REVIEWED BY DEBS CARR
Josephine March's great-great-granddaughter, Lulu, is at her American mother's house in London with her two sisters and friend when she's asked to go up into the untidy attic and look for a collection of recipes written by her great-grandmother Cissie at some point in the 1920s.
Lulu is almost twenty-five and has no idea what she wants to do with her life, she's clever, but uninspired. Unlike her two sisters, Sophie, a beautiful up-and-coming actress and Emma, the organised one who's planning her wedding, Lulu's a little lost and realises that staying at her friend's flat on a casual basis and working at her part-time job isn't going to get her very far in life.
All three girls have grown up listening to their mother relating stories to them about their ancestor, Jo March. They mock her whenever she begins another tale about the family history and usually plead with her to stop. When Lulu goes up to the attic she discovers letters written by her great-great-grandmother and through these she not only discovers a few family secrets, she also learns about the hardships and closeness Jo and her family endured so many years previously. As the book progresses Lulu and her sisters begin to find that they have hidden depths and more to offer than they'd ever before imagined.
Even though I only had a vague idea about Little Women, it didn't hinder my enjoyment of this beautifully written book. Having two sisters of my own, I felt that Gabrielle Donnelly encompassed the different, sometimes complex relationships that sisters have with each other. The different hopes, aspirations and sense of duty and humour are cleverly intertwined within this story as each of the siblings learn that although they may be different they are closer than any friends can possibly ever be.
The Little Women Letters is published by Penguin and you can buy your copy here
To learn more about Gabrielle Donnelly you can visit her website