Friday, August 13, 2010
Review-The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott
THE LOST SUMMER OF LOUISA MAY ALCOTT
Kelly O'Connor McNees
Amy Einhorn Books
G.P.Putnam's Sons-Penguin Group, USA
I don't know why it took so long to review this book. I loved it. I read about Louisa May Alcott when I was a teenager and her story was one of wonder then. Kelly O'Connor McNees, shares my passion for the writer and admits that after reading Martha Saxton's Louisa May Alcott: A Modern Biography she became even more obsessed. I can't remember the biography that I read as a child. It was one of those biography series for young adults. I know my mom used to treat me to new books often and Alcott was among them.
I have read Little Women twice and have seen two versions of the movie. So, I was worried about reading a fictional story about the author. I quickly realized that my worries were for naught as The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott was a treasure. If anything it just enhanced my desire to revisit her biography as I noted the Saxton version on my wishlist.
McNees invents a story of the years when Louisa May Alcott lived in Walpole, New Hampshire during 1855. When she discovered that there were gaps in the historical information available during the summer of that year, her story began to materialize.
McNees shapes a character of Louisa May Alcott that feels genuine and at times you need to remind yourself that it is a historical fiction version. The life Alcott chooses to lead and the decisions she makes are believable because her personality is not compromised in this fictional story. Biographies depict her strength and views on women's roles and marriage which are played out in McNees' novel. Through the author's research she inserts familiar historical events to create a realistic setting for her story. The Fugitive Slave Act and the Anthony Burns trial, Women's Rights, Walt Whitman's publication of The Leaves of Grass, Nathanial Hawthorne's presence as a neighbor, all enhance the plausibility of the story. While her mother shows her support for Louisa's dreams, her father is disappointed. Louisa is driven to make money to survive as a single woman, making her own way.
If you love Little Women, and have a curiosity about Louisa May Alcott, please read a biography of her life. Once you have done that, treat yourself to Kelly O’Connor NcNees’ historical fiction story that honors her memory with warmth and imagination.
Disclosure: Sent to me by the publisher.
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