Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra

Meg and Jo
Good Day!  I want to share some of today's new book releases with you.  They include Thin Ice by Paige Shelton, Holiday Homecoming Secrets by Lynette Eason, Have a Deadly New Year by Lynn Cahoon, Murder, She Encountered by Peg Cochran, The Shop Girls of Harpers by Rosie Clarke, The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen, Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra and Trace of Evil by Alice Blanchard*.  There is a nice variety so there is something for every reader.  I am featuring Virginia Kantra today.  Virginia is a New York Times bestselling author who has written over twenty novels.  She is married to her college sweetheart who owns a coffee shop.  He keeps Virginia supplied with caffeine and material.  They live in North Carolina where they raised three children.  Virginia is a firm believer in the strength of family, the importance of storytelling and the power of love.  Virginia's favorite thing to make for dinner is reservations. You can find a list of books on her author page on Amazon.  You can find out more about Virginia plus sign up for her newsletter by visiting her website.  Readers can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The book that started my love for reading and is, therefore, my favorite book of all time.
Meg and Jo by Virginia Kantra is a contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Little Women.  The March sisters are grown up and they are each trying to achieve their dreams.  Jo March is living in New York City where after being laid off from the newspaper, she started the food blog, Hungry.  Jo does not use her name on the blog because she works at Gusto with Chef Eric Bhaer as a prep cook. Chef Bhaer has a low opinion of food bloggers but that does not stop Jo from being attracted to the handsome and kind chef.  Meg is married to John and they have twins, DJ and Daisy.  John quit teaching to take a higher paying position at Mr. Laurence’s car dealership which allowed Meg to stay home with the kids.  Meg has everything she has always dreamed of, but she is not happy.  Abby March, their mother, needs surgery and someone is needed to keep the farm running in her absence.  Meg is the only daughter who lives in Bunyan, North Carolina so the burden falls on her.  Circumstances send Jo home where she takes the time to contemplate her future.  The sisters will need each other is they are to survive this tough time and move forward to a brighter future.
Jo Seated on the Old Sofa by                                                       ....Norman Rockwell
Meg and Jo by Virginia Kantra is a modern reimagining of Little Women by Louisa M. AlcottLittle Women is my absolute favorite book which is why I was curious about Meg and Jo.  I wanted to see how an author would modernize this treasured classic.  Let me state that this was a mistake on my part.  I wish I had looked up the author and noticed that she writes romance novels.  This book focuses on Meg and Jo.  It is told from their perspectives in alternating chapters.  Jo still wishes to write, but newspapers are letting staff go.  For some reason, Jo was hired at Gusto by Chef Eric Bhaer to work as a prep cook.  I found this particularly odd since Jo disliked the domestic arts.  Jo has a blog titled Hungry which provides an insider’s view of the city’s food scene.  She does it anonymously which Jo is glad she did after hearing what Chef Bhaer thinks about food bloggers.  There is an attraction between Jo and the chef which develops into something more until complications arise.  Meg is married to John Brooke and they have very busy twins.  Meg quit her job as a loan officer to be a stay at home mom at John’s urging because his mother worked two jobs and was never at home for him.  While Meg loves John and the twins, she is dissatisfied with her life.  Meg comes across as whiny (it is unattractive).  She likes things done a certain way, so she does it all herself but then complains that she does not get help from hubby. Meg makes some poor choices.  I did not like how Meg was portrayed at all.  The story is set in Bunyan, North Carolina so there are stereotypical Southernisms in the story (“Bless her heart” was a repeated phrase).  I especially disliked how Mr. March was portrayed in this book.  It was unappealing and disappointing.  Abby March, the mother, is one who does not like fuss (as we are told repeatedly).  I missed the warm, loving Marmee from Little Women.   Beth is a singer who performs in front of audiences at Branson (can anyone see the shy Beth doing this) and Amy is an intern at Louis Vuitton in Paris (I could see Amy doing this).  Laurie is called Trey in this version and let me just say he is nothing like the kind boy next door from the original.  Meg and Jo comes across as a typical romance novel.  It lacks the warmth of family, sisterly bonding, love, and compassion that was present in the original Little Women.  The author was brave to tackle such a difficult project, but I feel she missed the mark.  There is a preview of Amy & Beth at the end.  
Book of the Week; Louis May Alcott's Little Women Illustrated by Rene Cloke www.marchhousebooks.com
Meg & Jo is available through Amazon* (Amazon UK) as well as other major booksellers (Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks).  While it did not appeal to me, I recommend you obtain a sample to see if it is the right fit for you.  I will return tomorrow with my review of Have a Deadly New Year by Lynn Cahoon.  It is the fourth A Farm-to-Fork Mystery.  I am off to the grocery store.  I hope that have a special day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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