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Book Review: Rose in Bloom

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Summary (from Goodreads): In this sequel to Eight Cousins, Rose Campbell returns to the "Aunt Hill" after two years of traveling around the world. Suddenly, she is surrounded by male admirers, all expecting her to marry them. But before she marries anyone, Rose is determined to establish herself as an independent young woman. Besides, she suspects that some of her friends like her more for her money than for herself.
 
I read this for the 14th Classics Club Spin. It was my third time participating, and the first that I actually completed my book on time. I'd been meaning to read this for quite some time - since I read Eight Cousins in fact, which was more than three years ago! Because of this I found the beginning part of the book a little confusing as it took me a while to remember who everyone was and so on. But that was more a fault of mine than of the book, and once I got going, I really enjoyed this, more so than Eight Cousins.
 
I thought it was a sweet story. The main question of the story of course is who Rose (and Phebe) will marry but there are other things going on too, as Rose and her cousins mature and try to find their paths and vocations in life. I definitely enjoyed getting to know these characters more and, although I liked some of them a lot more than others, they were all well-drawn and interesting characters. There were one or two pretty sad parts, but the ending was happy and satisfying.

Despite the author's preface claiming that there was no moral to the story, there did seem to be a fair amount of moralising in it, but this was generally coming from the characters rather than the authorial voice, and is part of what is expected from this sort of novel. I didn't find it detracted from the story for me.
 
Overall, I did enjoy this book a lot. It wasn't quite up there with Little Women, but that would have been a hard one to match! I would definitely recommend this, especially if you've enjoyed some of Louisa May Alcott's other books, but I would suggest reading Eight Cousins first.

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