Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Abbot's Ghost  -  1867
Louisa May Alcott
76 pages
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
General 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  -

Louisa May Alcott was born on November 29, 1832, in Germantown, Pennsylvania, on her father's 33rd birthday.  She was the second of four daughters.  Alcott's early education included lessons from Henry David Thoreau, but she received the majority of her schooling from her father.  She also received some instruction from writers and educators such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Margaret Fuller, all of whom were family friends.

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".

No comments:

Post a Comment