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Four sisters face new beginnings in this heartfelt modern take on Little Women by New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra.

Amy March is more like her older sister Jo than she'd like to admit. An up-and-coming designer in New York's competitive fashion industry, ambitious Amy is determined to get out of her sisters' shadow and keep her distance from their North Carolina hometown. But when Jo's wedding forces her home, she must face what she really wants...and confront the One Big Mistake that could upend her life and forever change her relationship with Jo.

Gentle, unassuming Beth grew up as the good girl of the family. A talented singer-songwriter, she's overcome her painful anxiety to tour with country superstar Colt Henderson. But life on the road has taken its toll on her health and their relationship. Maybe a break to attend her sister's wedding will get her out of her funk. But Beth realizes that what she's looking for and what she needs are two very different things....

With the March women reunited, this time with growing careers and families, they must once again learn to lean on one another as they juggle the changes coming their way.

352 pages, Paperback

First published December 16, 2020

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About the author

Virginia Kantra

45 books857 followers
New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra is the author of thirty books of women's fiction, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense.

Meg and Jo , a contemporary novel inspired by the classic story Little Women, received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist and was a People Magazine pick.

Beth and Amy (May 25, 2021) "continues her delightful 21st-century retelling of Little Women...Kantra’s compulsively readable update will attract a whole new group of readers, as well as satisfy Alcott devotees."—Publishers Weekly

Her stories have earned numerous awards including two Romance Writers of America's RITA (R) Awards, ten RITA nominations, and two National Readers' Choice Awards.

Carolina Dreaming, the fifth book in her Dare Island series , won the 2017 RITA (R) Award for Best Contemporary Romance - Midlength and was named one of BookPage's Top Ten Romance Novels of 2016. Her work includes the popular Children of the Sea series and, in e-book format, The MacNeills stories.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 335 reviews
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,155 reviews36.3k followers
March 2, 2021
Review also published to blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend...

Revisiting my favorite characters is like coming home. Reading “Beth & Amy” - the modern take on the story of two of the March Sisters from Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” felt exactly like that.

Last year, I had the pleasure of reading the first book in this series, “Meg & Jo” and it made me feel all warm and gooey inside, just like biting into a brownie, fresh out of the oven. “Beth and Amy” gave me that same feeling.

Admittedly, if I'm being honest, Amy has never been my favorite March sister. If you’ve read “Little Women” - you all know why: mischievous, jealous, and spoiled, making Jo’s life difficult was a favorite past-time (or so it seemed). Beth on the other hand was known for being kind, shy, and gentle. A talented musician, her family has always been extremely important to her.

All grown up in “Beth and Amy”, these two sisters are like night and day, and yet, their love for each other shines through, as does their love for their family. Amy is a successful New York handbag designer who can’t fight her unrequited feelings for Jo’s ex. Beth is a successful singer, songwriter who is battling her own secrets, while desperately longing for home.

Abby March has taken care of her daughters her entire life while putting her own life on hold. Now, however, it’s time to let them spread their wings, give advice only when asked, and finally put herself first.

A wonderfully heartfelt, modern retelling of Little Women and specifically of Beth & Amy’s story, Virginia Kantra’s writing, made me smile, feel cozy and warm, and brought me sheer happiness. If you loved Little Women, I hope you’ll consider reading this series by Virginia Kantra, it stole my heart and I think it will do the same for you.

Big thanks to Elisha at Berkley Publishing Group (and NetGalley) for the arc.

Published on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram on 3.2.21.
Profile Image for ABookwormWithWine.
1,347 reviews484 followers
May 19, 2021
4.5/5

I read Meg and Jo when it first came out and loved it, so I jumped at the chance to read book 2 - Beth and Amy. Of course I was not disappointed, and I loved this book almost as much as I loved the first. I am a huge fan of the way Virginia Kantra writes and it had me gripped from the very first page just like Meg and Jo did. I will admit that Amy was my favorite storyline out of the 2, but I still appreciated Beth's and I really enjoyed the fact that Kantra threw in the girl's mom's point of view this time. It wasn't much, but it was just enough to get a better idea of her character and what she was thinking.

