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So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix

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Four young Black sisters come of age during the American Civil War in So Many Beginnings, a warm and powerful YA remix of the classic novel Little Women by national bestselling author Bethany C. Morrow. North Carolina, 1863. As the American Civil War rages on, the Freedmen's Colony of Roanoke Island is blossoming, a haven for the recently emancipated. Black people have beg Four young Black sisters come of age during the American Civil War in So Many Beginnings, a warm and powerful YA remix of the classic novel Little Women by national bestselling author Bethany C. Morrow. North Carolina, 1863. As the American Civil War rages on, the Freedmen's Colony of Roanoke Island is blossoming, a haven for the recently emancipated. Black people have begun building a community of their own, a refuge from the shadow of the old life. It is where the March family has finally been able to safely put down roots with four young daughters: Meg, a teacher who longs to find love and start a family of her own. Jo, a writer whose words are too powerful to be contained. Beth, a talented seamstress searching for a higher purpose. Amy, a dancer eager to explore life outside her family's home. As the four March sisters come into their own as independent young women, they will face first love, health struggles, heartbreak, and new horizons. But they will face it all together.


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Four young Black sisters come of age during the American Civil War in So Many Beginnings, a warm and powerful YA remix of the classic novel Little Women by national bestselling author Bethany C. Morrow. North Carolina, 1863. As the American Civil War rages on, the Freedmen's Colony of Roanoke Island is blossoming, a haven for the recently emancipated. Black people have beg Four young Black sisters come of age during the American Civil War in So Many Beginnings, a warm and powerful YA remix of the classic novel Little Women by national bestselling author Bethany C. Morrow. North Carolina, 1863. As the American Civil War rages on, the Freedmen's Colony of Roanoke Island is blossoming, a haven for the recently emancipated. Black people have begun building a community of their own, a refuge from the shadow of the old life. It is where the March family has finally been able to safely put down roots with four young daughters: Meg, a teacher who longs to find love and start a family of her own. Jo, a writer whose words are too powerful to be contained. Beth, a talented seamstress searching for a higher purpose. Amy, a dancer eager to explore life outside her family's home. As the four March sisters come into their own as independent young women, they will face first love, health struggles, heartbreak, and new horizons. But they will face it all together.

30 review for So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix

  1. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    offering a good review before reading it to counterbalance all the racist f*cks rating the book they haven't read and whining about cultural appropriation, which they clearly don't understand, and would surely complain about actual cases of it being pointed out. This cover is GORGEOUS, and I am so very excited to read what sounds like an amazing book. Little Women was one of my favorites growing up, and this sounds like it will be a stellar retelling. offering a good review before reading it to counterbalance all the racist f*cks rating the book they haven't read and whining about cultural appropriation, which they clearly don't understand, and would surely complain about actual cases of it being pointed out. This cover is GORGEOUS, and I am so very excited to read what sounds like an amazing book. Little Women was one of my favorites growing up, and this sounds like it will be a stellar retelling.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    For background you should know I'm a big lover of the original Little Women (book and films!) and have been since I was a kid. When I heard about this project, I was cautiously optimistic and very curious to see how this beloved classic might be adapted to follow a Black family of sisters during the Civil War era (the same time period as the original). And I have to say, So Many Beginnings does this very well! It stays true to the heart and tone of the original, but is also something all its own For background you should know I'm a big lover of the original Little Women (book and films!) and have been since I was a kid. When I heard about this project, I was cautiously optimistic and very curious to see how this beloved classic might be adapted to follow a Black family of sisters during the Civil War era (the same time period as the original). And I have to say, So Many Beginnings does this very well! It stays true to the heart and tone of the original, but is also something all its own. Fans of Little Women will enjoy seeing the clever adaptations of the story, but even readers coming to this fresh will come to love this family of very different young women who love each other a great deal. It's a story about four sisters, each with their own personality and interests. So Many Beginnings really nails the characterization in a way that feels authentic, and even the language and style of the prose feel consistent with the tone of the original. But there are differences, and it was cool to see how those played out. The family is living in the Roanoke colony set up for the formerly enslaved. We get a lot of real historical context here of things that happened (good and bad) in the post-Civil War era. The early part of the book felt a little muddled to me and so it took a bit to fully get into it, but I ended up loving what Morrow did with the story. I want to talk about the changes she made, so mild spoilers ahead for those who are sensitive to them! If you're familiar with the story and don't mind knowing the differences ahead of time, you might find this interesting. If not, stop here and come back later! ************SPOILERS AHEAD*************** Similar to the original, Meg is a homebody who really just wants to be a wife and mother. Early on she has a potential long distance suitor that fizzles out, and later in the book you realize that was setting things up for Amy to have a wealthy love interest who was previously involved with one of her sisters. This gives her story arc something similar to the original (though in this case Amy is a dancer who goes to Boston for training) while not infringing on the different approach to the Jo/Lorie arc. (more on that later) Meg ends up falling for a local boy who does lawn care in town, even though Jo didn't think he was smart enough for her. I liked the way this adapted the original story with John. Jo becomes a writer of nonfiction, talking about the plight of Black people in America and philosophizing. She eventually is offered the opportunity to write her own slave narrative, mirroring the original Jo writing sensational tales before writing something more autobiographical. But in this case, Jo ends up turning down the publishing offer when they want her to write in a lower dialect because people "wouldn't believe" she grew up speaking proper English while enslaved. The book does a great job of weaving in tidbits like that that really occurred. Another cool change here is Jo is probably meant to be asexual! She loves Lorie, but doesn't want a physical relationship and they end up in sort of a platonic partnership. It's really lovely and an interesting take. Beth is ill in this rendition as well, but based on her symptoms and the discussions surrounding it I'm pretty sure she's meant to have sickle cell anemia. Which again, is a clever way to address a chronic illness that does affect members of the Black community, and the issues of white medical professionals thinking she was lying because her symptoms would come and go. Instead of dying, Beth decides to emigrate to Liberia and there's a line that nods to the original where she would miss her family "even in heaven". There's also some subtext where you could read Beth as queer, though it's not explicit. I really enjoyed reading this and thought the author did a really great job of doing something fresh and interesting while respecting original text. Definitely one I would recommend! The audio narration is very good as well. It's narrated by Adenrele Ojo who is just wonderful. If you aren't used to more formal language, it might take you awhile to adjust since as I said, the prose is very reminiscent of the original Little Women. I received an audio copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    afi

