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Louis May Alcott's Little Women is an American novel, set in a small town in New England at the time of the American Civil War. It's a charming book that tells the story of the four very different sisters: sensible Meg, funny Jo, vain Amy and gentle Beth.
Their father is away at war – as a Chaplain with the Union Army. The girls and their mother, Marmee, despite their money worries, work hard, make their own entertainment, and help others – all with good-humoured common sense.
Little Women has been a much-loved book for generations of readers because of its engaging narrative, sense of fun and appealing relatable characters. Jo March, with her tomboy attitude, and rebellious (but kind) nature is perhaps the most lovable of all.
The novel was published in 1868 and was very successful, with the reading public demanding a sequel. In the novel, Jo wants to be a writer and an independent woman. The girls make friends with the boy next door, Laurie, and he and Jo become especially close.
Little Women is a sentimental story but it also explores various themes from a female perspective, such as the importance of work, and the struggle between family duty and individual ambition, and gender stereotyping.
This edition of Little Women contains a retold novel, an introduction, notes on the author, notes on the period when the book is set, the book’s themes, a simple glossary, and a free CD (running time 2 hours). The book on the CD is read slowly and clearly to aid comprehension.