Thursday, March 14, 2013


March by Geraldine BrooksHistorical fiction.

Geraldine Brooks is the wife of Tony Horwitz, so I guess it was only inevitable that she would write about the Civil War some day. 

March takes the characters from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women--the characters in which are based on the Alcott family.  Brooks' focus is on the experiences prior to and during the Civil War of the March family patriarch.

Although a work of fiction, from what I understand of the Concord, MA, Transcendentalists of the 1800's, I would say the author has captured the personalities and the tenor of the times extremely well.  She has also captured the incredible awfulness of slavery* and the absolute horrors of war.

I say this is a book that is well worth reading.

*So, I'm sorry, but don't anyone try to tell me, as I have actually heard before, that slavery was beneficial to Blacks and that they were well taken care of.  I won't buy it.

Historical fiction

It seems that people either loved or hated this book.  I loved it.

The story is based on a real life London scandal involving a divorce case in 1864.  (Hmm...stuck in a time frame, I see)  There was no such thing as "no-fault" divorce at the time.

Helen Codrington was friendly with Emily Faithfull, whom she nicknamed Fido.  That should tell you something about the friendship right there.  Helen was a user and a flbbertyjibbet.  Fido unwittingly aids Helen in an affair with a young officer and is then subpoenaed to testify on her behalf.

Interesting that the courtroom drama includes such tidbits as a former friend of Helen's who comes forward with a tale of a strangely stained yellow dress, accusations of adultery that contains a discussion of what sex "is", and repressed vs. false memories.  It may seem as though Donoghue got momentarily confused with the Clinton era scandals, but she says those things were all part of the records of the proceedings found in her research.


  1. Thanks for the reviews. The first one sounds like one I would prefer to read. Of course I will probably just get angry.
    Do people really try to tell you that??

    1. Sadly, yes, I have heard 'theory.'

  2. I have read about "March" before and it sounds like one I would like. We were just in Alcott country last spring. I'm adding it to my list.

  3. These sound great! I love Geraldine Brooks.

  4. I have enjoyed Tony Horowitz's books (except the one on Australia which should have been good but was disappointing). Imagine the dinner conversation at the Horowitz household.

    Another couple I would have loved to be invited to for an evening was Heinz and Elaine Pagels. Heinz Pagels was a physics professor at Rockefeller University and the honcho of the New York Academy of Sciences. He wrote several popularizations of physics. Elaine Pagels is the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton and wrote the award winning Gnostic Gospels and Adam, Eve & The Serpent as well as other books. What dinner conversation could be had there! Tragically, Heinz died in a mountain climbing accident in 1988.

    Both of these books sound good, I shall have to check them out.

  5. Thanks for the book recommendations. I'll check them out!

  6. As long as I can remember I have always been interested in reading everything I can about the civil war. I can't wrap my mind around this horrific time in America.
    How could something this horrible happen in our country. Especially the cruelty involved with keeping slaves.
    I will have to see if I can find this book tonight on my nook.
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  7. Interesting blog. I enjoyed your book reviews...:)

  8. This sounds really interesting. I do love historical fiction. It's been such a long time since I've read Little Women.


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