    AAAHHHHHHHH I'M SO EXCITED. THAT I JUST CAN'T HIDE IT. I LOVED LITTLE WOMEN AND WRITING IT IN A DIFFERENT CONTEXT IS GENIUS. AND BTW, THIS DOESN'T COUNT AS CULTURAL APPROPRIATION, LADS. AAAHHHHHHHH I'M SO EXCITED. THAT I JUST CAN'T HIDE IT. I LOVED LITTLE WOMEN AND WRITING IT IN A DIFFERENT CONTEXT IS GENIUS. AND BTW, THIS DOESN'T COUNT AS CULTURAL APPROPRIATION, LADS.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anniek

    Such a gorgeous reimagining of Little Women. Exactly what I was hoping for from the "remixed classics": a book that adds so much value of its own, while still keeping the heart and feel of the original story. Absolutely stunning. Such a gorgeous reimagining of Little Women. Exactly what I was hoping for from the "remixed classics": a book that adds so much value of its own, while still keeping the heart and feel of the original story. Absolutely stunning.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Darla

    This retelling of "Little Women" is set in the Freedmen's Colony of Roanoke Island and in Boston. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are all present and accounted for as is family friend Lorie. The March family has been recently emancipated and their trauma from slavery is clearly communicated. I really liked many of the choices that the author made in this fresh narrative. The prose, however, was clunky and weighed down with the views of the 1619 Project. Not my cup of tea, but I am glad I took the time to This retelling of "Little Women" is set in the Freedmen's Colony of Roanoke Island and in Boston. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are all present and accounted for as is family friend Lorie. The March family has been recently emancipated and their trauma from slavery is clearly communicated. I really liked many of the choices that the author made in this fresh narrative. The prose, however, was clunky and weighed down with the views of the 1619 Project. Not my cup of tea, but I am glad I took the time to read it. Thank you to Feiwel & Friends and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Now I liked the original version of Little Women but I'll admit that the characters easily annoyed me in certain situations. That being said, I was actually pretty excited to dive into this retelling which might sound weird but I wanted to see if the girls would be exactly the same as before or completely different. These girls were way more likable than the original version. I'm sorry but Amy's character was so freaking ann I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Now I liked the original version of Little Women but I'll admit that the characters easily annoyed me in certain situations. That being said, I was actually pretty excited to dive into this retelling which might sound weird but I wanted to see if the girls would be exactly the same as before or completely different. These girls were way more likable than the original version. I'm sorry but Amy's character was so freaking annoying before and in this one she seemed way more normal and such. Then there's Meg, who knew what she wanted and would actually go for it. Unlike the original version who seemed to car more about the opinions from other people and wanted what they had or whatever. As for Jo? She's been my favorite since the very beginning and I adored her and Laurie's relationship. I also think I got hints that she was asexual? Which, yes girl - I loved every second of it and it definitely made sense in my mind that she would be. Last, but not least, our girl Beth. If you've read the original version, then you know what happens to her. All I'm going to say is that Beth is a force in this one. Yes, she still gets sick but it takes a different route and I enjoyed that a bit more. Other than the doctors thinking she was faking it all but then again - that made sense too because doctors tend to think that about anyone who isn't showing symptoms all the freaking time. Other than all that jazz, well, I think it's just safe to say that I really enjoyed this one and I can't wait for the next retelling in my life. Thank you Bethany for taking the time to write this because it was freaking addictive.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tomes And Textiles

