Plus, why we’re still reading about the March family all these years later

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There's a new book arriving in bookshops everywhere, and it reveals the history of a story we know well. The book is Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters, and it unfolds the story behind the much-loved novel, as well as the resonances it has had—and continues to have—in the centuries since it was first published. Its author is Anne Boyd Rioux, Professor of English at the University of New Orleans and the author of Constance Fenimore Woolson: Portrait of a Lady Novelist.

According to W.W. Norton, “In Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, Rioux recounts how Louisa May Alcott came to write Little Women, drawing inspiration for it from her own life. Rioux also examines why this tale of family and community ties, set while the Civil War tore America apart, has resonated through later wars, the Depression, and times of changing opportunities for women.” Not only does the book explore the life of Louisa May Alcott and the circumstances surrounding the writing of Little Women, but it also examines why the classic’s readership is still strong and why we continue to find the story of the March family so compelling all these years later. Sisterhood, independence, family ties, growing up, meeting challenges, and making the best of stark situations—the themes that fill Little Women continue to capture our imaginations.

You can read an excerpt of the book at LitHub, and you can find listings for purchase at Indiebound and Amazon. If you want more Little Women in your life, check out the new miniseries and the 1994 film, and re-read the novel that started it all. Think you’re already a superfan? Test your knowledge with some of our favorite quotations from the book.

WATCH: 'Little Women' Quotations All True Fans Know and Love

Are you curious about the origins of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved novel? Let us know if you read the book and what you learn from it.