Little Women is the first novel by Louisa May Alcott, written in 1868, and the first of the Little Women series. The story involves the four March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, their mother, Marmee, their neighbour, Laurie and his tutor, Mr Brooke, and is set at the time of the Civil War. Their father, Mr March, is away ministering at the war and his absence looms large for the family, whose circumstances are much reduced due to an unwise investment some years ago. Mrs March works dispensing charity to the poor and those affected by the war and does her best to hold together her family; sixteen-year-old Meg, who remembers how is was when they were better off and loves fine things, works as a governess, teaching the King girls; fifteen-year-old Jo, a budding writer, is employed as a companion for the formidable Aunt March; shy, thirteen-year-old Beth, the musical sister, helps at home while eleven-year-old wilful Amy, whose vocation is art, attends school. While the first chapter introduces a family that seem sickeningly good, each character soon enough becomes human, flawed and likeable for their individual faults and charms. As the war, penury and scarlet fever impact on their lives, each of the March girls has her own trials, faces challenges, learns lessons about vanity, selfishness, anger, change and love from the events of life and matures during the course of the twelve months over which the novel is set. The lessons may seem simplistic, but perhaps these were simpler times. After some time ago reading March, the excellent novel by Geraldine Brooks about the absent March father, I resolved to reread this novel. With only the vaguest of memories of the last reading, the plot and characters seemed relatively fresh. This very enjoyable and thought-provoking read now spurs me on to read Good Wives, and back to reread March.