2 reviews

March: A Novel
by Geraldine Brooks

Published: 2006-01-31
Paperback : 320 pages
33 members reading this now
42 clubs reading this now
24 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 2 members
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize--a powerful love story set against the backdrop of the Civil War, from the author of The Secret Chord.

From Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has animated the character of the absent father, March, and crafted a story "filled ...
Add to Club Selections
Add to Possible Club Selections
Add to My Personal Queue
List Price:
Amazon's Price:
You Save:
$6.38 (40%)
Jump to


Winner of the Pulitzer Prize--a powerful love story set against the backdrop of the Civil War, from the author of The Secret Chord.

From Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has animated the character of the absent father, March, and crafted a story "filled with the ache of love and marriage and with the power of war upon the mind and heart of one unforgettable man" (Sue Monk Kidd). With "pitch-perfect writing" (USA Today), Brooks follows March as he leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks's place as a renowned author of historical fiction.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.


chapter one

Virginia Is a Hard Road

October 21, 1861
This is what I write to her: The clouds tonight embossed the sky. A dipping sun gilded and brazed each raveling edge as if the firmament were threaded through with precious filaments. I pause there to mop my aching eye, which will not stop tearing. The line I have set down is, perhaps, on the florid side of fine, but no matter: she is a gentle critic. My hand, which I note is flecked with traces of dried phlegm, has the tremor of exhaustion. Forgive my unlovely script, for an army on the march provides no tranquil place for reflection and correspondence. (I hope my dear young author is finding time amid all her many good works to make some use of my little den, and that her friendly rats will not grudge a short absence from her accustomed aerie.) And yet to sit here under the shelter of a great tree as the men make their cook fires and banter together provides a measure of peace. I write on the lap desk that you and the girls so thoughtfully provided me, and though I spilled my store of ink you need not trouble to send more, as one of the men has shown me an ingenious receipt for a serviceable substitute made from the seasonís last blackberries. So am I able to send ìsweet wordsî to you! ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

From the Publisher:

1. Throughout the novel, March and Marmee, although devoted to one another, seem to misunderstand each other quite a bit and often do not tell each other the complete truth. Discuss examples of where this happens and how things may have turned out differently, for better or worse, had they been completely honest. Are there times when it is best not to tell our loved ones the truth?

2. The causes of the American Civil War were multiple and overlapping. What was your opinion of the war when you first came to the novel, and has it changed at all since reading March?

3. March's relationships with both Marmee and Grace are pivotal in his life. Discuss the differences between these two relationships and how they help to shape March, his worldview, and his future. What other people and events were pivotal in shaping March's beliefs?

4. Do you think it was the right decision for March to have supported, financially or morally, the northern abolitionist John Brown? Brown's tactics were controversial, but did the ends justify the means?

5. "If war can ever be said to be just, then this war is so; it is action for a moral cause, with the most rigorous of intellectual underpinnings. And yet everywhere I turn, I see injustice done in the waging of it," says March (p. 65). Do you think that March still believes the war is just by the end of the novel? Why or why not?

6. What is your opinion of March's enlisting? Should he have stayed home with his family? How do we decide when to put our principles ahead of our personal obligations?

7. When Marmee is speaking of her husband's enlisting in the army, she makes a very eloquent statement: "A sacrifice such as his is called noble by the world. But the world will not help me put back together what war has broken apart" (p. 210). Do her words have resonance in today's world? How are the people who fight our wars today perceived? Do you think we pay enough attention to the families of those in the military? Have our opinions been influenced at all by the inclusion of women in the military?

8. The war raged on for several years after March's return home. How do you imagine he spent those remaining years of the war? How do you think his relationship with Marmee changed? How might it have stayed the same?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

A suggestion for those reading March
by susanbonnet (see profile) 06/22/11
Three of our members chose to read little women first and were thrilled to re-discover the classic. March is a book detailing in fiction form what might have happened to the father of the Little Women.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "Storytelling"by mmcbride (see profile) 10/09/16

This book tells a personal story about an individual and those he meets during the time of the Civil War. An innovative look at the past and how lives might be shaped.

by mrsstarkent (see profile) 03/30/15

  "Did not keep my attention!"by vikkivaughn (see profile) 02/21/12

  "Enlightening and believable"by Paula_S (see profile) 01/07/12

Not a bad read. Characters were convincing and kept me interested throughout.

  "March"by vtreader (see profile) 10/20/11

I have enjoyed all that I have read of Geraldine Brooks and was excited to read this novel. While I would recommend it, this one was not my favorite. I liked the premise of telling the story behind Mr.... (read more)

  "Ugh!"by tallpony (see profile) 07/18/11

Again...I have now learned that I don't need to waste any more time with this author. Her writing is uninspired. There were no new insights into anything about the time period. Everything was predictable... (read more)

  "A Good Read"by susanbonnet (see profile) 06/22/11

  "March"by kkazonovitz (see profile) 02/16/11

  "March"by glkbob (see profile) 04/22/10

We thought it was slow, not much to keep you interested for very long. Most common statement was "so easy to put down, so hard to pick back up again"

  "March - read in March"by jpr1506 (see profile) 04/05/10

It took me a little while to get into the book (started it on a trip - maybe I was distracted). I learned a lot about the Civil War and slavery. Thought the notes at the end of the book were as interesting... (read more)

Rate this book
Remember me

Join the leading website for book clubs with over 35,000 clubs and 20,000 reading guides.



Get free weekly updates on top club picks, book giveaways, author events and more
Please wait...