    Y'all aren't ready for this. Full review to come. Y'all aren't ready for this. Full review to come.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This wasn't SUPER close to the original, but close enough, I think? Whatever that means. (view spoiler)[I read Jo as asexual which is GREAT and makes so much sense and allowed me to root for her and Lorie in a way I never was able to in the original, even as a kid. (hide spoiler)] Meg was still GREAT and allowed to really, really be herself and want what she wants. Everything about being former slaves and what it meant to live as a Black person in/after the Civil War was really really impactful. This wasn't SUPER close to the original, but close enough, I think? Whatever that means. (view spoiler)[I read Jo as asexual which is GREAT and makes so much sense and allowed me to root for her and Lorie in a way I never was able to in the original, even as a kid. (hide spoiler)] Meg was still GREAT and allowed to really, really be herself and want what she wants. Everything about being former slaves and what it meant to live as a Black person in/after the Civil War was really really impactful.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sage

    GAH I just typed a whole review and the app just crashed 😭 Knew I should’ve copy pasted just in case. Anyway, I loved this book a lot. Little Women is one of my childhood faves, and I appreciated that this remix paid homage to the original (Mr. March!) while being something completely fresh and new and wonderful. It breathed new life into an old classic, and I really enjoyed this so much. Amy (Amethyst!!) was less insufferable in this version, which I always appreciate. Beth (Bethlehem!) had a g GAH I just typed a whole review and the app just crashed 😭 Knew I should’ve copy pasted just in case. Anyway, I loved this book a lot. Little Women is one of my childhood faves, and I appreciated that this remix paid homage to the original (Mr. March!) while being something completely fresh and new and wonderful. It breathed new life into an old classic, and I really enjoyed this so much. Amy (Amethyst!!) was less insufferable in this version, which I always appreciate. Beth (Bethlehem!) had a great storyline, and I wanted to know more about her in Part II of the book. Jo was as fiery and amazing as ever, and I really liked her relationship with Lorie. It was so special and unique. Certain scenes had me cheering for her (the book!!! Her salons!!) for sure. And I really admire Meg for knowing what she wants and going after it, and not paying attention to other people’s opinions of her life goals. As with any version I read/watch, the relationship between the sisters, and with their mother, are always my favorite parts. Having the March family be previously enslaved and now living on Roanoke Island Freedpeople’s colony (brb want to go do more research now had zero idea about this!!! 🤓) was really powerful, and heart wrenching. Particularly Meg’s flashbacks to her old life.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mya

    This is very tender and sweet. Probably will do a lot for you if you're into 1) Civil War/antebellum time period, 2) Little Women already or 3) Black retellings of "classics". As someone very into 2 and 3, it was super wholesome and layered for YA. Plus— (view spoiler)[ I LOVE the way the Jo/Lorie romance played out in this. Possible asexual rep for Jo March?? We love it. (hide spoiler)] This is very tender and sweet. Probably will do a lot for you if you're into 1) Civil War/antebellum time period, 2) Little Women already or 3) Black retellings of "classics". As someone very into 2 and 3, it was super wholesome and layered for YA. Plus— (view spoiler)[ I LOVE the way the Jo/Lorie romance played out in this. Possible asexual rep for Jo March?? We love it. (hide spoiler)]

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tamara Wilhite

    This is cultural appropriation of a classic novel. It isn't yours to reclaim. It is Louisa May Alcott's. This is cultural appropriation of a classic novel. It isn't yours to reclaim. It is Louisa May Alcott's.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gen

    Feels good, feels right. This is a "what if Little Women were about a Black family?" fanfiction. It's not Little Women, obviously. It doesn't have the length of the original, or the episodic pace, or spend as much time on whimsical one-off adventures or Pilgrim's Progress. Things it DOES have include: • A similar regularly-sermonizing style. This time the sermons are mostly about abolition and post-bellum injustices, as I'm sure you can imagine. There is some Christianity sprinkled in there as wel Feels good, feels right. This is a "what if Little Women were about a Black family?" fanfiction. It's not Little Women, obviously. It doesn't have the length of the original, or the episodic pace, or spend as much time on whimsical one-off adventures or Pilgrim's Progress. Things it DOES have include: • A similar regularly-sermonizing style. This time the sermons are mostly about abolition and post-bellum injustices, as I'm sure you can imagine. There is some Christianity sprinkled in there as well, but not nearly as much. • GOOD and accurate family vibes. Honestly, the sisters in this are a lot less annoying overall than the Little Women sisters. Less realistic? Probably. But it still conveys a powerful, loving bond among the whole family in the same way the original does. • Very good Jo and "Lorie" vibes. This is one of the most uniquely standout things about the original, and this book does quite a good job of spinning its own thing off in a way that's new but still preserves the feeling of the Laurie/Jo bond. • Historical details! It took me, as a kid, a LONG time to figure out what time period Little Women was even set in. Sure the dad was away at war, but which one? This book certainly doesn't have that ambiguity, and we get to learn about the lives of people freed from slavery and the challenges they still had to face in a way that my history books, at least, did not cover very much. • Growing pains. This book is a lot less painful, too, than the original, which honestly is kind of nice. I prefer my fanfiction not to hold me down and take a scalpel to my soul. But there are still those themes of transition, growing up, and finding your place in the world. Overall, this book does a lot of things differently, of course. But it really did give me the feeling that you know, this IS pretty much what the March family would end up doing if they WERE born into this situation. I enjoyed it a lot.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nathaniel

