Rose in Bloom

Rating: +

Louisa May Alcott

Rose in Bloom is probably my favorite book by Louisa May Alcott. It is the sequel to Eight Cousins. I also liked Eight Cousins quite a lot and recommend it, but I liked it's sequel even more. However, before I go any further, I should mention that I first read these books in junior high and they really resonated with me at the time, so part of the enjoyment I have in them is from my memories of the books.

That said, Rose in Bloom is about Rose, who was introduced in Eight Cousins, her friend Phoebe and the eight male cousins that make up her family. Rose is about 18 years old in this book and has just returned from traveling around the world with her uncle and becoming educated. In the book she learns how to apply her intellectual education to her actual life, figuring out to what degree she wants to take part in "society", how she wants to manage her fortune, and whether she wants to marry, and if so, who. As a contrast, we see Phoebe making many of the same choices, but from the perspective of a young woman who has been educated but doesn't have any family or fortune to rely on. The cousins have also grown up (mostly) and are used to show examples of the various paths that people take in growing up.

When you come down to it, the book is really a story about making mature, responsible life choices, even if that isn't the easiest or most enjoyable thing to do. Like much of Alcott's books, the morals can be given with a bit too heavy a hand and even the evils people sink to are pretty innocent. But I love the book - it's one of my ultimate comfort books and is great escapist reading. I give it a '+'.


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