Synopses & Reviews
As the North reels under a series of unexpected defeats during the dark first year of the war, one man leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. Riveting and elegant as it is meticulously researched, March
is an extraordinary novel woven out of the lore of American history.
From Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has taken the character of the absent father, March, who has gone off to war, leaving his wife and daughters to make do in mean times. To evoke him, Brooks turned to the journals and letters of Bronson Alcott, Louisa May's father a friend and confidant of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. In her telling, March emerges as an idealistic chaplain in the little known backwaters of a war that will test his faith in himself and in the Union cause as he learns that his side, too, is capable of acts of barbarism and racism. As he recovers from a near mortal illness, he must reassemble his shattered mind and body and find a way to reconnect with a wife and daughters who have no idea of the ordeals he has been through.
Spanning the vibrant intellectual world of Concord and the sensuous antebellum South, March adds adult resonance to Alcott's optimistic children's tale to portray the moral complexity of war, and a marriage tested by the demands of extreme idealism and by a dangerous and illicit attraction. A lustily written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks's place as an internationally renowned author of historical fiction.
"Brooks's luminous second novel, after 2001's acclaimed Year of Wonders, imagines the Civil War experiences of Mr. March, the absent father in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. An idealistic Concord cleric, March becomes a Union chaplain and later finds himself assigned to be a teacher on a cotton plantation that employs freed slaves, or 'contraband.' His narrative begins with cheerful letters home, but March gradually reveals to the reader what he does not to his family: the cruelty and racism of Northern and Southern soldiers, the violence and suffering he is powerless to prevent and his reunion with Grace, a beautiful, educated slave whom he met years earlier as a Connecticut peddler to the plantations. In between, we learn of March's earlier life: his whirlwind courtship of quick-tempered Marmee, his friendship with Emerson and Thoreau and the surprising cause of his family's genteel poverty. When a Confederate attack on the contraband farm lands March in a Washington hospital, sick with fever and guilt, the first-person narrative switches to Marmee, who describes a different version of the years past and an agonized reaction to the truth she uncovers about her husband's life. Brooks, who based the character of March on Alcott's transcendentalist father, Bronson, relies heavily on primary sources for both the Concord and wartime scenes; her characters speak with a convincing 19th-century formality, yet the narrative is always accessible. Through the shattered dreamer March, the passion and rage of Marmee and a host of achingly human minor characters, Brooks's affecting, beautifully written novel drives home the intimate horrors and ironies of the Civil War and the difficulty of living honestly with the knowledge of human suffering. Agent, Kris Dahl. 10-city author tour. (Mar. 7)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Brooks's narrative is remarkably tight. Whereas much literary fiction wallows in digression, here every scrap of information propels the story forward. Her references to Little Women will evoke for quantities of her readers a beloved companion of girlhood." Christina Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly
"In the formal, delicate cadences of 19th century syntax, Brooks's second novel synthesizes a taut plot, vivid characters and provocative issues....March is a beautifully wrought story...a moving and inspirational tour de force." Heller McAlpin, Los Angeles Times
"One of the most superbly rendered works of historical fiction... It's lively history, the sort that jumps off the page and won't let you go. Brooks' talent lies in her ability to bring life and personality to history." Catherine Parnell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"This richness, of time and place and of March's unrelenting struggle to live up to the man he thinks he should be, makes March a spell-binder....It is the feeling that the reader is witness to truth that elevates March beyond a gimmick to an engrossing, thought-provoking tale." Robin Vidimos, Denver Post
"Good books can be slotted, characterized, explained; great books often cannot. I believe Geraldine Brooks' new novel, March, is a very great book....It breathes new life into the historical fiction genre, the borrowing-a-character-from-the-deep-past phenomenon, the old I-shall-tell-you-a-story-through-letters tradition." Beth Kephart, Chicago Tribune
"Brooks has written a gripping story of an impossible time, and simultaneously a neat deconstruction and reconstruction of one of American literature's best-known families." Maya Muir, Portland Oregonian
From the author of the international bestseller Year of Wonders comes a powerful love story set against the catastrophe of the Civil War. From Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic Little Women, Brooks has taken the character of the absent father, March, and adds adult resonance to portray the moral complexity of war and a marriage tested by the demands of extreme idealism.
From Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has animated the character of the absent father, March, and crafted a story "filled with the ache of love and marriage and with the power of war upon the mind and heart of one unforgettable man" (Sue Monk Kidd). With"pitch-perfect writing" (USA Today), Brooks follows March as he leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks’s place as a renowned author of historical fiction.
New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini is back with another enthralling historical novel set during the Civil War era, this time inspired by the life of a true Union woman as true as steel” who risked everything by caring for Union prisoners of war and stealing Confederate secrets.
Born to slave-holding aristocracy in Richmond, Virginia, and educated by Northern Quakers, Elizabeth Van Lew was a paradox of her time. When her native state seceded in April 1861, Van Lews convictions compelled her to defy the new Confederate regime. Pledging her loyalty to the Lincoln White House, her courage would never waver, even as her wartime actions threatened not only her reputation, but also her life.
Van Lews skills in gathering military intelligence were unparalleled. She helped to construct the Richmond Underground and orchestrated escapes from the infamous Confederate Libby Prison under the guise of humanitarian aid. Her spy rings reach was vast, from clerks in the Confederate War and Navy Departments to the very home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
Although Van Lew was inducted posthumously into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame, the astonishing scope of her achievements has never been widely known. In Chiaverinis riveting tale of high-stakes espionage, a great heroine of the Civil War finally gets her due.
A rich and utterly absorbing novel about the life of King David, from the Pulitzer Prizewinning author of People of the Book and March
With more than two million copies of her novels sold, New York Times bestselling author Geraldine Brooks has achieved both popular and critical acclaim. Now, Brooks takes on one of literatures richest and most enigmatic figures: a man who shimmers between history and legend. Peeling away the myth to bring David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.
The Secret Chord provides new context for some of the best-known episodes of Davids life while also focusing on others, even more remarkable and emotionally intense, that have been neglected. We see David through the eyes of those who love him or fear himfrom the prophet Natan, voice of his conscience, to his wives Mikal, Avigail, and Batsheva, and finally to Solomon, the late-born son who redeems his Lear-like old age. Brooks has an uncanny ability to hear and transform characters from history, and this beautifully written, unvarnished saga of faith, desire, family, ambition, betrayal, and power will enthrall her many fans.
About the Author
is the author of four novels, the Pulitzer Prizewinning March
and the international bestsellers Calebs Crossing
, People of the Book
, and Year of Wonders
. She has also written the acclaimed nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire
and Foreign Correspondence
. Her most recent novel, Calebs Crossing
, was the winner of the New England Book Award for Fiction and the Christianity Today
Book Award, and was a finalist for the Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction. Born and raised in Australia, she lives on Marthas Vineyard with her husband, the author Tony Horwitz.