    No, you don't understand. I'm. Not. Okay. Not after that ending. I want more. I want to see Amy dazzle the world, and Jo rip it apart with her words, and Beth continue being sweet, and Meg find her true happiness. I want to see the world develop in acceptance and racism begin to dwindle. I want more. Why can't we have more? Bethany C. Morrow is such a beautiful writer. Her words drip like honey. I need to read her other things sometime soon. She has a way with words and plots and characters that No, you don't understand. I'm. Not. Okay. Not after that ending. I want more. I want to see Amy dazzle the world, and Jo rip it apart with her words, and Beth continue being sweet, and Meg find her true happiness. I want to see the world develop in acceptance and racism begin to dwindle. I want more. Why can't we have more? Bethany C. Morrow is such a beautiful writer. Her words drip like honey. I need to read her other things sometime soon. She has a way with words and plots and characters that blows me away. This is a book I will be thinking about for a long time.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mallory

    I really liked the concept of remixing and diversifying some of our favorite classics. Little Women is a story I have enjoyed and I was excited to see it be reimagined as a family with four sisters recently freed from slavery. I liked the way that the book didn’t shy away from tough issues. I also liked that I could see pieces of the familiar characters, but that they also felt like their own characters with their own important stories to tell. Jo and Lorie were adorable and I really loved their I really liked the concept of remixing and diversifying some of our favorite classics. Little Women is a story I have enjoyed and I was excited to see it be reimagined as a family with four sisters recently freed from slavery. I liked the way that the book didn’t shy away from tough issues. I also liked that I could see pieces of the familiar characters, but that they also felt like their own characters with their own important stories to tell. Jo and Lorie were adorable and I really loved their friendship and piece of this story. While the original is amazing, I will admit to being selfishly glad to not cry through the ending of this book. I really think this was a unique story to tell, I don’t think I have read anything quite like this about freed Black people and the continuing struggles they had during and post Civil War. And this author did this project justice with a good voice for story telling.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Eva B.

    This was going to be one of the easiest five stars of my life until Part II. SMB takes the bones of LITTLE WOMEN and elevates it in a way that I haven't seen in a retelling before, although this is more of a character retelling than a plot retelling. Morrow seamlessly avoid the biggest pitfall in LW retellings, which have a tendency to flanderize the sisters into "boring", "feisty", "nice", and "annoying", by making each of the sisters incredibly complex. And the way that the trauma from the Marc This was going to be one of the easiest five stars of my life until Part II. SMB takes the bones of LITTLE WOMEN and elevates it in a way that I haven't seen in a retelling before, although this is more of a character retelling than a plot retelling. Morrow seamlessly avoid the biggest pitfall in LW retellings, which have a tendency to flanderize the sisters into "boring", "feisty", "nice", and "annoying", by making each of the sisters incredibly complex. And the way that the trauma from the March family's prior enslavement and how it still impacts them? SO WELL DONE! My favorite would have to be Amy (who I loathed when I first read the baby's first classics version in middle school but tends to be my favorite in retellings) but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved Meg in this--she's the hardest sister to adapt for retellings since her arc is about wanting to get married. Morrow handles her with care and made me love her. I also loved Jo, but that was to be expected. Beth...is still the hardest sister to sell me on in retellings that don't include the manuscript scene but I really loved her too! The way that her illness was handled was done so well; same with the relationship between Jo and Lorie. Unfortunately the hasty time jump and super short length of Part II made me knock this down from a 5+ favorites rating to a plain 5 stars--it felt like an extended epilogue and took up much, much less of the book than Part I, separating the sisters but not allowing us enough time to see how they've really changed in the three years. This book could have been a hundred pages longer and covered that time in-depth and it would have fixed all of my issues with this book. If you like Little Women, read this. If you didn't like Little Women, read this. If you haven't read Little Women, read this. Part I is a masterpiece, Part II still good but not as good as it could have been, and the book as a whole is phenomenal.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rameela (Star)

    Thank you to fierce reads for the eARC Initial Thoughts: This was so well written and was so well executed and honestly I still have to process how much I enjoyed it and appreciated it I haven't actually read Little Women but I've seen the movie and read other retellings that have really resonated with me and this one hit me with everything that I ever wanted in a retelling. Not only did it totally blow me away with the "remixing" of the characters, it also added such an intense and heartwrenching Thank you to fierce reads for the eARC Initial Thoughts: This was so well written and was so well executed and honestly I still have to process how much I enjoyed it and appreciated it I haven't actually read Little Women but I've seen the movie and read other retellings that have really resonated with me and this one hit me with everything that I ever wanted in a retelling. Not only did it totally blow me away with the "remixing" of the characters, it also added such an intense and heartwrenching discussion about American History. I'm genuinely not even smart enough and definitely probably not qualified to talk about the effect of slavery on the nation and how it was woven into this story. I definitely learned a lot about the aftermath of the freedom of slaves and the colonies that were created for the newly freed Black Americans and will be thinking about this for a long time. I didn't even know that there were specific Freedmen's colonies created in america and I definitely want to learn more about that after reading this! In regards to the actual story, I was totally blown away. It kept the simple structure of the original story (from whatever I know about it) but added so much more because of the historical setting. I appreciated the depth of the characters, especially with Beth! It was so interesting to see this story told with more viewpoints from all the sisters! I highlighted so many quotes in this book, especially with Joanna's writing. The Author hit hard with the facts and didn't hold back which I really appreciated!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rachel & Lindsey

