I just finished March by Geraldine Brooks and it is going straight to my special bookshelf, where I’m sure it will stay for many moons to come. It is essentially a companion novel to Little Women, except rather than being about the girls, it tells the ‘untold’ story of their father, March, and his time in the American Civil War. Although that might not sound all that mind-blowing, trust me, it’s freaking amazing.
This had been on my shelf for a while – long before I started the lucky dip system – but I never felt overly compelled to pick it up. I have no idea why because I absolutely loved Little Women; I read it countless times. But what I loved about Little Women so much was the relationship between the sisters, not to mention how awesome I thought Jo was (I think she was the first female in literature that I idolised); a book about their dad just didn’t seem that appealing.
What an idiot. How could I have left a book that contains a passage like this on my shelf for so long:
“I realise that lust stands high in the list of deadly sins. And yet lust – the tightening throat, the flushed cheeks, the raging appetite – is the only word to accurately describe the sensation I felt that morning, as the painted door closed and I was left with the liberty of all those books…to know a man’s library is, in some measure, to know his mind.”
Seriously, anyone that can write about the feels they get around books in that way has got my vote.
Anyway, as I was saying, the book is great – probably the best book I’ve read this year (sorry Luminaries). As always, Brooks’s writing is spot on. She is a total boss at creating believable and interesting characters, placing them in unknown times and places (at least, unknown to me) and making the whole thing feel so real. If you like historical fiction (or even if you don’t) and you haven’t read anything by Geraldine Brooks, stop what you are doing right now and read something, anything, of hers. She’s amazing.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) for me, I’ve read everything she’s written, so I’m consoling myself by rereading Little Women. The interesting thing about that is, now that I know what happened with Mr March, the book has all this added context so it almost feels like I’m reading it again for the first time. Now, I just need Brooks to write a companion novel to Pride and Prej so I can relive all those feelings again…