Book Review: The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott – Kelly O’Connor McNees

Title: The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott
Author: Kelly O’Connor McNees
ISBN: 9780399156526
Pages: 352
Release Date: April 1, 2010
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

Because of her father’s refusal to work due to his philosophical principles, Louisa May Alcott and her family (her father, mother, and three sisters) have been forced to move to Walpole.  There, they will live in a house at the charity of her father’s friend Ralph Waldo Emerson.  In the small town of Walpole, Louisa dreams of returning to Boston and pursuing a writing career.  She looks forward to a life of spinsterhood, without any marital obligations, and doesn’t realize that falling in love could threaten that dream.

Review:

I don’t know a lot about Louisa May Alcott, which is part of the reason I really wanted to read this book.  With most historical fiction I read, I know how the story is going to turn out because I know the history behind the novel.  In this case, I didn’t, and therefore savored every word.  I was on edge, wondering what choices Louisa might make and if she would ever find happiness.

The core of this novel is the character of Louisa May Alcott herself.  McNees breathes life into this complicated woman, making her really come alive for the reader.  I loved Louisa’s internal battle; she wanted to become a writer, but in order to do that, she couldn’t be trapped by marriage.  She actually looked forward to being a spinster, a word with negative connotations even now.  But at the same time, she does want love and happiness and all it brings with it.  In fact, she seems to get mad at herself at certain points in the novel because she wishes she could be content with less than she knows she wants.

The historical details of The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott are really satisfying.  McNees does a wonderful job demonstrating how women of the time kept themselves busy during the day, something I’ve always wondered.  Additionally, her incorporation of Transcendentalist views into the novel is very interesting.  Many times, I wanted to throttle Louisa’s father because he refused to work to provide for his family.  It was frustrating, yet added a lot of color to the novel and helped the reader to understand Louisa’s desperation all the more.

I loved how complicated and layered McNees made Louisa.  She had her own motives and desires, even some that seem to be kept hidden from the reader.  At the same time, though, the story is simple and beautiful.  It’s an easy, enjoyable novel to read, and will really transport the reader.  I can’t recommend The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott highly enough – I will be waiting in breathless anticipation for Kelly O’Connor McNees’ next novel!

Comments

  1. I am so glad that you reviewed this book, since I hadn’t even heard of it yet! I look forward to reading it. Louisa May Alcott is sort of a hero of mine because of her early feminism, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this.

  2. I am so glad that you reviewed this book, since I hadn’t even heard of it yet! I look forward to reading it. Louisa May Alcott is sort of a hero of mine because of her early feminism, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this.

  3. It sounds wonderful!

  4. It sounds wonderful!

  5. I’m definitely looking forward to reading this one. I’ve enjoyed so many of Louisa May Alcott’s books. The idea that she would have a special someone is intriguing. Thanks for the review!

  6. I’m definitely looking forward to reading this one. I’ve enjoyed so many of Louisa May Alcott’s books. The idea that she would have a special someone is intriguing. Thanks for the review!

  7. I’m definitely looking forward to reading this one. I’ve enjoyed so many of Louisa May Alcott’s books. The idea that she would have a special someone is intriguing. Thanks for the review!

  8. I’m definitely looking forward to reading this one. I’ve enjoyed so many of Louisa May Alcott’s books. The idea that she would have a special someone is intriguing. Thanks for the review!

  9. This sounds fantastic! I’m so excited to read it because, like you before starting, I know very little about Louisa May Alcott… so everything will be a surprise! Hope to start this one soon.

  10. This sounds fantastic! I’m so excited to read it because, like you before starting, I know very little about Louisa May Alcott… so everything will be a surprise! Hope to start this one soon.

  11. I’m reading this right now, and I don’t know how the story ends up, so I’m loving it as much as you are! I love the references to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and others. Totally up my alley!

    Thanks for being on this tour!

  12. I’m reading this right now, and I don’t know how the story ends up, so I’m loving it as much as you are! I love the references to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and others. Totally up my alley!

    Thanks for being on this tour!

  13. I can’t wait to read this for the exact same reason – I know nothing about Louisa May Alcott. Great review!

  14. I can’t wait to read this for the exact same reason – I know nothing about Louisa May Alcott. Great review!

  15. I do not know very little about Louisa May Alcott either, but this book sounds wonderful. I’m planning to read it this weekend, so I’m excited to hear you loved it.

