ANNOUNCEMENT
After a lot of thought, I've decided to take a break from blogging for the foreseeable future. With my little C creeping its way back into my life and possible long term treatment now, I need to take a couple of things off my plate for the time being, and the blog is going to be one of those things. As it is, it felt like it was becoming more of a chore than anything else. I need my reading time to be more enjoyable right now, more of the escape that I really need, and what I don't need is the little voice in the back of my head telling me how many reviews I'm behind and trying to come up with what I need to say about the book.

I simply want to read.

I'll more than likely occasionally post on here what I've been reading, and if there is something that really blows my mind, I'll probably have more to say about it and may write up a proper post, but for right now, things are going to be very quiet around here.

As always, happy reading!
2017 edit
I will continue to blog according to my health and ability, and connecting my posts thru Goodreads, so please be patient if things get quiet around here again this year.

2017 edit #2
I am happy to report that my bone marrow transplant was a success and that I'm feeling more like myself everyday. That said, I'm going to try to start blogging a little more frequently, but please bare with me as I still continue to recover.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Conner McNees, as guest reviewed by beserene

Guest reviewed by beserene

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Title: The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott
Author: Kelly O'Connor McNees
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 352
ISBN: 9780399156526
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Author Website: kellyoconnormcnees.com
Twitter: @komcnees
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

From Amazon:
In the bestselling tradition of Loving Frank and March comes a novel for anyone who loves Little Women.

Millions of readers have fallen in love with
Little Women. But how could Louisa May Alcott - who never had a romance - write so convincingly of love and heart-break without experiencing it herself?

Deftly mixing fact and fiction, Kelly O'Connor McNees imagines a love affair that would threaten Louisa's writing career - and inspire the story of Jo and Laurie in
Little Women. Stuck in small-town New Hampshire in 1855, 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.

Normally, I hate the books that attempt to cram fiction into the lives of my favorite authors. I also hate the insulting implication that literary geniuses like Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott must have had love affairs in order to write brilliantly about relationships between people -- as if these authors do not have enough skill, imagination, and observational power to write such stories on their own.

So, I was a bit nervous when I sat down to read Kelly O'Connor McNees' The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott. And I continued to be a little bit on edge as I read the first half -- as the author settled in to Louisa's mode of writing, as the circumstances of the novel unfolded through fade-in images that were half-familiar, as the persons with whom I had been acquainted through non-fiction became characters.

In the end, however, after all that nervousness, and after a considerable period of "getting used to" the novel, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. McNees is incredibly respectful -- instead of twisting the facts as others have done, she has done her research and found an empty space in Alcott's life, one just the right size for a romance. The love interest she created for Alcott is not too much like Laurie (of Little Women fame) to be cloying, but has echoes of the character enough to allow us to see McNees' inspiration. The light hand and gentle tone of the writing echo -- again, respectfully -- Alcott's own, particularly in Little Women. It did take some getting used to, this approximation of another author's voice, but as I read I realized that it was necessary.

Is this a great and lasting piece of literary genius? Probably not. But it is a sweet and tactful offering, from one Alcott fan to the others of us who have not been so bold as to take up the pen in imitation of our hero. Overall, well worth the read.

1 comment:

Nikola said...

I really liked Little Women, so this sounds like a fun read for me!

Thanks for cheering for me on the read-a-thon! Looking forward to many more reviews, read-a-thons and book-related extravaganzas!