Beth and Amy brought tears to my eyes as well as made me laugh, and I love how conversational Kantra's writing style is. It makes you want to be friends with all of the sisters, and I really felt like I got to know each of the characters. I haven't read Little Women in many many years, so I really don't know much in regard to how this retelling compares, but I loved it as its own novel. I will say that I feel like it gives basically everything that happens in Meg and Jo away, so if you want to know each sister's story individually I would start with that one first. I would love to see these books continued, and I am looking forward to reading more by this author!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for Anna.
1,081 reviews88 followers
September 11, 2021
Amy, the baby of the family has always felt she lives in the shadow of her older sisters. Determined to make a name for herself, she moved to NYC and has built a successful business making custom handbags. She's been avoiding her family due to a mistake she made several years earlier. But now she's back in North Carolina for her sister Jo's wedding and must confront her mistake and the guy she's crushed on since she was a teen.
Beth, a talented singer/songwriter is taking a break from her music tour with her superstar boyfriend. Painfully shy and suffering from anxiety, Beth carries the weight of a destructive secret and feels like a fraud on stage.
As the March sisters reunite, they strengthen the bonds they have always shared, and help one another to become their best selves.
A heartwarming re-telling of "Little Women".
Profile Image for Val (pagespoursandpups).
268 reviews67 followers
May 20, 2021
The difficulty with reading/reviewing a book that is a modern telling of a classic is that it will never be the same as the original. Yet that is exactly what it is designed to be - a different, more modern story with some of the same situations and characters. So instead of comparing, I really like to think of modern retellings as a new book. Just to be enjoyed on its own.

I really enjoyed this story of sisters Beth and Amy. This story is told in alternating voices, which gave great insight into each characters’ motivations, inner-dialog and outlook. The book also includes the older March sisters Meg and Jo, as well as their Mother and Father who have separated. Meg and Jo take a back seat in this book, but are still pivotal in bringing the story to life. The marriage struggles they watched their parents face also plays a big part in the story. Their inability to communicate with one another filtered down into the younger generation.

Amy’s storyline was my favorite of the two. She was a strong female lead who had a dream that she was working hard to achieve. Being the youngest of 4 girls had a lot to do with her drive. She was driven to stand apart as her own person. Being from a large family, I totally identify with striving to find a way to stand out from your sisters. Looking to be noticed for what you have accomplished, not just for being one of the sisters. Amy still saw herself as the tag-along “baby” of the family. She worked hard to forge her own path and along the way found success, but also found that her family was equally as important as her success.

Beth’s storyline was one of unwanted fame and loss of identity. Due to situations discussed in the book, the reader is aware of a major struggle for control in her life. She is mixed up in a life that she doesn’t necessarily want. She loses herself and her dreams along the way. She lets her life and career be controlled by others. Beth’s inner monologue is so vital to her story. The author does a good job of helping the reader understand her lack of confidence and self-love. Her story is important for so many reasons, but most importantly (in my mind) as a way to help girls reading, who may be in a similar situation, to identify with her struggle and see a reason to seek help. It was refreshing to find mental health struggles given the attention they deserve in a book.

The character development in this book is excellent. I knew how the characters would react before the situations even played out. There are also so many great characters who play background roles. There is just the right amount of relationship angst and miscommunication to make the reader totally vested in their outcomes. Beth and Amy both have love interests. One the reader will despise and two the reader will surely root for. Each girl ventures through their respective relationships learning more about herself and her self-worth in the process.

Thank you to Let’s Talk Books Promo and Berkley Publishing for the opportunity to read and review an advance copy of this book. Pub Date: May 25, 2021.
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,012 reviews104 followers
November 16, 2021
I do have to admit after realising that Amy's very first musings in Virginia Kantra's Beth and Amy regarding her life and her relationship with Trey Lawrence (the Laurie character of Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women) are about having sexual intercourse with him (with Trey), I almost decided to stop reading. For yes, that kind of a beginning feels a bit sensationalised and in my opinion rather trivialises sex (and indeed, I actually only decided to continue reading because after quickly checking through Beth and Amy it becomes clear that Virginia Kantra does in fact not constantly dwell on sex, sex and more sex, but yes and certainly, I still do rather think that Amy and Trey having slept together should basically not be located at the beginning of Beth and Amy but appear considerably later in the narrative).

