Meg & Jo
by Virginia Kantra
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Reviewed by PJ
The timeless classic Little Women inspired this heartwarming modern tale of four sisters from New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra.
The March sisters—reliable Meg, independent Jo, stylish Amy, and shy Beth—have grown up to pursue their separate dreams. When Jo followed her ambitions to New York City, she never thought her career in journalism would come crashing down, leaving her struggling to stay afloat in a gig economy as a prep cook and secret food blogger.
Meg appears to have the life she always planned—the handsome husband, the adorable toddlers, the house in a charming subdivision. But sometimes getting everything you’ve ever wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
When their mother’s illness forces the sisters home to North Carolina for the holidays, they’ll rediscover what really matters.
One thing’s for sure—they’ll need the strength of family and the power of sisterhood to remake their lives and reimagine their dreams.
I've been a fan of Virginia Kantra's writing for years, following her from romantic suspense, to paranormal romance, to contemporary romance, and, now, to women's fiction. In all those years, through all those books, she's never failed to engage my emotions, fully immerse me in the worlds of her imagination, and leave me happily craving her next book. Such is the case with her newest novel, Meg & Jo.
Inspired by Louisa May Alcott's Little Women (inspired, not a re-telling), Meg & Jo begins the journey of four present-day March sisters from North Carolina. Fans of the original will see nods to Alcott's characters in the modern-day sisters, as well as some secondary characters, but while Kantra's love of the original is apparent, her Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are very much modern women of their own making and Meg & Jo, a story of Kantra's creation that I thoroughly enjoyed. Also, for the romance readers among us, fear not. Meg's and Jo's love lives are very much a part of this book and happy endings are assured.
Whether you have sisters or not, I think we can all relate to the sometimes messy and complicated relationships that are part and parcel of families and how those relationships mold and change us as we go through life. Told by Jo and Meg, in alternating chapters, Kantra skillfully unveils the dynamics of the March family's past, present, and future while guiding the two oldest sisters through their own trials of life. The revelations are emotional, sometimes painful, but remind us that change can be good, can be empowering, can strengthen not only us but our relationships as well. Once again, Kantra fully immersed me in the lives of her characters, giving me a stake in their happiness. I celebrated their triumphs, shared their fears, fell in love with Meg's and Jo's heroes (both of them, for different reasons), and fell in love with this family. For all its dysfunctional parts, all the complicated, competitive relationships, in the end, these people, these sisters, are family and while their bonds of love may be tested, while they may bend and stretch, they never break.
Beth and Amy are next to have their stories told and I cannot wait to discover what Kantra has in store for them. I mean, how could I not be excited about a story that begins with this line: "It's always a mistake to sleep with a man who's in love with your sister."
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Virginia Kantra at a romance conference and have enjoyed visiting with her at subsequent conferences since then. She's somewhat of a local author for me (three hours is local, right?) so earlier this week, I made the drive to Raleigh to attend her launch party for Meg & Jo. What a wonderful evening! Quail Ridge Books hosted the launch, more than 40 people attended, I enjoyed meeting readers of all types, and copies of Meg & Jo sold out...but not before I nabbed a copy for me...and one for one of you! But first, here are a few photos from the Meg & Jo launch.
Virginia, sharing her love of Louisa May Alcott and her reasons for paying homage to Little Women with her contemporary novel, Meg & Jo.
She not only writes books, she bakes cookies too. Aren't those book cookies awesome?
Virginia's very own hero (her husband) kept us entertained and well fed (isn't that a fabulous cake?). The champagne was delicious and put to good use when Virginia invited all of us to join her in a toast to Louisa May Alcott.
PJ and Virginia. Happy to add another book to my Virginia Kantra keeper shelf. Also, had a blast at my very first book launch party!
If you're ever in the Raleigh area, check out Rosewater Kitchen & Bar. It's a warm and welcoming new restaurant in the North Hills area with a delicious menu, comfortable vibe, and impeccable service. Our server, Heather, effortlessly kept our post-launch group of eleven well-fed and happy. She's a server extraordinaire!
I have two giveaways today so tell me...
Have you read Little Women?
Which March sister was your favorite? Why?
Have you read any of Virginia Kantra's books?
Do you have a favorite book or series of hers?
Do you have sisters?
Giveaway #1: One randomly chosen person who comments before 11:00 PM, December 7, will receive a signed copy of Meg & Jo from me.
Giveaway #2: One randomly chosen person who comments before 11:00 PM, December 7, will receive a Meg & Jo mug from Virginia Kantra.
*Winners must be 18 or older.
*Open to U.S. addresses only.