Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Lost Stories of Louisa May Alcott- A Review

This week is free eBook week and I capitalize from this by downloading (for free) the Lost Stories of Louisa May Alcott. Louise Alcott is best known for her book Little Women. This compilation of stories were originally published anonymously in "Frank Leslie's Lady's magazine" between 1868 and 1870. They were considered lost until a few literary detectives found them and published them.

There are a total of 5 stories on the audio tape. These include Countess Berison, Fatal Follies, Fate in a Fan, Which Win and Anna’s Fortunes. I loved all of the stories since they each had specific subliminal messages. The language used however was a bit difficult to understand since Louisa May wrote these stories sometime in the late Nineteenth Century. All in all, the stories are told with creative and imaginative suspense that kinda preceded its time; but more importantly, this type of work was unheard of by women at this time.

In Countess Berison, the story depicted the power, determination and sacrifice of women. The story chronicled this polish exile called Countess Bersion who decided to marry the Prince of Russia in order to secure a pardon for her father. The countess was never in love with the prince and in fact history reveals to us that both countries were hostile to each other since the former wanted to absorb Poland into their kingdom. The Countess is very determined and head strong and she felt no emotion for the prince. The prince in knowing this gladly married the countess as a way of controlling her. In the end, he never received her love nor was he able to fully control her. She made the ultimate sacrifice, she committed suicide.

In Fatal Follies, the message of the story is that sometimes in young love we tend to let our traits get in way of our happiness. The husband in the story is constantly suspicious that his new bride is out to kill him. His reasoning for this was a few omens that he had. Similarly the wife is miserable since she believes that her husband does not love her. Both are professed monomaniacs who allowed follies such as vanity and superstition to over run their young marriage. In the end, before the husband could realized the truth, he kills himself with the same poison that was prophesied in his dream.

In Fate in a Fan, a ruthless father makes his daughter poison his business associates so that he can rob them of their riches. The poison is contained in a fan which when used effectively causes sickness and can even inflict death. The daughter however confides her secret to a friend of her fathers latest victim and he confronts and exposes him. Guilty of betraying her father and already dying from inhaling the poison, she decides to hasten her death by consuming the rest of the poison.

Which Wins is the story of two sisters who compete against each other for everything, including when they would both be married. Thus far, three of the five of them had already been married off except for the last two, Nadine and Thira. When it seems like Thira is the one to come out victorious, Nadine embarrassed her by accusing her new fiance (of Spanish royalty) of being a fraud and a criminal. When he admits, Thira goes into a vengeful fit and subsequently burns her sister, scaring her beauty for life.

Anna Fortunes is about a 17 year old girl who is about to be married to someone who she is not in love with. She runs away to London and meets this stranger whom she tells her story and begs that he save her from marrying. Little did she know that that the stranger was her Uncle's heir and he came in search for Anna and her cousin as a favor to her uncle. Apparently anna's uncle left Hugh his entire inheritance if he promised to share it with one of his nieces by marrying her. Hugh is obliged to honor the man's wishes and visits Anna cousin whose character is a greedy, self righteous woman. In the end Anna not only receives the fortune left by her uncle but has found a man who took her in when no one else cared for her.

I would recommend that everyone listen to these tapes. They will be a welcomed addition to your book shelf/library.


bermudaonion said...

This does sound good. It always takes me a little while to adjust to the language of a classic book, but once I do, I'm usually hooked. Thanks for the review.

Violet said...

I enjoyed reading your review & story summaries. I will have to look for this collection of lost Louisa May Alcott stories. :)

Bookventures said...

Thanks Violet. Am no lit major but i do try my best. Thanks for stopping by.

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