Now Amy March has always been my least favourite of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women characters, or more to the point of the four March sisters. For Amy spends much of Little Women being self-centred and rather arrogant (even though by the end of Little Women she does seem to have considerably matured and it looks like Amy will have a happy marriage with Theodore Lawrence, with Laurie). But of course, with the latter, with my dislike of Amy March's arrogance in Louisa May Alcott's portrayal of her in Little Women in mind, I was most definitely also approaching how Virginia Mantra was in Beth and Amy portraying in particular Amy with quite a bit of reading trepidation (and much more so than with regard to the first book, than with regard to Meg and Jo). And yes, even though what I have enjoyed in Meg and Jo I have also very much appreciated regarding Beth and Amy, namely that Virginia Kantra has updated her Little Women retellings without like so many other modernisations of Louisa May Alcott's classic making the four March sisters behave like brats and mean girls often squabbling and bickering amongst themselves, I do sill find Amy annoying and her constant musings in Beth and Amy about Trey and her relationship with her sisters overly repetitive and irritating (and to the point that I was in fact often skimming over Amy's sections simply because Beth's story and her battle with anorexia were and are much more realistic and readable).

And indeed, the only reason why Beth and Amy is three stars, is the same rating I used for Meg and Jo is that for one, Beth’s battle with her eating disorder and that Virginia Kantra does not have Beth die like she does in Little Women has been both engagingly penned and refreshing and that for two I also appreciate how Ashton March is shown by Virginia Kantra as apologising to his wife (that while in Meg and Jo Father March certainly appears more like Bronson Alcott than like the father how he is shown by Louisa May Alcott in Little Women I do like that in Beth and Amy Virginia Kantra gives the father a chance to redeem himself).
Profile Image for Ms. B.
2,798 reviews35 followers
June 14, 2022
Told from Amy, Beth and Abby's (Marmee) viewpoints, I enjoyed hearing their voices. Amy can be as headstrong as Jo. Beth's story is a sad one and Abby's story about her & Ashton's complicated yet loving relationship is realistic.
This may have earned more than 3⭐s if I had recently read the first book, Meg and Jo. After reading this, I feel the two books are meant to be read together. I also wish there would have been more about Beth and her illness as the majority of the chapters are about Amy.
Even though, I imagine that Virginia Kantra is done with this series. I would love to read more stories about these Little Women from 2000s North Carolina.
Profile Image for Nursebookie.
1,947 reviews300 followers
June 6, 2021
Beth and Amy
Virginia Kantra

Beth and Amy is the follow up book to Meg and Jo, the first book of this series, which is a contemporary retelling of Little Women.

Kantra graced us in this installment, a story that is centered on Beth and Amy. Kantra's take on Beth's devastating illness in the first book, is an eating disorder in this modern twist. Told in Beth and Amy's point of view as well as their mother Abby's, this story was so poignant and heartfelt that I enjoyed so much.

Though many things have changed in this modern retelling, the gist of the story's characters and overall representation remains very nostalgic to me as a reader. I think it's because it covers the overall themes of love, family, and of course the hopefulness that embodies the March family despite all the challenges and difficulties they may be facing.

Highly Recommend!
Profile Image for Pj Ausdenmore.
582 reviews23 followers
May 25, 2021
Virginia Kantra is such a gifted storyteller. Immersing myself into this story and into the lives of the March sisters felt very much like being wrapped in a warm blanket while a beloved grandmother or favorite aunt told me the story of her life. As I followed Beth and Amy from a small farm in North Carolina to Paris, New York City, Nashville, and, finally, back home, these women - their sisters, parents, and the men in their lives - all became more than characters in a book. They became my friends. They earned my affection. I became invested in their lives, their success, their happiness. They became so real to me that I could almost convince myself that they're actually happily living out their lives only a couple hours away.

One of the things that added to the overall richness of this book was how complex and fully formed the characters were, not only the four sisters but the peripheral characters as well. I enjoyed how all four sisters continued to evolve under Kantra's guiding hand, even though the primary focus in this second book is on Beth and Amy. I have to admit that no one was more surprise than I by the fact that Amy, my least favorite character in book one, turned out to be the one whose story arc I most enjoyed in book two and who ended up being my favorite March sister. That's the power of Virginia Kantra's writing.

