I first read Little Women several years ago and instantly fell in love with it (and it's never too late to fall in love with this book). Louisa May Alcott's story about four sisters and their lives was simple and beautiful, and even though it was written nearly 150 years ago, it's still so relatable. Who doesn't want to be as adventurous as Jo March, as kind as Beth, able to mature as well as Meg... And I won't say anything about Amy, because I, like so many Little Women fans, am not over the whole Laurie thing.
The Laurie business aside (I have a lot of thoughts on Jo and Laurie's romantic ending so it would be quite an essay), Little Women is truly one of those books that you can read again and again.
The only problem is, sometimes you don't want to read it for the hundredth time. Sometimes, you want to mix it up. But you don't want to mix it up too much... after all, Little Women has everything you want: romance, friendship, family, drama, coming of age, and more...
Luckily, there is another book with all of these themes just waiting for you to discover it. If you are a huge fan of Little Women, but you're ready to read something different, you need to read Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace. Here's why.
1. It Features Female Friendship
If your favorite part of Little Women is the friendships between the sisters, you'll love Betsy-Tacy, because it's all about female friendship. This book is the first in Maud Hart Lovelace's semi-autobiographical series about Betsy Ray, a young girl who wants to be a writer, and her best friend, Tacy Kelly. As the title suggests, the entire story revolves around the friendships between women.
2. It's Based On Lovelace's Life
Did I mention that the book is semi-autobiographical? Just as Little Women closely follows author Louisa May Alcott's life, Betsy-Tacy and the rest of the series is based on Maud Hart Lovelace's childhood.
3. It's Simple And Sweet
Part of what I love about Little Women is the simplicity of the book: it might be a tad didactic, but the book does inspire me to be a better person. Betsy-Tacy is the same. Betsy and Tacy deal with simple problems, but in such a sweet way that it will inspire you to emulate their kindness.
4. Betsy Ray Is A Lot Like Jo March
Betsy Ray is a spirited heroine who wants to be a writer. Sound familiar?? Growing up, I was obsessed with Betsy because she had a special writing nook in a tree. I think Jo March would approve.
5. It's Set In A Similar Time Period
Little Women was published in 1868. Though Betsy-Tacy was published in 1940, it is actually set in 1898, just thirty years after Little Women. So if that time period is your thing... you might like Lovelace's series.
6. It's A Coming Of Age Story
Little Women is a classic bildungsroman... and so is Betsy-Tacy. In fact, the series follows Betsy all the way into adulthood, just as Little Women and Alcott's other books follow the March sisters into adulthood. And if you're saying right now that I'm cheating by listing an entire series as one book, all I have to say is that Little Women is actually two volumes, so I'm allowing it. Plus, if you love Betsy-Tacy, you won't have to worry about a book hangover... because you have the entire rest of the series to read.
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