The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott

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by Kelly O'Connor McNees
     
 

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A richly imagined, remarkably written story of the woman who created Little Women- and how love changed her in ways she never expected.

Deftly mixing fact and fiction, Kelly O'Connor McNees returns to the summer of 1855, when vivacious Louisa May Alcott is twenty-two and bursting to free herself from family and societal constraints and do what she

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Overview

A richly imagined, remarkably written story of the woman who created Little Women- and how love changed her in ways she never expected.

Deftly mixing fact and fiction, Kelly O'Connor McNees returns to the summer of 1855, when vivacious Louisa May Alcott is twenty-two and bursting to free herself from family and societal constraints and do what she loves most. Stuck in small-town New Hampshire, she meets Joseph Singer, and as she opens her heart, Louisa finds herself torn between a love that takes her by surprise and her dream of independence as a writer in Boston. The choice she must make comes with a steep price that she will pay for the rest of her life.

Editorial Reviews

Carrie Brown
McNees gets the period details just right: the crinolines and carriages; the spare, aesthetic plainness of 19th-century New England. And although the love affair with Joseph is invented, she remains faithful to the broad outlines of Alcott's biography. In fact, The Lost Summer is the kind of romantic tale to which Alcott herself was partial, one in which love is important but not a solution to life's difficulties. Devotees of Little Women will flock to this story with pleasure.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
McNees lightly imagines the life of Louisa May Alcott, whose Little Women has enjoyed generations-long success. The story begins with a 20-year-old Louisa unhappily moving with her family from Boston to Walpole, N.H., where her Transcendentalist philosopher father pursues a life sans material pleasure. Louisa, meanwhile, plans on saving enough money to return to Boston and pursue a career as a writer. Then she meets the handsome and charming Joseph Singer, who stirs up strong emotions in Louisa. Not wanting to admit that she is attracted to him, Louisa responds to Joseph with defensiveness and anger until, of course, she can no longer deny her feelings and becomes torn between her desires and her dreams. While certainly charming, the simply told, straightforward narrative reads like YA fiction. It'll do the trick as a pleasant diversion for readers with fond memories of Alcott's work, but the lack of gravity prevents it from becoming anything greater. (Apr.)
Library Journal
In her debut novel, McNees (www.kellyoconnormcnees.com) blends fact and fiction to imagine an 1855 summer in the life of a then-20-year-old Louisa May Alcott that would change the course of Alcott's career and inform her later writing of Little Women. (Toward the end of her life, Alcott burned many of her letters and asked her correspondents to do the same, so what really happened that summer is lost to history.) The author portrays Alcott as an intelligent young woman whose strong sense of family loyalty interferes with her fierce desire for independence. Actress/singer/narrator Emily Janice Card reads with an earnestness befitting Louisa's character. A good choice for public libraries and YA collections. ["Fans of Little Women may be first in line to read the novel," read the review of the Amy Einhorn: Putnam hc, "but the book will also appeal to others who enjoy historical romance," LJ Xpress Review, 4/23/10.—Ed.]—Nann Blaine Hilyard, Zion-Benton P.L., IL

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425240830
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/03/2011
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
719,295
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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What People are saying about this

Cassandra King
I have read Little Women at least a dozen times, but Kelly O'Connor McNees has given me a gift I will not soon forget. Louisa May Alcott is no longer simply an icon to me but a real woman in all her complexity, one who lived life in spite of exploitation and the expectations of her day, never giving up on her dream. Her story is as relevant today as when Alcott bravely made her way. I can't wait to give copies of this novel to all of my friends. (Cassandra King, author of The Sunday Wife and The Same Sweet Girls)
Terry Gamble
A superb, thoughtful, and deliciously paced book that will hook lovers of history and Alcott alike. I enjoyed it tremendously. (Terry Gamble, author of The Water Dancers and Good Family)
From the Publisher
"McNees gets the period details just right: the crinolines and carriages; the spare, aesthetic plainness of 19th-century New England. And although the love affair with Joseph is invented, she remains faithful to the broad outlines of Alcott's biography. In fact, The Lost Summer is the kind of romantic tale to which Alcott herself was partial, one in which love is important but not a solution to life's difficulties. Devotees of Little Women will flock to this story with pleasure." -The Washington Post

"I have read Little Women at least a dozen times, but Kelly O'Connor McNees has given me a gift I will not soon forget. Louisa May Alcott is no longer simply an icon to me but a real woman in all her complexity, one who lived life in spite of exploitation and the expectations of her day, never giving up on her dream. Her story is as relevant today as when Alcott bravely made her way. I can't wait to give copies of this novel to all of my friends."
-Cassandra King, author of The Sunday Wife and The Same Sweet Girls

"Mixing fact drawn from Little Women author Louisa May Alcott's letters and journals with a longing to understand how Alcott-who is thought never to have been in love-could have written so movingly about it, Kelly O'Connor McNees delivers a wonderfully imagined, lively novel of first love herself. Louisa emerges as a spunky, honest heroine torn between her own personal love affair and the need to create more enduring stories that might console readers and lovers for generations to come."
-Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters

"A superb, thoughtful, and deliciously paced book that will hook lovers of history and Alcott alike. I enjoyed it tremendously."
-Terry Gamble, author of The Water Dancers and Good Family

"Richly imagined and gracefully told, McNees' captivating story will delight anyone who loved Alcott's feisty heroine Jo March."
-Judith Ryan Hendricks, best-selling author of Bread Alone

Meg Waite Clayton
Mixing fact drawn from Little Women author Louisa May Alcott's letters and journals with a longing to understand how Alcott-who is thought never to have been in love-could have written so movingly about it, Kelly O'Connor McNees delivers a wonderfully imagined, lively novel of first love herself. Louisa emerges as a spunky, honest heroine torn between her own personal love affair and the need to create more enduring stories that might console readers and lovers for generations to come. (Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters)
Judith Ryan Hendricks
Richly imagined and gracefully told, McNees' captivating story will delight anyone who loved Alcott's feisty heroine Jo March. (Judith Ryan Hendricks, best-selling author of Bread Alone)

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