The Abbot's Ghost - 1867
Louisa May Alcott
genre - General Fiction
my rating - 4 out of 5 stars
This is the second post in a row where I am reviewing a lesser known work by a famous author. If you have a favorite old book, chances are the author wrote others as well, and you might enjoy those books too.
Louisa May Alcott is best known for her book, Little Women, which was published in 1868. Alcott had already written ten other books by that time, three of them under the name of A. M. Barnard. The Abbot's Ghost Or, Maurice Treherne's Temptation A Christmas Story was published with that nom de plume.
List of major characters:
Sir Jasper - a young man who recently inherited a
title, estate and money
Miss Octavia - his younger sister
Maurice - their
invalid cousin, loves Octavia
Frank Annon - a suitor for Octavia
Snowdon - elderly, but newlywed
Edith Snowdon - his young and beautiful wife
Friends and family gather at an English manor
home at Christmas time. There are several plots: the romance of Octavia, the revenge
of a lady, and the terrible secret between Jasper and Maurice. The story kept my
interest for the most part. There was a good ratio of conversation and
description. It did tend to bog down towards the end when everyone gathered
around the fire to tell ghost stories.
My favorite line from the book? "Human minds are more mysterious than any written book and more changeable than cloud shapes in the air."
I did struggle deciding which genre this story would be. There was more drama than romance, and then, of course, the ghost.
There is a minor formatting issue with Amazon's ebook. A tiny box inside a word - "paying his
respects to Madame M * re, as his hostess was called by her family" and other such markings are throughout the book.
About the author -
Poverty made it necessary for Alcott to go to work at an early age as an occasional teacher, seamstress, governess, domestic helper, and writer. Her first book was Flower Fables (1849), a selection of tales originally written for Ellen Emerson, daughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
In Little Women, Alcott based her heroine "Jo" on herself. Where Jo marries at the end of the story, Alcott remained single throughout her life.
Alcott died at age 55 of a stroke in Boston, Massachusetts, on March 6, 1888, two days after her father's death. She is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, near Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau, on a hillside now known as "Authors' Ridge".