The chapters that presented the viewpoint of Abby, the girls' mother were a nice bonus. I felt her perspective gave an added depth to the story and I enjoyed her personal journey as well as the evolution of her relationship with her husband. Dan, the veteran who works with the goats on the March farm, was an unexpected surprise with unexpected depths and an unexpected connection with one member of the March family. He ended up being one of my favorite characters. And then there's Trey and his complicated relationship with two of the March sisters. I didn't like him much in Meg & Jo but by the end of Beth & Amy he had become one of my favorites. There was so much more to him than I expected. Kantra did a wonderful job of unraveling the layers that had formed the man he had become. By the end of the book I was fully invested in him, his happiness, and the relationship that was always meant to be.

Fans of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, Kantra's inspiration for her modern-day March sisters, may be wary of this new book, knowing the tragic outcome for Beth in the original story. Fear not, while Kantra's Beth deals with a life-threatening disorder, her emotional story arc leads her to an uplifting, hopeful, and very much alive conclusion. You can move forward and enjoy this new book without that cloud hanging over your head.

*ARC received for fair and unbiased review
Profile Image for Maggie Barronton.
56 reviews2 followers
June 7, 2022
Beth & Amy was sweet and at times heart breaking, just like Meg & Jo. I went back and forth between loving it and hating it at times, however, because I just feel Beth deserved better. To be true to the original, obviously, she had to have a tragedy. But I felt like Virginia Kantra threw Beth’s story in as an afterthought as Abby had almost as many chapters as Beth. Not that I don’t care about the Abby and Ash story line, but I liked how it was explored through Meg & Jo’s POV in the first one, and I wish she kept to that format. Beth was going through so much internally and externally and I think that could have been explored more if we had more Beth chapters. Overall, this was a good story, but it’s not my favorite as far as modern retellings go.

TW: mentions/depictions of eating disorders
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Meagan (Meagansbookclub).
311 reviews1,530 followers
May 17, 2022
A Little Women modern retelling can only go so high in my honest opinion. This one was fine! Touched on some pretty serious mental health/eating disorder issues and I appreciated the transparency about it. This book focused mainly on Beth and Amy (obviously by the title) and explored their own challenges growing up in the shadow of Jo and Meg.
Profile Image for Margo.
1,845 reviews53 followers
May 29, 2021
I enjoyed this even more than the first book because I cared more about these characters. Amy is a great heroine because she is flawed and struggling with self-imposed challenges. Meanwhile, Beth has challenges but has a future she didn't have in the original book. What I really liked, though, was the attention we saw to their mother's marriage, which rang very true. Four stars for this.
Profile Image for Haven.
206 reviews
August 20, 2021
CW: EATING DISORDERS
*************************

What a thrill to suddenly realize that the sequel to “Meg and Jo” had some out! That first book took me completely off guard, in the best way. As a kid (who actually loved many older, classic books INCLUDING LMA’s books “Eight Cousins” and “Rose in Bloom”), I never really got into “Little Women.” Honestly, knowing (somehow) Beth’s fate very likely put me off from ever properly reading it.

Surprisingly (especially because I am a strong advocate for books > movie adaptations), I went to see the 2019 film by Greta Gerwig, and loved it. So, when my mom showed me a copy of “Meg and Jo” the next year, I was intrigued. And loved it.

