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Revelation of Louisa May, The: A Novel of Intrigue & Romance

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  • Revelation of Louisa May, The: A Novel of Intrigue & Romance 
    Title: Revelation of Louisa May, The: A Novel of Intrigue & Romance
    Format: HARDCOVER
    Publication date: 01/05/2015
    Price: $28.00
    Publishing status: Active

    Bulletin of Ctr for Child Bks (07/01/2015):
    In this new installment of MacColl's historically based mysteries, young Louisa May Alcott's mother is out of town, so Louisa is left in charge of the family as well as a "package" that has arrived at their stop on the Underground Railroad. When a sinister stranger and an old friend arrive, Louisa's tasks become more complicated; the stranger, a slave hunter, not only dogs her steps but finds opportunities for blackmail among the good people of Concord, while the friend, an old chum named Fred, presses his suit on the flattered Louisa. Then the slave hunter is found murdered, and Louisa has no end of suspects: Henry Thoreau, who was caught pursuing Emerson's wife; Louisa's father, Bronson Alcott, who was found unconscious at the scene of the crime; a female con artist who was in town trying to tempt Alcott, Emerson, and Thoreau into supporting a nonexistent journal; George, the escaped slave who had the most to fear from the victim; and Mr. Pryor, the conductor on the Railroad. MacColl's ability to steep herself in the imagined lives of her historical figures enables her to craft just the right fictional characters to round out her mysteries. As she did with Emily Dickinson in Nobody's Secret (BCCB 4/13), she creates an encounter for the never-married Louisa that pits ideals against romance and manages a credible win for ideals. Each chapter is headed with an apt, contextualizing quotation from Little Women that will encourage readers to believe that these imagined events could have happened in life and maybe even inspired Alcott's fiction. The author's note at the end returns readers to reality but leaves them with a greater interest in one of the most beloved American novelists of all time. KC

    Hornbook Guide to Children (07/01/2015):
    Abolitionists, a fugitive slave, irresponsible transcendentalists, and a murder combine in this fictionalized vision of what Louisa May Alcott's life might have looked like before she turned to writing as a profession. MacColl's tale captures the complex financial and philosophical realities of the Alcott family, but this blend of biographical and historical research and storytelling occasionally tends toward melodrama. Author's note. Reading list. (Copyright 2015 by The Horn Book, Incorporated, Boston. All rights reserved.)

    Gleebooks review:
    One doesn’t have to be a fan of Louisa May Alcott to enjoy this book—but if not, you will probably want to read her books after this. Michaela MacColl’s books are fictionalised accounts of episodes in the lives of well-known people, in this case the teenaged Louisa May. With excellent research and a real sense of the time and place, these books will transport you. The Alcott family were well known in Concord, Mass. because of the extremely idealistic beliefs of their father Branson Alcott (he was part of the Transcendentalist movement, which meant he didn’t want his family to wear wool, and more reasonably silk and cotton as they were produced from the toil of slaves). Their cohort included the likes of Henry David Thoreau, and Emerson, and they were part of the Abolitionist Underground Railway. At the opening of the book, the Alcotts discover a runaway slave who they hide, but unfortunately a slave catcher is hot on his heels. There is enough truth in the book to keep it real, but plenty of romance and interaction within the family to keep it light—an excellent vehicle for learning history. The author’s note about the Louisa May Alcott and her family is really fascinating, and is sending me back to our classics shelves, to find the many Alcott books I haven’t yet read.

    ISBN: 9781452133577
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