I am looking forward to sharing a review of Jo & Laurie by Melissa De La Cruz and Margaret Stohl. Note that I haven’t read Little Women, the original book by Louisa May Alcott, so I wouldn’t be able compare the two. Also note that I had received a free advanced reader copy of the eBook in exchange for an honest review.
1869, Concord, Massachusetts: After the publication of her first novel, Jo March is shocked to discover her book of scribbles has become a bestseller, and her publisher and fans demand a sequel. While pressured into coming up with a story, she goes to New York with her dear friend Laurie for a week of inspiration—museums, operas, and even a once-in-a-lifetime reading by Charles Dickens himself!
But Laurie has romance on his mind, and despite her growing feelings, Jo’s desire to remain independent leads her to turn down his heartfelt marriage proposal and sends the poor boy off to college heartbroken. When Laurie returns to Concord with a sophisticated new girlfriend, will Jo finally communicate her true heart’s desire or lose the love of her life forever?
Jo’s voice! It conveyed her strong-willed and independent nature… and in a way that captured the tone of the period too. It made me smile each time she exclaimed “Christopher Columbus!”
The playful banter between Jo and Laurie. I could really feel the romantic tension between them and I wanted them to succeed.
The theme of the book was about the struggle between love, domesticity and independence, and I loved that this book showed that it was possible to be a strong and independent woman and fall in love too. I saw quite a few bad reviews for this book on Goodreads, mostly from those who felt that this betrayed the original intention of the author, but to be frank I didn’t think Jo needed to deny the person she loved to be an independent woman.
Although this book centered on romance, I loved that it didn’t focus 100% on Jo and Laurie. Family was an important component of Jo’s life and it showed through her interactions with her sisters and mother.
Jo’s struggles with writing were relatable for me as an aspiring writer!
Did I mention that classics intimidate me a little bit? This book made me want to read the original Little Women! I think it’s a sign of a good retelling if it can grow the initial audience of the original book!
I thought that the events of the second book leading up to the climax and conclusion were somehow random and not caused by the events later on in the book. It felt like Jo and Laurie were responding to everything that happened around them rather than proactively affecting their future.
I enjoyed this retelling of Little Women. I’m always a bit intimidated by classics but this book made me want to read the original – and this counts as a win in my books!
Did you read Little Women and/or this adaptation? What did you think of the movie? Are you a fan of Jo and Laurie?
Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash