e Sophie sono tre sorelle veramente agli antipodi tra loro. Emma si sta preparando per il matrimonio, atteso da una vita, con il suo eterno fidanzato, e ha la testa immersa in abiti, scarpe, torte e cerimonie; Sophie sogna di diventare una grande attrice di teatro, ed è talmente bella da non passare inosservata tra gli uomini londinesi; Lulu .. è Lulu, distratta, incapace di tenersi un lavoro, anticonform
Sep 02, 2012 Jo rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
As a huge fan of Little Women when I was young, I wasn't sure what to expect of this book. By huge fan, I mean I not only read Little Women; I also read Little Men, and Jo’s Boys, and dreamed about being Jo (for probably obvious reasons). I saw this book on a table in B & N and was intrigued but wary. I didn’t buy it then. I was afraid that it would ruin my memories, since most tribute books are pretty awful. But I looked at it every time I went to the book store. I eventually bought it, but ...more
Aug 01, 2013 QNPoohBear rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I simply adored this book! The characters truly come to life through witty and amusing dialogue and descriptive, distinctive personalities. The dialogue between the characters was so realistic I could easily picture me saying many of the same things to my siblings. All of the main characters are counterparts to characters in Little Women. Like Marmee, Fee dispenses loving advice to her daughters. I identified with Lulu so much more than even my beloved Jo. I can not count the number of times I ...more
May 20, 2011 P rated it really liked it
I love the concept of this novel and am elated that Ms. Donnelly delivered so well on its promise!

Set in contemporary London, it follows three twenty-something sisters, descended from Jo March through their American born mother, Fee. Lulu, the middle sister, is an independent spirit trying to find her niche. Caught between Emma, who is planning her wedding and looking forward to domestic bliss, and Sophie, the youngest, most dramatic of the three, who is beginning to make her name as an actress
Carla Ford
Jun 30, 2011 Carla Ford rated it it was amazing
As a huge fan of LITTLE WOMEN, I wasn't sure what to expect of this book. I could always put LITTLE WOMEN in it's contextual place, women were sweet, knew there place, and always persevered and never felt sorry for themselves, because there was always someone suffering worse. However, it was a little harder to imagine what a modern day Alcott family would be like. Finding out the answer to that question in this delightful novel was a great read! The great great granddaughters of Josephine March, ...more
Mar 14, 2011 Hira rated it it was amazing
This book was absolutely FANTASTIC! There was not a single passage, not a single page that wasn't relevant in building up the characters, or moving the story along. The writing is fluid, beautiful narration, wonderful characterization. The dialect used by the author, the way the dialogues are written, truly makes you feel like you're in North London. I found myself speaking in a British accent (or what I perceived to be a North London accent) for the entirety of my reading the novel. Even when I ...more
Jessica at Book Sake
Jun 16, 2011 Jessica at Book Sake rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure how the characters from Little Women were going to play into this book, but I have to say that Ms. Donnelly did a great job integrating the March women as relatives of the current day Atwater family. These three sisters, as well as Charlie, who is a close friend and gets somewhat adopted into the family, all face some serious life decisions, similar to those in the original Little Women. The story focuses on Lulu, the middle sister, who is going through a "what do I do with my life ...more
Sep 24, 2011 Karen rated it it was amazing
Alcott's "Little Women" was my favorite book as a child, and I've read and re-read it many times over the years. When I spied "The Little Women Letters" in our library, I couldn't wait to read it...and I'm so very glad I have. I suspect it may be a book I'll have to buy and re-read from time to time. The author completely captures the feel of the original book while writing a new story about the March family's descendants, which channels the personalities of forebears Meg, Amy and Jo. "Letters" ...more
Dec 26, 2013 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
I was really wary about the premise of this novel - Jo March's descendants are living in London (three 20-something sisters with their American-immigrant mom and British dad, all trying to work out their lives, professionally and romantically), but oh, did I end up falling for this novel. It was just so much fun. I loved the characters, I loved the pitch-perfect Little Women tone set in the modern day, and the humor was just fabulous - I laughed a lot, particularly near the end of the novel. Als ...more
Full review available at my blog.