“Beth and Amy,” like it’s predecessor, is a modern retelling of the original story, from the viewpoints of two of the “lesser known” sisters. Amy, who so often gets the bad rap, and Beth who, traditionally had a smaller part to play. I love how this book has imagined complex, full lives for these two in modern America — one a designer and entrepreneur, the other a singer/songwriter — with complex, emotional lives. This book really helped me fall in love with Amy — to forgive her, sympathize with her, understand her, AND wholeheartedly support her romance with “Trey.” It also added so much depth to Beth, “the sweet one:” Beth is sweet, but also anxious, with painfully poor self-esteem. She gives too much of herself, demands too much of herself, and finds control over her choices/life through the realm of a long-hidden eating disorder. As an eating disorder survivor, finally, finally in a place of healthy recovery, I thought the author portrayed Beth’s illness with amazing and poignant accuracy. I saw so much of myself, and my past selves, in Beth’s struggle (I am
also amazed and thrilled to find myself not even minutely triggered by reading her story). If you feel strong and safe enough to read a story written from the point of a view of a character struggling with, and hiding, a serious eating disorder, then read this book. You’ll fall in love with the March girls all over again.
Profile Image for Jess.
2,792 reviews5 followers
September 24, 2021
I was VERY curious what I was going to think about this, because canonically, I do not like Amy March or Amy and Laurie. (It has been actual years since I read Little Women, though, and I'm curious what my adult POV on it all would be.) But both March sisters really worked for me here, though Amy/Trey was not my favorite aspect of this book at all, and I do blame that on no male POV in the book. You mostly get Amy questioning his feelings the whole time and then suddenly she just believes them? It didn't really work for me as a well as I think it could have under other circumstances. (There's one scene, where Trey picks Amy up from the airport that I swear is an exact rewrite of a scene in Carolina Girl, and that scene was better.) Beth was by far my favorite part of the book, though, and I thought the update was handled very gracefully and it ended in a hopeful place, which I really appreciated.

Very good second installment.
Profile Image for Maureen Gianinio.
104 reviews10 followers
June 15, 2021
Virginia Kantra knows Little Women,  knows Louisa May Alcott.  I love the way she was inspired to bring the March Family into a contemporary retelling. I enjoyed the updated depiction of the older sisters in Meg & Jo, in book one. You recognized them translated from the pages of the original version even as you read a book that is a beautifully written story even without knowing Little Women.

Now Beth & Amy really grabbed me. Virginia Kantra fleshed out the meek sweet too pure for this world, Beth. And the one-dimension attention seeking Amy. Made them into amazing three-dimensional characters that pulled you into their stories. Made you like them, understand them and hope for them. Loved how these Victorian characters are brought to life now, belonging to a contemporary plot and setting...Giving them their very own story.

Amy, the baby, feeling like she’s always in her older sister’s shadow struggles to escape it, find her own individuality. Prove she’s good enough, can be wanted and loved for herself and not second choice by  Trey, the man she loves, who once dated, loved Jo.  Both of them have a hard time proving that to her, its quite the page turning journey that had Amy and Trey winning my heart with their growth to the happily ever after.

Beth, the pleaser, wanting to be what everyone expected, thought she should be, except herself. So much so she’s easily taken advantage of and used. The anxiety and pressure she forced onto herself has led to an eating disorder, tainted her passion. This is so well written, beautifully brings you into the world of someone hiding their illness, struggling to admit and then fight to gain control of it. Find a way to be herself, follow her own heart. Love the use of Dan, how he helps her take the first few steps, but knows she has to make her own choices.

There is a beautiful underlying storyline of their mother, and in turn their father. How they lost themselves in their lives and forgot to how to communicate. Through the growth of their daughters we watch their growth and healing. Of minds and hearts coming to understand each other.

I highly recommend this story of Family, sisterhood.  Journeys in love not always easy but worth working for, and finding your dreams, figuring out what makes you most happy.
Profile Image for Meghan.
313 reviews16 followers
May 26, 2021
Couldn’t even finish. I enjoyed Meg and Jo when it came out. But something about this one was too annoying for me.
Profile Image for Jamie Beck.
Author 24 books2,468 followers
January 12, 2021
Well done! I enjoyed Meg & Jo, so I've been waiting for this book and am grateful to have received an ARC. Anyone who's read Ms. Kantra's work knows to expect a warm and carefully crafted story about people we would all like to befriend. This is no exception. I particularly liked the modern twist on Beth's potentially-fatal illness (an eating disorder), which seemed very organic to her character and situation, and was also handled with compassion and care. Amy is also sympathetic, with her long-standing love for Jo's ex giving her fits. Surprisingly, we also were treated to Abby's point of view, which was really helpful. I loved getting her take on her girls, her life, and her husband. It is a big feat to take on a classic. Ms. Kantra did a superb job with these two books.

