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Monday, September 28, 2015

Little Woman in Blue: A Novel of May Alcott by Jeannine Atkins

Hi guys!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Today, we're exploring a newish Fiction title drawn from the pages of lives past and starring a very recognizable family name.  Literary fans rejoice!  You're about to discover the life of the OTHER Alcott sister you may or may not have known.  Interest peaked?  Good, because here comes today's book of choice...

A Novel of May Alcott

About the book...
May Alcott spends her days sewing blue shirts for Union soldiers, but she dreams of painting a masterpiece—which many say is impossible for a woman—and of finding love, too. When she reads her sister’s wildly popular novel, Little Women, she is stung by Louisa’s portrayal of her as “Amy,” the youngest of four sisters who trades her desire to succeed as an artist for the joys of hearth and home. Determined to prove her talent, May makes plans to move far from Massachusetts and make a life for herself with room for both watercolors and a wedding dress. Can she succeed? And if she does, what price will she have to pay? 

Based on May Alcott’s letters and diaries, as well as memoirs written by her neighbors,  LITTLE WOMAN IN BLUE puts May at the center of the story she might have told about sisterhood and rivalry in an extraordinary family. 


May was such a force of life, even if she didn't see it in herself most the time.  Passionate and caring, artistic to a fault, talented in matters of life but not those of the heart.  She spent most of her life chasing after her dream in dribs and drabs while everyone else kept telling her the monumental size of her impossible desire.  Her persistence paid off, leading her to a life more colorful and rich than she could have imagined for herself in the day and age, after all....a woman's works were not considered highly in most circles.  It wasn't however until her later years in life, that her achievements in art were outweighed by her love of family.  Now don't get me wrong, she always cared for her mother, father, and sisters....I'm speaking of family in the sense of creating one of her own.  It was heartbreaking to see her so lonely all those years, but equally so to see it fall so quickly from her grasp when found at last.  She deserved so much more, but fate was never accused of being a kind mistress and life marched on without a glance back.

The care and passion that the author showed in this portrayal of familial and sisterly love was memorable.  We see life from both Louisa's and May's perspectives from their poor beginnings to their achievements in the arts (writing and painting, respectively) to their trials of life and love.  There is a deep seated mutual respect between the girls but to me, it was always bittersweet.  Jealousy and in-content plagued them both night and day, day and night, year after year.  They loved each other because only those you truly care about can get under your skin so badly, it just made for a less than tender affection between them.  I really loved getting to know May and the final sacrifices at book's end truly finished shaping her character for me.

In conclusion, if you're going to embark on the journey, you better be in for the long haul.  This isn't a read that can be raced through.  It must be given time and understanding because only then can the light from within its pages shine through.  Recommended for older teens through adults not due to any mischievous content (gasp...Julian sees her ankle!) but for appropriate interest levels and dedication to the story.


About the author...

Jeannine Atkins is the acclaimed author of twelve books for young readers featuring women in history, including Borrowed Names: Poems about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker, Marie Curie and their Daughters. She is an adjunct professor at Simmons College and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. 



Special thanks to Caitlin at Caitlin Hamilton Marketing and Publicity, LLC for the ARC for review.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the author, the publisher, or those promotions on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title was released earlier this month via She Writes Press, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.

Until next time...happy reading!

1 comment:

Felicity Grace Terry said...

Away to make a note of this as I know my mam would love a copy of this.

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