It's that time again. The time where I decide to revisit an old childhood favourite. I was going to do a post on my top 10 books of all time and picked up "Good Wives" to have a quick nostalgic look through, but instead found myself reading the whole thing. It's the sequel to "Little Women", and unlike most sequels, it more than lives up to its predecessor. Maybe I just like it for all the mushy love stuff, but it's probably my favourite book ever. That sounds like a big statement but I have read and re-read this book more than any other, and continue to find pleasure in every page. It sucks me in and each time, I get something different out of it.
Reading it again today as an adult (it's been years since my last read but feels like yesterday) made me endlessly weepy and I appreciated every character's story in a way I never bothered to before. Previously, my only interest was Amy and Laurie and their perfect love story. If you've only seen the movie, trust when I say it does not do them justice. I like when people have to grow to love each other, because it makes the subsequent union so much more pleasurable. See: Darcy and Elizabeth; Brian and Justin; Chuck and Blair. It's all there throughout history. Laurie and Amy particularly sweep me away - I've even dog-eared all the pages in the book where they appear together, not to mention when they are in the process of getting together.
Anyway. I want a Laurie. And I want to be Amy.
'There were plenty of pretty faces to admire, but the young man took little notice of them, except to glance, now and then, at some blonde girl, or lady in blue.'
"O Laurie, is it really you? I thought you'd never come!"
"Do you want to know what I honestly think of you?" "Pining to be told."
"Well, I despise you...with every chance for being good, useful and happy you are faulty, lazy and miserable." "Strong language, mademoiselle."
'She did not hear him cross the courtyard beyond, nor see him pause in the archway...He stood a minute, looked at her with new eyes, seeing what no-one had ever seen before - the tender side of Amy's character. Everything about her mutely suggested love and sorrow - the blotted letters in her lap [his letters], the black ribbon that tied up her hair, the womanly pain and patience in her face; even the little ebony cross at her throat seemed pathetic to Laurie, for he had given it to her, and she wore it as her only ornament.'
"O Laurie, Laurie, I knew you'd come to me!"
Laurie had "hardly any need of telling Amy that he loved her; she knew it without words, and had given him his answer long ago."
'With the dark head bent down protectingly over the light one, Amy felt that no-one could comfort and sustain her so well as Laurie, and Laurie decided that Amy was the only woman in the world who could fill Jo's place, and make him happy.'
An unconscious 'pretty little tableau of human love and happiness.'
May he present... "[his] wife" - two simple words which he pronounced with "an unconscious pride and satisfaction that betrayed him."
"Amy leaned against her husband...feeling that the welcome home was not quite perfect without Beth's kiss."
And then once I had my Laurie, I would set off on a European adventure to follow in my favourite lovers' footsteps...
"The fashionable world at Nice" where Laurie first ran into Amy abroad.
Vevay, where he came and searched for her after Beth died and he realised he loved her. Later, he proceeded to propose to her on a little rowboat, "I wish we might always pull in the same boat. Will you Amy?" "Yes, Laurie."
And of course we would promenade through some lovely European gardens and rolling countryside, just like the new couple who 'walked and talked, or rested on the wall, enjoying the sweet influences which gave such a charm to time and place.'