Friday 21 October 2011

The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly

As a rule, I don't read much chick lit.  But when I heard about Gabrielle Donnelly's The Little Women Letters, based on the idea of descendants of the March sisters, I knew I would have to read it.  And as a fun, cosy, cold night read it didn't disappoint.

Emma, Lulu and Sophie Atwater are three sisters living in modern London.  Emma is getting married, Sophie is trying to become an actress and middle-sister Lulu is just trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life.  When Lulu finds a stash of letters written by her Great-Great-Great-Grandmother Jo in the loft, she finds that Jo's story and the story of all the March girls has surprising relevance to all of their lives.

Where I felt that this book excelled was the portrayal of the relationships between the female characters, and especially between the sisters. I have an older sister I am very close too and I thought that Donnelly did a great job of portraying how close that relationship can be and how your sister can annoy you more than anyone else!  The mother-daughter relationships were well written too.

Contrastingly, a lot of the male characters fell a bit flat.  The Dad was one-dimensional and reduced to a few jokes about secretly yearning for a more traditional woman.  Emma's fiance was too nice.  Sophie's best friend Jamie was the stereotype long suffering best friend.  Compared to the female characters, there was no real character development; I know this is chick lit, but I do like strong male characters too.

As with a lot of chick lit, everything was tied up neatly at the end, and to be honest it was a bit too neat for me.  Characters were introduced simply to make other characters happy, something that wouldn't happen in real life.  Everyone was happy.  Now that's nice to read about every now and again, but overall I prefer chick lit written by the likes of Marian Keyes, where there is just a touch more grit.

All of this is not to say that I didn't enjoy this book.  I did.  It was a cute, fun read that I enjoyed picking up after a long day.  And the idea of being descended from Jo March is undeniably cool.

Verdict: Chick lit that does what it says on the tin.
Source: Library
Score: 3 out of 5


  1. A new one for me! nice for a rainy day.

  2. I added a link to your review at my Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon:

    You're invited to come by any Saturday and link to your latest book reviews.

  3. Lovely review for what sounds a delightful read. I don't mind to read chick lit or romances. They are my escape from dull/complex reality from time to time. Glad you weren't disappointed, Sam! Have a nice Sunday.MG

  4. Mystica, it's a perfect rainy day read :)

    Sherry, thanks for linking me - I'm now following your blog through google reader and I'll be back next Sat to look at all the lovely reviews!

    Maria, you've summed it up, I definitely needed an escape read when I read this one.