  16. I do not know very little about Louisa May Alcott either, but this book sounds wonderful. I’m planning to read it this weekend, so I’m excited to hear you loved it.

  17. I am so glad you liked this book! I just finished it a couple of weeks ago and thought it was a wonderful read. Louisa was so persnickety at times that it made me laugh. I really want to find out if her real life personality was similar to the fictional one portrayed in the book. Great review!

  18. I am so glad you liked this book! I just finished it a couple of weeks ago and thought it was a wonderful read. Louisa was so persnickety at times that it made me laugh. I really want to find out if her real life personality was similar to the fictional one portrayed in the book. Great review!

  19. great review for a great book. I really like Lost Summer, as well. Alcott was very active in women’s rights issues. BTW, have you read A Long Fatal Love Chase by Alcott. very different than Little Women!

  20. great review for a great book. I really like Lost Summer, as well. Alcott was very active in women’s rights issues. BTW, have you read A Long Fatal Love Chase by Alcott. very different than Little Women!

  21. Everyone seems to be enjoying this one. I’ve read some about Alcott but I’m still really looking forward to learning something new and enjoying the fiction aspect.

  22. Everyone seems to be enjoying this one. I’ve read some about Alcott but I’m still really looking forward to learning something new and enjoying the fiction aspect.

  23. I’m about 2/3rds finished with this one and am also enjoying it! Great review.

  24. I’m about 2/3rds finished with this one and am also enjoying it! Great review.

  25. Woo Hoo! I have this one too and can’t wait to read it!

  26. Woo Hoo! I have this one too and can’t wait to read it!

  27. So glad this is good – I have it on my TBR shelf!

  28. So glad this is good – I have it on my TBR shelf!

  29. Sounds like such a fantastic read – will definitely be adding it to my TBR list. Cheers for the heads up!

  30. Sounds like such a fantastic read – will definitely be adding it to my TBR list. Cheers for the heads up!

  31. I’ve been waiting for a review to come out of this one to see if it was really good and I am so happy to hear it is!

  32. I’ve been waiting for a review to come out of this one to see if it was really good and I am so happy to hear it is!

  33. This does look like a great book. I’m off to add to my tbr now. Thanks!

  34. This does look like a great book. I’m off to add to my tbr now. Thanks!

  35. All these great reviews are making me want to add this book to my wishlist!

  36. All these great reviews are making me want to add this book to my wishlist!

  37. I am a huge LMA fan and I’ve been to her home in Concord. I really must bump this one up.

  38. I am a huge LMA fan and I’ve been to her home in Concord. I really must bump this one up.

  39. I received a copy of this one a week or so ago, and now you’ve made me really excited about it.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  40. I received a copy of this one a week or so ago, and now you’ve made me really excited about it.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  41. I just got this one in the mail and I’m really looking forward to reading it. Like a lot of people said, I don’t know anything about Alcott which makes it all the more interesting.

  42. I just got this one in the mail and I’m really looking forward to reading it. Like a lot of people said, I don’t know anything about Alcott which makes it all the more interesting.

  43. Thanks for the review, this one sounds great!

  44. Thanks for the review, this one sounds great!

  45. Re: Wanting to throttle her father – YES!

    I definitely enjoyed this book a lot, I really think Kelly O’Conner McNees brought LMA to life.

  46. Re: Wanting to throttle her father – YES!

    I definitely enjoyed this book a lot, I really think Kelly O’Conner McNees brought LMA to life.

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  49. Wow! I am so lucky to have this wonderful review and all of your thoughtful comments! I hope I have the chance to meet some of you at the various events I have planned in the Northeast, Michigan, Chicago, Tennessee . . .

    Please keep in touch and thank you so much for reading!

  50. Wow! I am so lucky to have this wonderful review and all of your thoughtful comments! I hope I have the chance to meet some of you at the various events I have planned in the Northeast, Michigan, Chicago, Tennessee . . .

    Please keep in touch and thank you so much for reading!

  51. Hi There,
    I am glad to have stumbled upon your blog. I think this book will be well liked by my dd…Thanks for the review.
    Subadra
    http://bookslinksandmore.blogspot.com/

  52. Hi There,
    I am glad to have stumbled upon your blog. I think this book will be well liked by my dd…Thanks for the review.
    Subadra
    http://bookslinksandmore.blogspot.com/

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