Saturday, March 2, 2013
My thoughts on "A Rose in Bloom"
A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across Louisa May Alcott's 'A Rose in Bloom' which is the sequel to 'Eight Cousins.' You do not have to read 'Eight Cousins' before you read a 'Rose in Bloom;' I didn't (and still haven't but I am planning on reading it soon.)
One thing I remember doing almost every time a finished reading this before bed was smiling. It is just one of those books that make you happy. Now, this is not to say it doesn't have its trials, hardships, deaths and disappointments. This is to say that through it all you saw a delightful view of life.
The story is centered around Rose. She is the only girl cousin and she is coming back from her trip to Europe. She is an heiress who is set to inherit a good fortune. She seems to have left at that crucial time when the girl is growing into a woman. She is disappointed by all the young men who seem interested in her only for her fortune. She has many hopes and plans to fulfill before she gets married, though.
A love interest starts quickly after this. The family is adamant about having her marry one of the cousins. This leads to some very tricky snarls indeed. Charlie, a.k.a Prince (short for Prince Charming as he is called by the girls) seems to be the one. He is not perfect, but Rose believes he is made of good stuff and that with a woman's proper guidance he could grow into a great man.
*SPOILER* To give him credit, he does try. However, Charlie is has been indulged too often, and when the temptation becomes too much he succumbs to his old habits. That is all I shall divulge.*END OF SPOILER*
Watching all of the characters grow into who they were to be was delightful. Seeing how their relationships, ideals, personalities, and opinions grew and developed was interesting to see. Alcott is one of those delightful authors who could have no major climax, but see the interest and beauty in everyday life.
There were some wonderful couples. I never especially liked Charlie, thinking him a "dandy." He seemed shallow and superficial... and perhaps, at first, he was. As the story progressed, though I was delighted to witness a change in him, a real desire to become a better person. *Another SPOILER* I was truly sad when he had his accident and died. It was quite surprising, as he seemed to be improving so much! I can not blame him or be terribly mad for his little relapse. I was only disappointed in him. *END OF SPOILER*
Mac was my favorite (boy) cousin from the first. His bookish ways and shy but eager outlook on life drew me in from the beginning. I knew he and Rose didn't think of each other in "that way," but I thought it would be lovely if it could progress and turn into something by and by. *EVEN MORE SPOILERS* It did, and I was very happy indeed. Rose's reaction was surprising, but I understood. (I was disappointed, but I understood.) Mac is everything a lover should be. He is kind and true, putting his love's comforts in front of his own, not declaring himself because HE wishes it and does not care for Rose's thoughts or feelings on the subject. He takes it quite calmly on her first rejection. He is a gentleman and works to improve himself "to deserve her." He does not bring the subject up again, but you can see the love in his eyes, and feel his love for her when they are together. *END OF SPOILER*
Another couple I was pleased about were Archie and Phebe. Phebe is Rose's friend and companion. I believe she was a servant in the first book. She is pretty and talented, having practiced music abroad. She is kind and unassuming, and when Archie loved her from the first I was quite pleased. Archie was smart and well-to-do, with a good head on his shoulders. He truly loved Phebe. Phebe loved him too, though at first I thought she was rather cold. You find later though that she didn't want to make trouble in the family, as she was "beneath" him, and she thought he deserves better. My heart broke when she went away, but I understood why she thought she had to go. I, like Rose, completely understand her thinking. I also loved the scene where Phebe sings at the children's charity concert. You just have to read it.
Uncle Alec was the most amazing father figure for Rose! I love him so much! I hold the same views as Rose, when she says she hopes to find someone like Uncle Alec when she gets married. I couldn't agree more. He has a more modern view on women than the rest of the family, thank goodness. He believes exercise, wholesome food, and a full education are what a girl needs. He believes parties, balls, and gossip can ruin a girl and muddle her head, which seemed to be true.
The characters are all fascinating, good or bad, and the moral and feeling in the story is wonderful. I can't understand how this book is not more well known. It's at least as good as 'Little Women.' Actually, there are several books of hers that I believe deserve more recognition. *cough cough* 'An Old-Fashioned Girl.' I highly recommend it, and it's a lovely feel good story. It's also a fairly good sized tome, 336 pages. I hope you enjoyed the review, and possibly some of you may feel the urge to read it? Because that's all I hope for. :) Until next time. -The Madd Rose (and this is a little random, but I was looking over this post and it doesn't have many pictures, but there's no movie for this book, so pictures are hard to find. next post will have a lot to make up for it.)