    *I recieved an audiobook ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!* I love adaptations/retellings of Little Women, but usually they disappoint (the Greta Gerwig film being the exception). They often sort the four sisters in caricatures: Meg wants to marry, Jo is defiant, Beth is perfect and can do no wrong, and Amy is annoying. I am here to say that this story does not do that. At all. Each sister was fully fleshed out; she had her own flaws as well as merits. Because this is a remix, i *I recieved an audiobook ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!* I love adaptations/retellings of Little Women, but usually they disappoint (the Greta Gerwig film being the exception). They often sort the four sisters in caricatures: Meg wants to marry, Jo is defiant, Beth is perfect and can do no wrong, and Amy is annoying. I am here to say that this story does not do that. At all. Each sister was fully fleshed out; she had her own flaws as well as merits. Because this is a remix, it is I particularly love how Beth's story was handled (the sections that focused on her were some of my favorites). On top of that, we meet a wide variety of characters, and we often get a quick, but thorough, dive into who they are. Even if they were in the story for only a chapter or two, I felt as if I had sat and enjoyed a coffee with them as they told me about their life. Sometimes the writing style can end up a little "preacher"-style, but I didn't mind it at all. It felt necessary, particularly because a lot of people may come into the book not knowing what the freed-people colonies of the Civil War, such are Roanoke Island, were. One thing that I will say is that this book is very character-oriented. Yes, there was a plot, but a lot of this book was spent dissecting the March women, their relationships with their sisters, their relationships with the other people in the colony, and their relationship to the old world of slavery and the new world of freedom. I loved this aspect, but someone who is into more action/plot-heavy material may not want this. Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I would definitely recommend reading it (or listening to it!) once it releases! - lindsey

  18. 5 out of 5

    Renata

    Wow, I was excited to read this just because I like Little Women, but this really knocked my socks off. For starters, I had never learned about the Freedmen's Colony on Roanoke Island but that was such an interesting setting for this book and I'm so glad to have learned a bit about it. But then I loved how thoughtfully and sensitively these characters were adapted--the concept that as a slave, Jo was thought by white people to be mute because she knew that she'd get in trouble if she said the th Wow, I was excited to read this just because I like Little Women, but this really knocked my socks off. For starters, I had never learned about the Freedmen's Colony on Roanoke Island but that was such an interesting setting for this book and I'm so glad to have learned a bit about it. But then I loved how thoughtfully and sensitively these characters were adapted--the concept that as a slave, Jo was thought by white people to be mute because she knew that she'd get in trouble if she said the things that were on her mind, so she just...didn't talk...and then after being freed getting to be more like the outspoken Jo from the original books......*sob* Really moving, especially as her family encourages her to explore her burgeoning writing talent. Whew!! And the new layers of Beth's illness here, I don't want to spoil it but it's so smart and beautiful. And just seeing a family like the Marches who are so emotionally intelligent and compassionate, and seeing the way they talk about the experience of slavery and ongoing racism was honestly revelatory to me; I've read a lot of books about the Civil War/race/etc and had never read some of these ideas expressed quite this way before. The idea of a "Little Women remix" could have been so pat but instead this is a truly new and moving book, worth reading whether or not you've read/enjoyed the original book. Really stunning.

  19. 5 out of 5

    queen of narnia

    Um... yes please. This sounds absolutely lovely.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nadine Keels

