December 3, 2019
Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra
Genre/Categories: Retelling, Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Romance, Family
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
In this retelling of Little Women, the March family home is in North Carolina, U.S.A. The girls are young adults and living on their own. Meg is married to John and they have young twins; Jo is working as a sous chef in New York and writing an anonymous food blog; Beth is taking a break from school and trying out for a musical; and Amy is working in the fashion industry and traveling abroad. Mr. March is an absentee husband and father who cares more about his ministry and charity work than caring for his family. As the holidays approach, Mrs. March is suddenly hospitalized and the sisters rally around to help and support each other, their mom, and her business.
Thanks, #netgalley #berkleypub for the free e ARC of #megandjo in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Do you love the classic, Little Women?
With the movie Little Women coming out on Christmas Day in the U.S., readers might be interested in a contemporary Little Women retelling!
Do you enjoy retellings? I think they’re tricky! Meg & Jo is especially tricky because it’s attempting a retelling based on a dearly loved classic, Little Women. Having a familiarity with Little Women will enhance your reading experience, but it isn’t critical.
The characters in the retelling share definite personality traits with the characters in Little Women. Meg is reliable and focused on family and Jo is independent and trying to make it on her own in New York City. The sisters strive to be close but have some typical sisterly tension. The story is told from their alternating points of view. Another installment is expected soon which will be told from Beth’s and Amy’s points of view.
The writing is engaging and page-turning with a definite chic lit vibe. A few of us in a buddy read thought that parts of it could have been even more modernized…..especially noting that Mrs. March comes across at times as a 50s housewife. This is simply an observation and not meant as a criticism of the era.
Themes in Meg & Jo reflect the themes found in Little Women: the strength of family and complicated and loyal sibling relationships.
Recommended: Fans of retellings and especially Little Women might enjoy Meg & Jo. Readers who are looking for chick lit with strong female characters and a side of romance will also appreciate this retelling. I liked it but didn’t love it as much as others have. It might be a great selection for book clubs who are looking for something entertaining, discussable, and light, with a small amount of steam.
My Rating: 3 Stars
Meet the Author, Virginia Kantra
New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra is the author of more than twenty novels. 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.
Virginia is married to her college sweetheart, a coffee shop owner who keeps her well supplied with caffeine and material. They make their home in North Carolina, where they raised three (mostly adult) children. She is a firm believer in the strength of family, the importance of storytelling, and the power of love. Her favorite thing to make for dinner? Reservations.
For excerpts and more, visit her at http://virginiakantra.com.
And on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/VirginiaKantraBooks
I don’t read too many retellings, but here are two more I’ve read this year:
More to the Story by Hena Khan
I adored this heartwarming and wholesome contemporary retelling of Little Women from a Pakistani-American family (living in Atlanta, GA USA) perspective for Middle Grade readers (and for all of us who are young at heart and enjoy MG reads). Thanks for the recommendation Afoma! It reminded me a bit of the Vanderbeekers in tone and content.
At first I wondered how I was going to connect the sisters and their personalities to the original but quickly I realized that the author matches the first initials of the names! There’s artistic, youngest sister Aleena (Amy); quiet, musical Bisma (Beth); impatient, independent Jameela (Jo); and beautiful, kind , oldest sister Maryam (Beth). This would make a great gift for a Middle Grade reader in your life! (Along with the movie of the classic?) If you’re looking for a lovely, quick, family-centered read, you will be pleased with this story! It would also be a wonderful mother/daughter read.
Trigger/content warning: childhood cancer (no one dies in the story which ends on a hopeful note).
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
This is a fun, romantic, contemporary retelling of Pride and Prejudice with Muslim main characters (set in Canada). Not reviewed.
How do you feel about retellings?
Have you read Little Women?
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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.
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Little Women is one of my favorites, Carol, and it was fun to experience my first retelling of it. More to the Story sounds like one I need to read too!
Are you planning to see the new movie Jennifer?! More to the Story reminds me a bit of The Penderwicks 😍👍
I really want to, Carol! I am slow getting to movies though.
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