During these difficult times, a story like this--one of family and love and hope--is a perfect escape. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Lynn.
332 reviews2 followers
July 18, 2022
Loved this almost as much as the first one!!
Profile Image for Belén Torres.
240 reviews14 followers
June 2, 2021
It was very entertaining, I couldn't put it down. I enjoyed the twist in these modern versions of Beth and Amy, Virgina Kantra made them very relatable.
Profile Image for Brandy Painter.
1,567 reviews215 followers
July 2, 2021
CW: eating disorders

I LOVED this so much more than I thought I would as I was hesitant about how this one was going to turn out in a modern setting. Unexpectedly, Beth was the reason this is now a beloved read for me. I love the way her story is updated. Her overwhelming anxiety for life manifesting itself the way it does in this book is so very real and perfectly portrayed. It is clear Kantra knows what she's talking about when it comes to disordered thoughts on food and the behaviors that go along with it. Watching Beth's struggles with all of this through the entirety of the novel is difficult but so rewarding. She has so much more personality here than the original gave her. Her thoughts about keeping this one thing for herself that belongs to her and not her sisters moves her out of the unrelateable sainthood category and makes her a real woman with real struggles. Her character arc is great, and I love where she is by the end. It's so realistic.

Amy's story is also well-rendered. I've always been an Amy fan. Adult Amy in the original is awesome, and she is awesome here too. How she tries to balance her artistry, her ambitions, and her need for her family is complicated, but she meets the challenges like the boss she is. Her relationship with Trey was mostly developed well, even if Trey himself as a character was not. I don't know if this is due to Kantra writing male characters in the first person rather than the third as she has always done in the past, but Trey just wasn't as fully defined and real as most of her other male characters in books are. Not being able to be in his head made some of his choices seem plot driven rather than character driven. I just felt like I never got a good handle on WHY Amy was so far gone for him because he never fully came alive for me. (Also, I still hate that his name is Trey.) However, I loved loved loved the way Amy handled him and their relationship and the resolution they got.

Finally, Abbie gets a lot more page time in this book, and she is also amazing. I wanted desperately for her to be as happy as her daughters, and I appreciate where Kantra took her story.

This is excellent, and whether or not your a fan of the original, you should read it. (If you're a dyed-in-the-wool Amy hater, this book may not be for you though.)
Profile Image for Katie P (3HeartsAndAWish).
457 reviews144 followers
May 27, 2021
Thank you Berkley for the gifted copy.

Little Women is one of my favorite classics, and taking on a modern retelling is quite a feat. I enjoyed Meg and Jo last year, and similarly enjoyed Beth and Amy. I liked how Amy and Trey's relationship was reimagined, and how it worked out in the end. Beth's side was similar to the original in her health issues, but in this case, she doesn't die and although she is extremely ill, she seems to get through it and have an HEA.

3.5 stars rounded to 4.
Profile Image for Barbara Powell.
671 reviews48 followers
May 21, 2021
If you’re a Little Women fan like me, this is a fun twist- A modern telling of the girl’s story in which they’re older and dealing with current and relatable issues. Beth is working as a recording artist and Amy is running a successful business in New York. Although it is in a more recent setting, there are still elements from the original they come up throughout. I haven’t read the previous book, Meg and Jo, but I think that I will go back and add it to my tbr.
Trigger warning: Eating disorder
Thanks to Berkley Publishers and Netgalley for this eArc in exchange for my review.
Profile Image for Lauren Rochford.
186 reviews3 followers
March 2, 2021
I'm so grateful for these Little Women modernizations, what a treat! Virginia Kantra took the most boring March sister and the most hated March sister and gave them the best stories, all while staying true to the classic characters. I appreciated the Marmee love, too. Looking forward to adding a copy to my home library when this is published.
Profile Image for The Lit Bitch.
1,225 reviews393 followers
June 7, 2021
3.5 stars

Little Women was the first time I saw myself in a book character. Jo March was me idol as a child. I especially loved the Winona Ryder film version of this classic and always felt like Jo March was so me and whenever I envision Jo March, I think of Winona Ryder. Jo March will forever be one of my favorite classic characters and one I strongly identify with where as Amy will forever be the girl who stole Laurie from her! Amy is my least favorite March sister.