    Meg: a proper teacher. Jo: a passionate writer. Beth: a gentle seamstress. Amy: a lively dancer. The four young March sisters are coming of age in the Freedpeople's Colony of Roanoke Island during the American Civil War in So Many Beginnings by author Bethany C. Morrow. Yes, hearing that this YA historical novel is A Little Women Remix certainly got my attention. But that isn't the reason I read it. I tend not to jump at retellings of classics. On the rare occasions when I do try them, I bear in mind Meg: a proper teacher. Jo: a passionate writer. Beth: a gentle seamstress. Amy: a lively dancer. The four young March sisters are coming of age in the Freedpeople's Colony of Roanoke Island during the American Civil War in So Many Beginnings by author Bethany C. Morrow. Yes, hearing that this YA historical novel is A Little Women Remix certainly got my attention. But that isn't the reason I read it. I tend not to jump at retellings of classics. On the rare occasions when I do try them, I bear in mind that the two stories are separate works. I didn't pick up this book with nostalgia, expecting to "relive" Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. And I think others who love that classic should know that this remix isn't merely or essentially a work of fanfiction with brown faces swapped in for white ones. This is a different story. A different narrative. And I read it for its difference. Not for its difference from Alcott's novel but for its difference from a lot of newer fiction set in the Civil War era. Not a humble story from the perspective of noble abolitionist characters or the perspective of "slaves runnin' away from Massa." But a story that includes different elements of American history that are too rarely taught or considered and the challenges that surround them. The reality is that believing slavery is wrong isn't synonymous with accepting and fully respecting all people. And there's a difference between emancipation (from slavery) and freedom (to truly live). I read this book specifically because it deals with that difference. Now, as a work of fiction, the novel felt more like a sketch than a full picture to me at times. That's understandable, given that there are four sisters' and their mother's experiences to cover over a few years in one book, and this wasn't the time for a 500 or 600-page novel. Also, the perspectives switch around between characters during the scenes—something I didn't used to notice in fiction but that I now find a little distracting if I'm not prepared for it. Nevertheless, I appreciate that I couldn't predict everything the characters would think and say or every turn their days and lives would take. The plot and characters kept me curious, and the achingly beautiful parts kept me on my toes. I'd recommend this read for young adults and adults alike who can appreciate an unsugarcoated but ultimately warm and thought-provoking story of dissimilar individuals who make up a strong family.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    Though I’ve never read the original version of little women, I vaguely remember kids talking about it in elementary school. When I first heard about this book, I was intrigued by the idea of a retelling from the black perspective, I just hoped it wouldn’t be too heavy since I’m a bit worn out by brutal stories of slavery in my fiction lately. I really wanted to read some black historical fiction that would still make me feel happy, and this story was just what I needed. Some parts were a bit sug Though I’ve never read the original version of little women, I vaguely remember kids talking about it in elementary school. When I first heard about this book, I was intrigued by the idea of a retelling from the black perspective, I just hoped it wouldn’t be too heavy since I’m a bit worn out by brutal stories of slavery in my fiction lately. I really wanted to read some black historical fiction that would still make me feel happy, and this story was just what I needed. Some parts were a bit sugary but I still enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction with strong black leads. 4 stars!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    despite loving the movies (even Little Men), I've never been able to get into the original Little Women novel because I found it so dull. but this was everything. I LOVED it!! despite loving the movies (even Little Men), I've never been able to get into the original Little Women novel because I found it so dull. but this was everything. I LOVED it!!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Farah Mendlesohn

    This is just *sooo* good. Like others I approached it a little concerned just because Little Women/Good Wives is such a classic, so intrinsic to the history of US teen fiction, but that turns out to be one reason why Morrow's book is so good. She understands that this is a mythos that she is using, one that readers are invested in (particularly the endings Alcott gave her characters) and she both works with that while offering a different set of solutions. That's the easy stuff. It's not why I lo This is just *sooo* good. Like others I approached it a little concerned just because Little Women/Good Wives is such a classic, so intrinsic to the history of US teen fiction, but that turns out to be one reason why Morrow's book is so good. She understands that this is a mythos that she is using, one that readers are invested in (particularly the endings Alcott gave her characters) and she both works with that while offering a different set of solutions. That's the easy stuff. It's not why I love the book. I was lucky enough to grow up in the UK with access to simply superb radical children's historical fiction. It was an absolutely golden age for it. Most of the reasons why I am a historian can be traced to those books (I won't list them here, this post isn't about white folk). Morrow does exactly what I wanted from a historical fiction book when I was 11, 12, 13, 14, 15... forever really. She wrote about a real bit of history I didn't know about, she re-visioned a period made bland by popular platitudes, she dug down into the real struggles, injustices, heroisms of ordinary people. Morrow uses the four sisters to explore four different strands of post civil war experience, to show autonomy and constraints, disappointments and successes. I wanted to go out and immediately read the history book she recommends. The book is outstanding. I hope it becomes a classic. I hope even more it makes its way into US classrooms. Thank you Ms Morrow. This was unputdownable.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dave Knight

    Morrow needs to stay in her lane and stop appropriating other people's work. Check your privilege Bethany. Morrow needs to stay in her lane and stop appropriating other people's work. Check your privilege Bethany.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sahitya

    Probably more of 3.5. This is my second of the remixed classics and it’s really been such a nice experience reading classics retold through the perspectives of people whose stories have never been considered classics. I have to say I don’t remember much about Little Women because I was too young when I read it and have never watched any adaptations either. The author does a wonderful job with the setting of this story during and after the civil war, describing in perfect detail how the daily live Probably more of 3.5. This is my second of the remixed classics and it’s really been such a nice experience reading classics retold through the perspectives of people whose stories have never been considered classics. I have to say I don’t remember much about Little Women because I was too young when I read it and have never watched any adaptations either. The author does a wonderful job with the setting of this story during and after the civil war, describing in perfect detail how the daily lives of Black people were in the Roanoke Freedmen’s Colony, their struggle to keep their colony running while also living fulfilling lives after having achieved freedom. It was interesting to see all the women of the March family work hard at their chosen professions, being independent thinkers and never letting go of their dreams despite the circumstances. The writing is simple and straightforward, with so much raw power and emotion that made this an impactful read. The pacing could be a bit on the slower side but that could be expected in a slice of life kinda story. Mammy is the rock who supports them all while their father is away on war related work. Meg is the silent strength who loves teaching the newly freed people and wants a stable home life for herself. Jo is the intellectual whose words and thoughts flow and her convictions might get her in trouble a bit but she is always true to herself. Beth is an excellent seamstress who finds her purpose far away from home. And Amy is the baby whose dreams are more high profile and her exuberant nature is perfect for her profession as a dancer and private tutor. Other than the sisters, it was Lorie who left a deep impression on me. He and Jo are an amazing pair, an unbreakable deep friendship and more which can’t be defined but is as beautiful as any which is societally recognized. Their unwavering support for each other was a particular highlight of this book. To conclude, I think anyone who loves Little Women and like it to be retold would enjoy this story. And I would definitely recommend it to anyone who would love to see more historical fiction novels featuring characters whose stories were never told, especially set in times of American history when they were never regarded as important enough to be able to deserve their stories to be told.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Casey Kelley

