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The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 1, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Even setting such a notion aside, there is much to be gleaned from this novel, which is an imagination of events in Louisa May's life inspired by both Little Women and the biography.
The action takes place in the summer of 1855 when the family, on the insistence of father Alcott, who seems unable to settle in any particular place for long, lands in the New England town of Walpole. Louisa May, forever at odds with her father, would love to break away and seek her freedom and independence elsewhere - preferably in Boston - but out of loyalty to her mother and her sisters she stays in order to help them set up home.
She meets people, and one of them, a storeowner called Joseph Singer (a fictional character) brings love to her life. But Louisa May has a dream, a dream of becoming a writer, and so is presented with a dilemma: If she also settles in Walpole, marries Joseph and becomes a wife and mother, will she throw away a chance of fulfilling her dream?
Kelly O'Connor McNee has vividly evoked the nineteenth century period just before the American Civil War through her characterizations and her descriptions of real events that seamlessly blend with her fictional narrative. It is a quick and enjoyable read, with any loose ends nicely wrapped together in a satisfactory conclusion.
It must be said this novel contains many allusions to Little Women but it is no mirror image; Louisa May is very much the main focus and, although her father occasionally looms large, family members have lesser roles to play than in the original work.
A book for Alcott enthusiasts, although perhaps not for the scholarly type - it being written in a simple, straight forward prose style that doesn't really challenge the reader. Four stars.
I think the author wrote this book, in part, to answer this question that I believe many Alcott fans have. The Lost Summer is a fun read because it gives us the "right" to go through her life and to find out more about the person, especially the "woman" side of her - which, let's face it, we have not really read or heard all that much about in the past.
I liked this book because it was a great way to escape and go back in time to another time, with an author that I really like. It was almost like "invading her privacy" and reading Alcott's own thoughts - I am always a big fan of books that answer the burning "what if" questions and this one certainly did.
So, why the 3 stars? This YA was a tad too simplistic for me - I was hoping for something with a little more bite and intensity - a little too vanilla at times.