I haven’t read Virginia Kantra’s modern reimagined book Meg and Jo yet but it was high up on my TBR list. When this next book on Beth and Amy came up for review, I had to jump at it even if Amy isn’t my favorite. I was eager to see a modern take on such a classic story and see how those timeless characters were portrayed in a modern setting.

For me, books like this can go either way. Classic characters in a modern setting don’t always work for some reason. I think a lot of readers have nostalgia connected to those characters and seeing them in a world that isn’t their norm, makes it hard to connect with them. But I was open to trying this one and seeing where it took me.

The first thing I had to do when I started reading this one, was immediately let go of that fact that this was not going to be anything like the childhood classic. I think if readers can get past the fact that this isn’t a modern Little Women, I think they will be fine. Fans will find traits and similarities in this one but that’s about it. Accept it and move on so you can enjoy your book without those expectations. But sometimes that’s easier said than done, I know. This one was enjoyable and I liked getting the know the March sisters in a new way but having Laurie be called Trey was a little jarring. Maybe if I had read the first book then that wouldn’t have been so jarring but for me it was.

I don’t think that these books need to be read in order, but I think it would have helped prepare me a bit more for some of the connections and new modern storyline. I thought the author did stay true to the general characterization of the March sisters from the classic tale. I enjoyed sweet Beth and I actually found that I liked Amy better in this book than in the classic. I think one of the most exciting things in this book was that Beth felt like a more complete character. In the classic she was the least developed (probably because she dies) but in this one she is a lot more developed and interesting while still maintaining the sweet integrity of the classic.

It’s a quick easy read, some parts were a little slow but overall I felt like it flowed well and I found myself finished before I knew it. This book does have an eating disorder component which I think readers should be aware of though, it is a big part in the story so if that’s not your thing then maybe this might not be the book for you, but I thought it was a delight to read and I am eager to read Meg and Jo now and see what their story was like in this new modern world!

Profile Image for Lizzie Jones.
698 reviews15 followers
June 8, 2022
Note: I decided to rate and review this series as a whole, not as two separate books. So my review below covers both this book and the other one in the series.

I'm really surprised by the review I'm about to write because I didn't think I'd like this series as much as I did by the end. This book is part of a duology but, in my opinion, the books should be read together and back to back. Here is why:

First book, 30% completed- This is silly and dumb and I don't like it.
First book, 60% completed- I guess I like this a little
First book, completed- Underwhelmed. Slightly charmed, but underwhelmed.
Second book, 30% completed- Reading this next book was a mistake.
Second book, 60% completed- It has its redeeming qualities, but the second isn't as good as the first.
Second book, completed- Wow, I actually really liked this series.

I get the criticism of retelling a classic, but I have some defense for the author.

1st- She writes an epilogue that was actually helpful, which almost never happens. I often think epilogues are self-gratifying, but this one really works. She acknowledges the challenges of taking on a retelling of such a favorite, and she accepts the criticism she knows she'll get. She explains why she took this project on, and talks about how each of the five women's stories (including Marmie) have resonated with her in different ways. I appreciated her explanation and it make me like the series more as a whole.

2nd- She delves a little more, going deeper in to the stories that we're all so familiar with. I appreciate some of the details that she includes (Mr. Lawrence giving Beth her guitar, Belle and Sally Gardner making appearances, Amy going to France, Meg making a fool of herself at a party and the Laurie character helping her out of a bind, Amy remaking one of Meg's gowns for prom, Great Aunt March giving Jo her house, Beth getting sick, Jo moving to New York, Amy working for Great Aunt March... the list goes on). She stayed true to the story pretty well while giving it a fresher feel.

3rd- Kantra somehow (somehow!) makes me like the characters that I can't stand in the original. And she takes the characters that I've had up on pedestals and makes them a little more human, and a little less wonderful. I actually appreciate this.

When retelling a classic in a modern age and trying to include the problems and the difficulties of a certain age, you face some risks. But overall, I think she did a good job. Praises and complaints are below. Note that I am reviewing these two books as if they were one big story, so if you haven't read on to book two, wait to read the spoilers, for there are many.

