About This Book:
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 Freedpeople’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 Contributed by Olivia Farr, Assistant Blog manager & Staff Reviewer*
As the book continues, each of the four sisters come into their own, finding their place in the world and who they want to be. The context of the book, the time period and starting location offer a unique perspective into American history, which is not often taught but was well-researched herein. A remix of the original, the personalities of the March girls were preserved, while offering new and deeper insights into their lives and the times of the Civil War.
There are many truly thought-provoking themes that would make this a great pick for a classroom or bookclub, especially when combined with history lessons. Abolitionists may be trying their best, but they often make decisions and give their thoughts as white people rather than asking the Black people around them for the truth of the matter. Jo writes to give voice to herself and those around her, but her writings are not appreciated or accepted by white people enough because of the stereotypes of what they believe she must sound like (ie, her tone and word choices seem educated). These prejudices and racisms are themes of the book, along with those of medical disparities, privilege, the enduring echoes of slavery, and, of course, the love of sisters.
Similar to the original, I loved the ultimate beauty of sisters and their love for each other that shines through the story. The personalities of each of the sisters and some key side characters is captured so well. I appreciated that this story is otherwise wholly its own, with an unpredictable plot and unique settings from the original. I particularly liked the changes around Amy, Lorie, and Beth, without giving details/spoilers. I really enjoyed the way the story all came together and found this to be a well-written historical read.
SO MANY BEGINNINGS is a compelling and well-researched remix of LITTLE WOMEN that I highly recommend.
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