rating: 3 of 5 stars
I read this as a class assignment.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the novel, largely because its been a long time since I've read anything Civil War related, and it takes me back. It's a quick read and brings the reader in close contact with areas rarely traversed in contemporary fiction (and certainly of 19th century fiction).
However, I just can't come around to appreciating it as a parallel novel to Little Women. It feels too much like revisionist fiction: re-framing the events in a 150 year old novel in order to prove a contemporary point. I'd rather read a well written novel about a Civil War chaplain as an independent story instead of having new contexts inserted into Lousia May Alcott's story. I enjoyed the interpolation even less due to the autobiographical nature of Alcott's novel. The reality-stretching involving the Alcott families' relationship with Emerson, Thoreau and the rest of the Concord Transcendental gang feels beyond mushy. The blending of reality, 19th century novel and contemporary historical fiction just kind of feels like cheating.
But if you ignore the whole "Little Women" aspect, its a decent read.
View all my reviews.