The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott

I first read the book Little Women about two years ago.  (Insert gasps of shock and disbelief - I know!)  I had seen multiple versions of the movie when I was younger, but I never got around to reading the actual text until recently.  The movie, of course made me a little angry.  Maybe I was just refusing to see how any girl in her right mind would refuse a proposal from a pre-Batman Christian Bale, but I really wanted Jo and Laurie to be together.  I wanted them to have a happily ever after and the Laurie/Amy and Jo/Professor pairings just didn't work for me.

Then I read the actual book Little Women.  I think the deeper insight into the characters made things click for me.  Suddenly Laurie's playful spirit complimented the artistic Amy and the Professor's scholarly intellect was a better challenge for brainy Jo.  However, I know I'm not the only one who wondered about the what ifs of a Jo and Laurie pairing and it is this fictional love story that rests at the heart of Kelly O'Connor McNees's book The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott

McNees sets her book in 1855 a year from which no journal entries or letters of the author Louisa May Alcott exist.  A fictional version of Louisa is the protagonist of the story and with her parents and three sisters, she is also the reflection of her character Jo March.  Similarly, a young boy Joseph Singer is fabricated into the tale and in McNees's imagination he is the boy who inspires the character Laurie. 

This novel was a really interesting, albeit fictional, look at the life of Louisa May Alcott.  The historical setting and facts from Alcott's life were smoothly blended with the story in a way that had me checking the afterword carefully to determine fact from fiction.  For readers who enjoy a little game of "what if", this is an interesting and enjoyable book.

9 Response to "The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott"

  1. Sam says:
    January 6, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    This does sound interesting, and I'm a sucker for books like this. I read Little Women and Good Wives when I was younger and was very upset that Jo didn't end up with Laurie. I think Alcott just wanted to surprise her readers a little bit.

  2. Lesa says:
    January 6, 2011 at 9:15 AM

    Little Women was a fave of both me and my co-blogger DeLynne when we were kids-- we even wrote a little play from the book to read at a speech/drama tournament.

    the coupling in the book never bothered me-- but I'm odd, I suppose.

    I've heard of this book and meant to read it sometime but I have a similar Jane Austen one already in my house that I need to get to first.

    Lisa: thanks for commenting on my blogiversary post. Did you want to enter the giveaway? If so, let me know. I sure want to include your entry if you meant to enter.

    :o)

  3. Margaret Duarte says:
    January 6, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    Hi Lisa. I enjoyed your review of The Lost Summer. It's been years since I read LITTLE WOMEN. Now I'm tempted to read it again and THEN read THE LOST SUMMER. You're doing a great service here, for author and reader alike. Thanks.

  4. Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e) says:
    January 6, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    I've tried a few times and have never been able to get "into" Little Women. I know, I know, practically un-American of me...

  5. Kate says:
    January 6, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    I love Alcott. I haven't read this one. I loved Little Women, Little Men and Jo's Boys. I also have The Inheritance which if I remember is her first novel written, but I haven't got into it the several times I tried to read it.

  6. Miss Page-Turner says:
    January 7, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    Hey thank you for visiting and the kind words about the ReCOVERy Friday meme. I loved it a lot myself, but there were always so few comments and participants that I had to quit it sometime. Now I've got a "Cover of the Week" section on my sidebar and post a cover comparison between US/German and another country each Thurday:)

    I really like your blog, I need to comment more often!

  7. Melissa says:
    January 10, 2011 at 9:05 PM

    I'd never heard of this before. Margaret is right, you're doing a great real service for us readers!

    This book sounds like an interesting concept. I have to confess, I've never read _Little Women_ before, so I'd have to read that one first.

  8. Casey (The Bookish Type) says:
    January 11, 2011 at 12:54 AM

    This sounds like a really fun and interesting read! Awesome review -- I'll have to check this one out!

  9. louisamayalcottismypassion says:
    January 12, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    Loved this book, I read it last spring. I only wish it were true. It's an impressive effort for a new author and it's doing well enough to be put out in paperback this coming May. Kudos to Kelly McNees!

    I love all things Alcott and blog on her regularly if you'd like to learn more. We have a fun and lively community, come on over - http://louisamayalcottismypassion.wordpress.com/

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