The four March sisters and their mother, whom they call "Marmee", live in New England during the Civil War. Mr. March is a chaplain in the Union Army and rarely at home. The March girls suffer many privations because of the war and their poverty, but contrive to be happy by performing charitable services for neighbors, staging home theatricals, and attending parties. Theodore "Laurie" Laurence III, the grandson of Mr. Laurence, their wealthy next-door neighbor, makes their acquaintance and falls in love with Jo, the tomboy of the March family. Meg is the eldest, a governess who wishes she were rich. Beth is Jo's pet; she is shy, quiet, and very musical. All she ever wants is to be at home. Amy is the youngest, a selfish, pretty little artist who often fights with Jo. At the end of the first part of Little Women, Meg is engaged to Laurie's tutor John Brooke; Beth has recovered from a terrible illness she contracted from helping a poor, starving family; Jo wants to write a great novel; and Amy is growing less selfish and more womanly every day. In addition, their father has come home from war. At the beginning of Good Wives, Meg and John are getting married. They have twins, a boy and a girl named Daisy and Demi. Daisy is very sweet and loving, while Demi is mischievous and curious about everything. Laurie graduates from college and proposes to Jo. However, she doesn't want to marry him; he has always been just a brother to her. He goes to Europe to get over his failed proposal. Amy is already there; her aunt sponsored the trip and is taking care of her as she tours all over. Jo goes to New York to try to make something of herself, but she realizes that her writing dreams might be unattainable. But she does make a very good friend: Professor Friedrich Bhaer, who tutors in the house she stays in. Meanwhile, Beth's illness comes back and she eventually dies, leaving a very lonely Jo behind. Amy is still in Europe when Beth dies. She is all alone in a foreign land until Laurie comes to her; they spend months together and a love blossoms. They marry and have one daughter, Bess. Professor Bhaer comes to visit the March family and proposes to Jo, who accepts. They marry and open a boys' school (as well as having two boys of their own, Rob & Teddy) and their story continues in the sequel Little Men and Jo's Boys. The book closes with the whole family together in Jo's apple orchard, reflecting on their lives & how they each have everything they need.