I should say this- the author really tries to bring this series in to the modern age, which means she has some descriptive sex scenes. I wouldn't call it salacious necessarily and the scenes in question are few, but I think it was absolutely unnecessary and only brought down the series.

Profile Image for Liz Talley.
Author 46 books848 followers
June 2, 2021
I'll be honest - I'm a Little Women fan - and I'll be honest again when I say always doubt the ability of authors to modernize well-loved books. Still, I found Kantra's take once again charming and heartfelt. After reading Meg and Jo, I was eager for Beth and Amy's stories. The two oldest always seem to get the fanfare, right? Yes, I do love Jo, but secretly, I've always been fascinated with Amy. She's delightfully flawed, and I love a good flawed character. Kantra's take on both these women was nuanced and authentic. Beth is a songwriter who struggles with self-esteem and Amy is a purse designer who struggles with....well, self-esteem (and unrequited love). The tale is well-written, warm, and just the sort of read that sticks with you. A perfect way to kick off summer!
Profile Image for Brandy.
247 reviews26 followers
June 9, 2021
Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing group for the eARC.

I am a huge fan of Little Women, so of course I was interested in Kantra's modern day retellings of it. Beth and Amy is the sequel to Meg and Jo which I thoroughly enjoyed. Beth and Amy didn't quite live up to Meg and Jo for me, I really liked it, I just didn't love it. This could be also because Amy and Beth were my least favorite characters in Little Women and also in this series. Jo will forever be my favorite.

"It's a wedding... you're not meant to be comfortable. That's why God invented Spanx."
" 'I'm pretty sure that was Satan' Jo said"

In Beth and Amy, I found Amy's inner thoughts, about Trey and her relationship with and comparisons to her sisters to be extremely repetitive, to the point that her character really began to irritate me. I did like the direction that Beth's story line took and how it ended. I found this to be an entertaining and easy read and would recommend this series to fans of Little Women and HEA romances that are light on steam.

TW - eating disorder
Profile Image for Andrea Stoeckel.
2,568 reviews103 followers
July 5, 2021
“Families love each other.”

And, in this, the second of the March Sisters books by Virginia Kantra, it is obvious that this family both blood and extended truly does. Having spent the first book on the two older daughters: Meg and Jo, this book focuses on Beth and Amy, bringing their stories to today and adding more of Aunt Josephine ( Phee) and the senior March's into the mix. And the results are marvelous!

As a child, an "abridged" Little Women was never far away. It had to be a favorite events it's cardboard cover gave out. I have since read, listened and loved Little Women through the past 60 years and am in awe that Virginia Kantra has made these characters sparkle in the 21st century and I highly recommend this book and the first one too. 5/5
Profile Image for Randi (randi_reads).
806 reviews188 followers
June 24, 2021
It had been awhile since I read Meg & Jo so it took me a minute to jump back into the story. But, once I did, it all came together nicely. It was good to be back with the March family.

Amy and Beth return home to Bunyan, North Carolina for Jo's wedding to Eric. Both sisters have secrets (of course). Amy slept with Trey, Jo's ex--the only boy/man that Amy has ever loved. She has some major guilt over it and she will be seeing him back in her hometown. Amy needs some financial help with her business and asks her aunt for help. Her aunt will help if she moves her business and herself back to Bunyan. Can she do that and see Trey?

Beth has been on tour with a country superstar, Colt, who is also her boyfriend. She doesn't like the limelight and her health has been deteriorating. She is living a life that she doesn't enjoy anymore and has been getting some serious pressure from, Colt. She takes a longer break at home to rest and realizes that she needs to change some things.

I enjoyed this story and liked being back with the March family. I loved getting the March matriarch, Abby's chapter's, too, and to see her story resolution.

Thank you to Berkley Publishing and NetGalley for an advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Kim.
77 reviews5 followers
July 15, 2021
As much as I loved the first book, I loved this one even more. As I said in my review of the first one, you could tell that the author truly loved the Little Women series and it's characters. I love people who love Amy and I'm so glad she got to shine. Plus, Laurie/Amy forever (also loved his new modern nickname). But I also love how Beth became so much more in this book (and the subtle nod to Bess and Dan from the third book- more proof this author loves the series). This was so great and I loved it.
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