Book Review: Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott

Rose Campbell, a thirteen year old orphan, arrives at her two great-aunts’ house after her father’s death. At first Rose is shy and convinced she has “no constitution.” This is due in no small part to the loving interference of three of her four (!) immediate Aunts: Jane, Clara, Myra, and Aunt Jessie, who is the only one of Rose’s four aunts with any sense at all.

You see, Aunt Jane is sure Rose is spoilt while Aunt Clara wants to make her the latest child fashion model of the day. (Pbbbhh!) And dear old Aunt Myra, who has zillions of physical complaints (and finds a new one every week), is sure Rose will die within a year.

Now enter Dr. Alec Campbell, Rose’s uncle. A physician who has traveled the world, Uncle Alec does not buy into any of the ladies’ ideas at all – with the exception of Aunt Jessie, who has more sensible notions than her sisters. Not long after he returns from his latest voyage, Uncle Alec convinces his three other sisters to let him have his way with Rose for a year. If she does not improve, then he will hand her off to one of them. If she does improve – well, then, all’s well that ends well!!

During her year under Uncle Alec’s care, Rose absolutely thrives. A great part of this is due not only to her uncle but to her cousins, all of whom are boys. Rose soon befriends and learns to love her seven boisterous relations: Archie, the oldest and leader of the “Clan” as they call themselves; “Prince” Charlie, the best looking lad of the group; bookish Mac, known as the “worm” for his love of tomes; “Brats” Will and Geordie, the hooligans of the gang; and little Jamie, the six year old tag-along.

I have the greatest respect for Louisa May Alcott, the author of Eight Cousins. Though I have not managed to read Little Women all the way through, I have seen the film once or twice, and enjoyed it immensely. Thus Eight Cousins appealed to me in part because I knew the author and respected her.

But more importantly, Eight Cousins was recommended to me a while ago. This is the first chance I have had to read it – mainly because I saw it in a store, said, “Aha!” and grabbed it! So, to the friend who told me to sit down and read Eight Cousins, I can say that I enjoyed the book immensely!

Until next time!

The Mithril Guardian


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