''Eight Cousins'' and its sequel, ''Rose in Bloom'', by Louisa May Alcott, author of the ''LittleWomen'' series, are the Victorian novel equivalent of a ReverseHarem manga. Rose Campbell, the recently orphaned heroine, comes to live with her Uncle Alec, six opinionated aunts, and seven handsome male cousins who flock around her "like bees to their queen".

The first book deals with Rose's first year among the family, as Alec puts her through a trial period to test his views on women's health and education (which were quite ahead of their time, by the way). The second book, where 20-year-old Rose returns from a trip to Europe, settles the question of what she will do with her inherited fortune, how to hold on to the good habits Alec has taught her in the shallow world of fashion, and most importantly -- for some readers, at least -- which cousin she will marry.
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!!Provides examples of:
* TheAlcoholic: Charlie in the second book, much to Rose's dismay.
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: Subverted. Rose is attracted to the idea of being Charlie's MoralityChain, but her common sense and Uncle Alec both warn her not to commit herself to a man she cannot trust. [[spoiler: Not to mention, Charlie actually dies later.]]
* BetaCouple: Phebe and Archie; Steve and Kitty.
* BigBrotherMentor: Archie. Rose becomes a big sister mentor to her female friends.
* CampStraight: Steve, who is more obsessed with fashion and cleanliness than Rose. He's also extremely happy and loyal to his girlfriend Kitty.
* TheCaretaker: Plenty to Peace and Myra; Rose to Mac (see {{Eye Scream}}); [[spoiler:Phebe to Alec, helping him through a potentially deadly fever, which wins her the approcal Archie's hand in marriage as soon as the family finds out]].
* CinderellaCircumstances: Phebe, Rose's maid, is an orphan from the workhouse who first becomes Rose's lady-in-waiting of sorts, and then Uncle Alec later launches into a successful singing career.
* DaddysGirl: Rose was this to her late father, George, and at the beginning of the first book she's still grieving very painfully for what appears to be his relatively recent loss. Over the course of the ensuing year, she grows to be this for Uncle Alec as well.
* DeadGuyJunior: Rose is named after her dead mother.
* DeathIsASadThing: [[spoiler:Aunt Peace]] dies between the two books, causing Rose's tour of Europe to be delayed for several months due to everyone's grief.
* DeathOfTheHypotenuse: [[spoiler:Charlie]] dies in a riding accident; subverted as [[spoiler:Rose and Mac]], the other sides of the "triangle", don't even like each other that way until years later.
* TheDitz: Kitty and Annabel.
** Aunt Clara is an older version, and at some point Uncle Alec isn't exactly kind about his thoughts on her flighty behavior
* DoggedNiceGuy: Mac, after Rose's initial rejection, remains on friendly terms with her and waits in case she changes her mind. [[spoiler: She does.]] This is placed in sharp contrast to Charlie, who flirts with her constantly and puts her under heavy pressure by begging her to "save" him from his own flaws.
* ExactWords: At the Christmas celebration, during a game of forfeits, Charlie dares Rose to take "old Mac" under the mistletoe and kiss him. She gets around kissing their cousin (whom everyone expects to object) by taking him literally and tugging Mac's father, her ''Uncle'' Mac, under the mistletoe instead.
* EyeScream: Mac almost loses his eyesight due to too much reading in the sun, and Rose takes care of him until he recovers.
* FiveManBand:
** TheHero: Archie ("The Chief")
** TheLancer: "Prince" Charlie
** TheBigGuy: "Cadets" Will and Geordie
** TheSmartGuy: Mackenzie aka Mac ("Bookworm" or "Worm")
** TheChick: Steve ("The Dandy")
** TagalongKid: Jamie ("The Baby")
* {{Foreshadowing}}: On Christmas in the first book, [[spoiler:Archie]] kisses [[spoiler:Phebe]] under the mistletoe
* FunnyForeigner: Fun See, a Chinese immigrant.
* HappilyMarried: Aunt Jessie and Uncle Jem, if their reunion on Christmas Day (their wedding anniversary) is any indication.
* HeartwarmingOrphan: Rose, who grows up to found an orphanage of her own and adopt a child whom she names Dulcie. Also Phebe.
* HerHeartWillGoOn - TheMourningAfter: Aunt Peace's fiance died just hours before their wedding; she almost died herself from the shock, but managed to survive, although she never got over it. Gender-flipped for Uncle Alec, who is heavily implied to have been in love with Rose's dead mother. (It may be noted that of all the Campbell brothers, he alone never married.)
