When Mr March, abolitionist and the father of Louisa May Alcott’s four Little Women, volunteers to serve as a chaplain in the American Civil War, he doesn’t know that the upcoming months will be different from what he expects. Following an incident involving a black woman, March is transferred south to Oak Landing, a cotton plantation, where it is his task to establish a school for the workers’ children. Even though slavery has been abolished in the area it is still in people’s minds, which March only starts to realize when he sets foot on Oak Landing.
Geraldine Brooks crafted Mr March after Louisa May Alcott’s father Bronson Alcott and used his 61 journals and 37 manuscript volumes full of letters as an inspiration. So when Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau pop up as friends of the family in March, the author is really talking about the two transcendentalists.
While March is well-researched, the storyline is nothing special. Frankly speaking, I’m having problems thinking of something to write about March that stands out, may it be positive or negative, but nothing really comes to mind. This novel is a solid work of historical fiction that will keep you entertained, so if that is all you want, go for it! It might even do more for you.
¹ This is the latest edition.