The Art of Amy March in The Other Alcott

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What if Amy had continued her ardent pursuit of art in Little Women? This novel by Elise Hooper is about the real Amy – May Alcott. The one who did not aim to become “an ornament to society” but relentlessly worked to make a career of her art and succeeded. Continue reading

A Little Women reminiscence: Conversations at Orchard House #1

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I didn’t get to any of the other things from my original Little Women Summer plans – but thanks to the lovely folks at Orchard House, I did get to have a “conversation” with one of their staff, who just fell in love with Little Women and the home in which it was written! Here’s Part 1 of that conversation 🙂 Continue reading

Why we like to dislike Amy March

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I feel as though many fans, somewhat unfairly, dislike Amy. Do you think this dislike is more because Alcott married her to Laurie, because modern readers have a new set of values, or something else? NovElla and Banannabelle Continue reading

The Little Women Hen’s Down Under

By Trix Wilkins

Photo of Pittwater, Sydney, courtesy of Wikipedia

Been helping to organize a hen’s, and in the midst of all that my mind started to wander into the land of “what if…” – what if Jo and Laurie had at some point gotten engaged, and Jo had enlisted the advice of her sisters as to what to do for her hen’s? And what if they had been in Sydney, Australia? What might Meg, Beth, and Amy have suggested – and how might things have worked out in the end?

Meg: The quintessential luxurious day out in the city

I think Meg’s imagination would have gone a bit wild at the thought of planning a day for all her sisters in beautiful Sydney, backed by the finance of the Laurences! She might have suggested a 2 course lunch at the picturesque Botanic Garden Restaurant, followed by a wander (or a run, in Jo’s case) about the Royal Botanic Gardens while she gazed in wonder at the unfamiliar flowers and foliage of the southern hemisphere.

Recalling their days as amateur performers, Meg might have arranged a viewing of a matinee at the Sydney Opera House (whilst fondly reminiscing with Jo over how Laurie had invited them to the theatre all those years ago) – and being of a diplomatic bent, appeased their grand Aunt March by finishing the day with a formal dinner overlooking Sydney Harbor at Bennelong.

Beth: A serene retreat to the beautiful Blue Mountains

Being the most in tune with her beloved sister Jo, Beth would have looked for a place full of the wonders of books, nature, adventures – and music. Though she was considered “the musical one,” she would have thoughtfully remembered that Jo too loved music dearly.

Thus I suspect Beth would have suggested a day out at the Blue Mountains – climbing the thousand steps, beholding the Three Sisters, wandering down to the Empress Falls (and being severely tempted to join Jo in jumping through waterfalls).

When Jo had tired herself out, a myriad of second hand book stores in Leura would beckon – and armed with newly acquired treasures, she might not have been able to resist a “rest” at that secret understated café with the surprisingly majestic valley view.

Beth might have conspired with Mr Laurence to arrange a special musical performance at Pins on Lurline – finishing the day with a dinner set in a historic house, the ambience beautiful without pretension, a restaurant right up Jo’s alley.

Amy: Books and tea with a twist

Of all her sisters, Amy would have been the one to take Jo to the Mitchell wing of the State Library of NSW, set in a sandstone building with its old world feel of rare, ageing books and centuries of accumulated knowledge and ideas. Partly because she might have wanted to affirm her support of her sister’s writing (after having burned Jo’s manuscript as a child), but also because only a few blocks away is one of Sydney’s oldest and grandest hotels, the Westin: host of the Mad Hatter Tea Party as well as Endota, reputably one of the most luxurious day spas in Sydney.

After taking Jo on a tour about the library, Amy might have persuaded her sister to a visit at the Westin – citing unusual and seemingly other worldly confections, and a spa pedicure so relaxing Jo might feel utterly inspired to write her next novel afterwards, perhaps even her magna opus.

What Jo might have gotten up to in the end…

An early morning kayak, bushwalk and swim at Pittwater followed by a picnic lunch on the Palm Beach peninsula. The afternoon might have been spent playing croquet and taking long walks on the beach and headland.

In the midst of the croquet game, Jo’s hen’s might have officially ended with an unexpected gate crash by Laurie and his boys – who would have chartered a boat for all to Watson’s Bay, where they would have eaten lobster for dinner at Doyle’s (with Jo still blushing over the memory of that dinner party with the lobster salad, and Laurie looking at her mischievously).

Author and book sale PIC

The Little Women NY resolutions

By Trix Wilkins

What might have been the New Year’s resolutions of the Little Women characters at the end of Part 1… (just after Meg and John’s engagement)

Jo March: The aspiring author

Write a novel, read at least one book a week, make enough money to buy Beth a holiday, help Beth with the Hummels and other people in need, travel somewhere new, keep my temper, have a dinner party in which the lobster is cooked well and there is sugar in the cream not salt, ice skate and run faster than Teddy, not be caught even once by Aunt March Amy or Meg racing with Teddy.

Theodore Laurence: The college freshman

Make lots of friends at college, not be lazy but study well and make grandfather proud and prove I’m a genius, grow my hair long, write a song (without grandfather finding out), not play billiards, start planning that grand trip abroad, talk grandfather out of the whole India merchant plan, make Jo fall desperately in love with me (see all previous points).

Amy March: The aspiring artist

Help Meg with everything to do with her wedding to make it as beautiful as possible – design wedding invitations (make sure spelling is correct), find bargain bits for wedding outfits, fix up my dresses and bonnets to be more fashionable, make the most of every encounter I have with rich people while with Aunt March, be more lovely to Aunt March so she might take me abroad one day.

Beth March: The faithful friend

Get stronger and healthier somehow, learn more songs to play on the piano (especially for father now that he’s home, and Mr Laurence), read more of the little book Marmee gave me, be less afraid of talking to people especially to strangers, be kinder to the Hummels so they don’t feel so guilty about my acquiring scarlet fever, make my dolls some new outfits.

Aunt March: The matchmaker

Persuade Meg not to marry John Brooke and find suitable replacement. Persuade Mrs March to have a coming out ball for Jo (and Jo to attend). Find rich suitable husband for Jo. Prepare Jo to be fit for the trip abroad (see previous point about rich husband). Find and befriend wealthy potential future suitor for Amy (especially if previous points regarding older sisters fail).

Mrs March: The matriarch

Resist all of Aunt March’s resolutions regarding my daughters, encourage and love my daughters well through upcoming seasonal changes, address the thorny issue of why I am angry every day of my life, learn how to be a wife again and especially to a husband who has been through a war.

Meg March: The bride-to-be

Learn everything I can from Marmee and Hannah about keeping house, learn at least one new dish to cook per month from Hannah (maybe share my knowledge with Sallie Gardiner), save to buy my wedding dress fabric, start sewing my wedding dress, learn about John’s business so I can talk to him about it (maybe ask Mr Laurence or Laurie so I won’t sound so silly to John).

John Brooke: The groom-to-be

Establish business and make a lot of money to save for marriage and a fine home for Meg. Repeat. Repeat until all relations are satisfied and think me worthy of her.

Happy new year everyone!