* HenpeckedHusband: Mac and Steve's father.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: All the boys, but especially Archie and Charlie.
* IWasQuiteALooker: Former belle Aunt Clara tries to live vicariously through Rose by pushing her to become a fashionable debutante.
* KissingCousins: The only guys that Rose would even ''consider'' marrying are all her cousins. The biggest options are Archie, Charlie, and Mac. [[spoiler: Archie is in a StarCrossedLovers deal with Phebe but they get better, Charlie dies in an accident, and she ends up with Mac.]]
* LastMinuteHookup: [[spoiler: Rose and Mac.]]
* LikeBrotherAndSister: Rose offers to be Charlie's little sister so he can confide his problems to her. Once he starts courting her, it stops.
* LikeParentLikeSpouse: Rose openly admits that her ideal husband is a man just like her uncle Alec. [[spoiler: She ends up marrying Mac, Alec's godson, who fits the role perfectly.]]
* LikesOlderWomen: Jamie (at 12) proposes to Rose (at 19). She laughs it off.
* LovableAlphaBitch: Rose may be rich, blonde and popular, but she makes a conscious effort not to let it spoil her.
* LoveAtFirstNote: Archie and Phebe.
* MeaningfulName: Aunt Peace; Aunt Plenty; Phebe (a species of bird) and Rose, who is frequently subject to botanical metaphors.
* MyBelovedSmother: Aunt Clara, who is said to have spoiled Charlie's character with too much indulgence; Aunt Myra, whose reliance on dubious patent medicines may have caused the death of her daughter; Aunt Jane, who is [[SternTeacher notoriously strict.]]
* {{Nephewism}}: Rose wishes she "had not ''quite'' so many aunts" ...
* NerdsAreSexy: Mac.
* NoSocialSkills: Mac telling Rose how he alienates his dancing partners, causing her to try and "polish" him, with limited success.
* ObliviousToLove: Rose, at least where her own feelings are concerned; when it comes to others, she's pretty astute.
* ParentalMarriageVeto: The aunts are collectively appalled by Archie's proposing to Phebe - at least until [[spoiler: she saves Alec's life.]]
* ParentalSubstitute: Alec and the aunts for Rose and Phebe; later Rose for Dulcie.
* ThePromise: Charlie makes several to Rose: first, to quit smoking as long as she stops wearing earrings; second, to quit drinking; third, to visit his father in Calcutta. [[spoiler:He breaks them all, and dies apologizing.]]
** Alec promises Rose to do his best as her guardian, which he does.
** Rose nearly dies of hypothermia after promising to wait for Mac at the frozen river and keeping her word a bit too literally.
* UsefulNotes/{{Scotland}}: The story is set in New England, like most of Alcott's books, but the Campbells still hold on to their Scottish heritage by singing traditional ballads, playing bagpipes and roleplaying as Highland Warriors. Uncle Alec refers to the cousins at one point as "our bonny Scotch rose, with all her thorns about her."
* SheIsAllGrownUp: Rose and Phebe in the second book.
** Also Fun Lee; Mac uses the trope almost word by word when he tells Rose that he and Annabel are engaged.
* SheCleansUpNicely: Genderflipped when Steve gives Mac a makeover before a ball.
-->'''Rose:''' Why, Mac! I never knew you could look so like a gentleman.
-->'''Mac:''' Or feel so like a fool.
* ShipperOnDeck: Alec and the aunts ship Rose/Archie; Clara ships Rose/Charlie; Rose ships Phebe/Archie; Phebe and Archie ship Rose/Mac.
* ShoutOut: To Emerson, Thoreau, Dickens and the myth of Psyche and Cupid.
* SiblingTriangle: Rose the elder (see DeadGuyJunior) rejected Alec, married his brother George and died early. The brothers did not speak to each other until shortly before George's death, when he asked Alec to look after Rose Jr. - which accounts a good deal for Alec's protectiveness as a guardian.
* SiblingYinYang: Bookish Mac and flamboyant Steve.
* SingleWomanSeeksGoodMan: Rose emphatically refuses to marry a man she cannot respect morally.
* [[spoiler: StarCrossedLovers: Archie and Phebe, due to the aunts wanting him to marry Rose ''and'' [[UptownGirl the social differences]]. Unusually for the trope, they get better.]]
* TrainStationGoodbye: Rose and Mac share an intense hug before he leaves to get his book of poems published.
* TroubledButCute: Charlie.
* WhatIsThisThingYouCallLove: Mac tries to conduct a study about love by asking anyone who will listen.
* WrongGenreSavvy: Charlie is described as acting like a melodramatic theatre character.
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