    Listen…first I need to be transparent. I never read Little Women. I think it was a movie with Winona Ryder or someone but I never saw it. I had zero interest in the story. I spent every Thursday at the library (because that was the day the one near us was open late) when I was a child. I can’t tell you the number of times a librarian recommended that book to 10 to 12 year old me. Yea no. So with that said, I have no clue if this a good retelling of the original or not. If you have an opinion of Listen…first I need to be transparent. I never read Little Women. I think it was a movie with Winona Ryder or someone but I never saw it. I had zero interest in the story. I spent every Thursday at the library (because that was the day the one near us was open late) when I was a child. I can’t tell you the number of times a librarian recommended that book to 10 to 12 year old me. Yea no. So with that said, I have no clue if this a good retelling of the original or not. If you have an opinion of the original, take what I say with a grain of salt based solely on THIS book.⠀ ⠀ Anyway…I loved it. And no it does not make me want to read the original. I enjoyed reading a book about four very different Black sisters that loved each other fiercely. I loved their differences as much as their subtle similarities. While not the point of the story, it made me reflect on learning earlier this year about all the communities built by Black people (i.e. Lake Lanier) that were destroyed. I can’t help but wonder if this was how they lived and enjoyed life. This book is why #RepresentationMatters. Black readers need to see themselves celebrated and loved. Thank you Ms Morrow for giving us this gift ⠀ ⠀ The first review I saw on this book was on Goodreads by Tamara that gave it one star and called it cultural appropriation. WTEF? It is alway weird when people apply terms to something without having any knowledge of the definition. But also let’s sit on the hypocrisy that THIS is the only retelling of Little Women that many have issue with. I wonder why.⠀ ⠀ For that reason alone, buy the book. Read the book and rate it high as hell just to shut the racists up. But also because it is a great story and I enjoyed it.⠀ ⠀ You’re welcome.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Vianne

    this was so delightful! It turns out I'm a sucker for YA historical fiction by marginalized authors and this one really hit the spot. Being a Little Women retelling, So Many Beginnings obviously had incredible family dynamics that I loved reading about. I was completely absorbed by the world of this story and was invested in all the characters and their individual ambitions and lives. I also really enjoyed the way Morrow included discussions about race relations (during the period this book is se this was so delightful! It turns out I'm a sucker for YA historical fiction by marginalized authors and this one really hit the spot. Being a Little Women retelling, So Many Beginnings obviously had incredible family dynamics that I loved reading about. I was completely absorbed by the world of this story and was invested in all the characters and their individual ambitions and lives. I also really enjoyed the way Morrow included discussions about race relations (during the period this book is set in, although they still apply to today) in a way that got the message across but never felt overly heavy-handed. Although part of me wishes this book were a bit longer (only so I could spend more time with these characters), I think the pacing was done well and the way it concluded was very satisfying and not at all abrupt. Overall, would highly recommend checking it out (the audiobook, narrated by Adenrele Ojo, was also wonderful)! ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, thanks!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amanda M (The Curly Reader)

    I really enjoyed seeing the perspective of a group of black women living in a free people colony in NC toward the end and after the Civil War in this reimagining of Little Women. I appreciated that the author didn't stick to all of the original story lines, but kept the characters true to who they were in the source material. She also included nods to certain key events in the original which was fun to discover as I listened. The appreciation of the culture and authenticity of the black experien I really enjoyed seeing the perspective of a group of black women living in a free people colony in NC toward the end and after the Civil War in this reimagining of Little Women. I appreciated that the author didn't stick to all of the original story lines, but kept the characters true to who they were in the source material. She also included nods to certain key events in the original which was fun to discover as I listened. The appreciation of the culture and authenticity of the black experience during this time was evident in the writing, and as a white reader I very much appreciated seeing how white people who thought they were helping really weren't. There is definitely a lot to learn from this book and I am glad I was given the opportunity to listen to it. In addition, the audiobook narrator was fantastic and really brought the story to life.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Julie Anna

