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Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Other Alcott

I don't know of any girl who hasn't heard or read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. In fact it is required reading in most homes because of the story line involving women who defy the odds despite grueling circumstances and forge ahead into an unknown future. With the success of her sister Louisa, now a well-known author in their small town of Concord, Boston, it seems that May Alcott (Amy March) is doomed to bear the guilt of living in her popular sister's notoriety even though she submitted her own drawings as illustrations. However while the book when on to be a world wide success, the reviewers were less than kind with their comments about May's illustrations. Enough so to crush her dreams if she only let them.

In the 1900's finding a suitable art school that would both teach and admit women was hard pressed to locate. May believed if she just had the right instructor to help her with human anatomy and refining her drawing skills, she might just make something of herself much like Louisa did. After all she didn't get published after her first novel. So perhaps it is just a matter of finding the perfect person to teach her. She befriends her ex-boyfriends childhood friend Alice who is wealthy beyond measure and never knows what it is like for someone like May who had to learn to make do with whatever they had, whenever they had it.

Alice inspires a dream within May that perhaps the perfect place to learn art is what the master's studied. In Paris, France. So manages to convince Alice and Louisa to join her, after all who wouldn't want to meet the author of Little Women on a world-wind tour of Europe, and that is something May can stomach as long as it meets her own objectives. She isn't about to let anyone tell her what she can and can't do, even her perspective suitor Joshua. She agrees that perhaps she isn't the one for him after all and packs up all her belongings and heads out on a ocean voyage to Europe. She just doesn't plan for her plans to change. With seasickness keeping her confined to her cabin most of the voyage, she finally thinks she can catch a breath of fresh ocean air, when she learns all passengers are confined to their cabins that to a smallpox outbreak on board. She also learns that Bismark has invaded Paris and most of the people there are starving, even eating rats if they can find them. So with a change of plans not letting these things deter her, she sets out more resolved than even to find her own life and her own future.

I received The Other Alcott by Elise Hooper compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. I have found similar novels like this one where they expand on the lives of the secondary characters and in this case, this is May's story.  This is Elise Hooper's debut novel and I believe she does an great job in helping readers get to know the lesser known characters from the Alcott's Little Women novel. This is going to be a must read for fans of the original novel and I would give this one a 4 out of 5 stars in my opinion. There is even a Questions and Answers section for the author at the conclusion of this novel as well as Reader's Discussion Guide questions that would make this an wonderful book club novel.

For more information about The Other Alcott, Elise Hooper, or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Elise Hooper on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read other reviews on The Other Alcott, please visit Harper Collins Publisher's website. 

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