Loved, loved, loved it! Likely one of my favorite reads of the year, which is somewhat surprising since I'm not a huge fan of Little Women.

This is a novel of love, sisters, parents and children, marriage and partners, friendship, food and finding your path. I read a chunk of it while weathering Hurricane Irene; it's a perfect rainy afternoon read. Curl up with a cup of tea and the Atwater sisters, Emma, Lulu and Sophie.

I became so immersed in the lives if the At
Aug 09, 2011 Merand rated it really liked it
I had a difficult time getting into this book, mostly due to the constant bickering and teasing of the sisters. I thought, I have two sisters and we don't argue this much and we're not the best of friends either. But perseverance pays off because as the book progresses, so do the characters and your able to deal with any bickering in order to enjoy the rest of the story. And when the big thing you've been waiting for happens (I won't give it away) the pleasure and shock is just so sweet.

The real
Jun 29, 2013 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Anche se sto seguendo un programma di lettura serratissimo (iniziato a marzo, con lo scopo di ridurre il volume dei libri accumulati), casualmente questo mese mi sto ritrovando a leggere libri davvero estivi, in un modo o nell'altro. The Little Women Letters è un romanzo molto, molto piacevole e leggero, a patto che vi dimentichiate del fatto che è ispirato alle piccole donne della Alcott, e ogni volta che c'è una lettera scritta da o a Jo, facciate finta che si tratti di qualcun altro. E a patt ...more
Jan 22, 2012 BJ rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It is the contemporary story of 3 sisters in London. Emma, the eldest is about to get married to the love of her life. Sophie, the youngest, blonde and beautiful, is on her way to being an actress. Lulu, the middle sister, at 25 is single and having a hard time deciding what she wants to be when she grows up. This story is about them, their significant others, friends and family, which I love family dramas and did I mention that they are the 2 x great granddaughters o ...more
Jun 03, 2011 Toni rated it really liked it
I so wanted to like this book. Little Women has remained one of my all-time favorite books - one I go back to occasionally simply to delight in the pure comfort of the fictional March family. With that in mind I was eager to read a modern novel based on letters found that were written by Jo from the original Little Women.

Alas, my first impression was one of frustration - too much cutsey dialogue and a confusion of characters. Before I gave up on it I turned to Goodreads and read several (very fa
Cynthia  Scott
May 27, 2011 Cynthia Scott rated it it was ok
I am sorry to say I was quite disappointed with this book. It is very slow to get going. It is supposed to be about three contemporary sisters who are descended from, and echo the personalities of three of the Alcott sisters memorialized in "Little Women." The idea is good, but the book doesn't live up to the concept.

The contemporary characters are not particularly interesting and many too many words are used trying to define them. The relationships among them are shallowly described - maybe the
May 13, 2011 Moira rated it it was amazing
Jo was always my favorite March sister, and I was always looked at askance when I admitted that even as a young girl I preferred Little Men to Little Women; that is the reason I picked this book up in the first place. Meet the descendants of Jo, my favorite of the Little Women? You bet! Get a chance to read letters Jo wrote, and learn more about her in the process? Sounds like a good time. Like I said, that's why I picked the book up in the first place. The reason I couldn't put it down it becau ...more
Diane Sallans
May 19, 2011 Diane Sallans rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Loved it! I'm not sure I ever read the original Little Women, but I have watched the movie versions. When reading the letters 'by great-great-grandma Jo' I fluctuated between envisioning June Alyson & Katherine Hepburn. There is a distinct difference in style between the letters and the 'book' sent in current day London and they are perfect. This book is about relationships and family. The characters all grow thru the year that passes and I would love a continuation. This would make a really ...more
Teri Shelley
Feb 19, 2016 Teri Shelley rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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