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Thank you to BookishFirst for providing me with a finished copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. So Many Beginnings is a remix of the classic novel Little Women that follows a Black family in America during the Civil War Era. it takes place in the Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island, a home for the newly emancipated, and where the March family settles and calls their home. I have previously read and loved Little Women, so when I saw this remix coming out I knew I had ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Thank you to BookishFirst for providing me with a finished copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. So Many Beginnings is a remix of the classic novel Little Women that follows a Black family in America during the Civil War Era. it takes place in the Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island, a home for the newly emancipated, and where the March family settles and calls their home. I have previously read and loved Little Women, so when I saw this remix coming out I knew I had to read it. But what I found while reading So Many Beginnings is that this story works so well whether you’ve read the book (or watched the film) or not. If you’re familiar with the story, you’ll find a very interesting twist on the story with additional themes that add many more layers to the original. But if you’re not familiar with the story, you’ll still be able to understand the original characters and their story in this new setting. The original Little Women is very much a character-driven novel, so it was lovely to see their development and growth in such detail throughout So Many Beginnings. If you’re familiar with the original, you’ll find that the March sisters have many of the same qualities that we’ve loved them for before. But in this remix, we get to see their personalities and talents in a new way. One of my favorite examples is Jo March, who uses her writing talent to help preserve her home and share the stories of the Black community. I found the time period that So Many Beginnings was set to be very significant as well. While this book is set in the same timeframe as Little Women, being written from the perspective of a recently emancipated Black family in America makes this story very different. And I find that this setting and perspective is one that’s been glazed over in history textbooks (or at least in mine) – the life of newly emancipated people in the civil war era. How did these people fare in the North vs. the South? Where did they settle, and how? What challenges did they face in their communities, as well as the prejudice that they continued to face? While So Many Beginnings is a historical fiction retelling, many of these questions are answered as part of the extensive research the author completed on Black communities in this time period, thus opening the doors to conversations about our history and the stories less frequently told. Another point of conversation I noticed while reading So Many Beginnings was the different types of prejudice that they faced. Although their colony was considered a safe option for them, the continued prejudice and biases they faced prevented advancement for things like their health, their community, and even things like their perceived education. Bringing these issues to light demonstrates how long-lasting biases still impact us to this day; in many parts of the story where these situations occur, I could instantly make connections to modern-day examples. So in sum, I found So Many Beginnings to be much more than a retelling. While this book presents Little Women in a new setting, it also provides perspectives very worthy of conversation. I recommend this book whether you’ve read the original or not, and highly recommend it for schools and book clubs too. CW: (view spoiler)[Chronic illness, racism, slavery (hide spoiler)] You can find more of my reviews here: www.julieannasbooks.com 🖤

  30. 5 out of 5

    Paige Green

    Disclaimer: I received this e-arc and early audiobook copy from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own. Book: So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix Author: Bethany C. Morrow Book Series: Remixed Classics Book 2 Diversity: Black MCs and love interests and side characters. Rating: 5/5 Recommended For...: classical retellings, young adult readers, historical fiction Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Classic Retelling Publication Date: September ,7, 2021 Publisher: Feiwel and Friends Pages: 304 Recommend Disclaimer: I received this e-arc and early audiobook copy from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own. Book: So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix Author: Bethany C. Morrow Book Series: Remixed Classics Book 2 Diversity: Black MCs and love interests and side characters. Rating: 5/5 Recommended For...: classical retellings, young adult readers, historical fiction Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Classic Retelling Publication Date: September ,7, 2021 Publisher: Feiwel and Friends Pages: 304 Recommended Age: 12+ (Slavery, Romance, Microaggressions) Explanation of CWs: Slavery is very prevalent in this book and is the foundation for the story. There is also marked events of racism and migroaggressions by the few white characters. Synopsis: North Carolina, 1863. As the American Civil War rages on, the Freedmen's Colony of Roanoke Island is blossoming, a haven for the recently emancipated. Black people have begun building a community of their own, a refuge from the shadow of the old life. It is where the March family has finally been able to safely put down roots with four young daughters: Meg, a teacher who longs to find love and start a family of her own. Jo, a writer whose words are too powerful to be contained. Beth, a talented seamstress searching for a higher purpose. Amy, a dancer eager to explore life outside her family's home. As the four March sisters come into their own as independent young women, they will face first love, health struggles, heartbreak, and new horizons. But they will face it all together. Review: I really like this remix of Little Women. Even though I have not read the book, I knew about what it should be about LOL. I didn't feel like from what I've heard about Little Women that this book was a lot better than it, but I really don't like classics to begin with. I loved the character development and the World building. I thought that the pacing was very well done and the story overall was very well written. I also loved the little nods to the original including the father's name being Alcott. I also feel like the book did very well commenting and showing the racism that happened after the Civil war. I feel like a lot of people think that racism and slavery and everything ended when the Confederacy gave up and this would be a great book to show them that that is definitely not true and still happens to this day unfortunately. The only thing that I really didn't like about the book is that the plot was kind of disjointed. But I'm really not going to count that off for the book because I have not read Little Women so I don't know if Little Women is like that but it just felt like there was a lot of storylines going on around the same time and there was time skips and stuff like that and then the end really didn't resolve any conflict but there really wasn't any. Don't get me wrong the book is still really good, I just don't know if this is what Little Women is all about, but I have a suspicion that it is LOL. Verdict: Highly recommend!

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