I know I’ve read a great story when, as I come to The End and close the cover, I can’t let go. The characters take root in my mind, and memories of them, like those of an old friend, surface some time later.
Yona Zeldis McDonough wrote a children’s book, Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott, a brief biography, which highlights important events that molded Alcott into a woman devoted to her writing, as well as to her family. All of the facts are there, but as I read through the book, I kept searching for more.
What about that magical time in 1855, I wondered, when the Alcotts spent the summer in Walpole, New Hampshire? I flipped through the pages hoping to find mention of a man named Joseph Singer or to read about a silver comb lost, then found and treasured.
But, those details aren’t mentioned in this biography by McDonough. They do, however, come together in a different story, in Kelly O’Connor McNees’ beautiful historical fiction, The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott. In The Lost Summer, McNees weaves an imagined but believable tale about a love between Alcott and a man named Singer, an attraction that was difficult to turn away from, difficult for the main characters and for the readers. McNees’s novel is well written and memorable, and that’s the story that stuck out in my mind as I read to my daughter.
The new cover of the paperback (with its vivid colors and that dress!) makes me want to buy the book all over again. A quote from the Washington post reminds me why this book is one I’ll read it again:
The Lost Summer is the kind of romantic tale to which Alcott herself was partial, one in which love is important but not a solution to life’s difficulties.
I had the honor of interviewing Kelly back in August about her novel and about writing. You can read the interview here. You can also visit Kelly O’Connor McNees’ website for details on upcoming events related to her paperback release and check out her blog for news and for interviews with other great authors.
What about you? What stories stick in your mind, with characters who stay with you long after the cover is closed?