Geraldine Brook's second novel is in every important way less accomplished than her first, Year of Wonders (2001). That book, which dealt with the assaults of plague on a 17th-century English village, derived some of its power from the way its resourceful heroine came to suspect the biological essence of the calamity she was up against: ''Perhaps the Plague was neither of God nor the Devil, but simply a thing in Nature, as the stone on which we stub a toe.'' Fearlessness—and experimentation with herbs—saw her through and won a reader's respect. In March, the ferocious nemeses conjured by Brooks are war and slavery, which, unlike impersonal disease, end up prompting the author and her characters toward a prolonged moral exhibitionism.
Thomas Mallon - New York Times
Brooks has taken a chance in evoking it so strongly at the end, but the chance pays off beautifully. March is an altogether successful book, casting a spell that lasts much longer than the reading of it.
Karen Joy Fowler - Washington Post
Brooks's luminous second novel...imagines the Civil War experiences of Mr. March, the absent father in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.... Through the shattered dreamer March [and] the passion and rage of Marmee...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.
(The audio version.) Brooks creates a picture of [March's] struggle with his not-so-perfect life during his tour of duty as a chaplain on the Civil War battlefields of Virginia. What emerges is the complex conflict of a man of principle who must adjust to fit the reality he encounters.... The author's extensive research provides the details of time and place that make this tale so compelling. —Joanna M. Burkhardt, Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Univ. of Rhode Island, Providence
Brooks combines her penchant for historical fiction (Year of Wonders, 2001, etc.) with the literary-reinvention genre as she imagines the Civil War from the viewpoint of Little Women's Mr. March (a stand-in for Bronson Alcott).... The battle scenes are riveting, the human drama flat.
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