When I was researching The Revelation of Louisa May, I spent a lot of time in Concord. The Concord Bookshop was a delightful place to visit and a useful place for me to do research. I can’t wait to visit on Sunday, April 26th at 3:00. I’ll be reading a bit from The Revelation of Louisa May and signing. Please join me!
Archives for April 2015
School Library Journal/February 2015
“A page-turner that satisfies.”—School Library Journal
Readers are immediately drawn into Louisa’s 19th-century world as her mother departs for work in the city and Louisa discovers a runaway slave, named George, hiding outside the Alcott home. The teen capably manages the various conflicts in the novel: money struggles, her relationship with her father, George’s safety, and romantic tensions between her and her distant cousin, Fred. Unsavory characters like Fitch, who is a slave catcher, and a disreputable woman named Miss Whittington, bring additional tension to this plot-driven novel. As she did with Always Emily (Chronicle, 2014), MacColl creates a strong sense of place, both in time and with her presentation of the physical environment. Her fluid incorporation of the transcendentalists and their movement aligns well with her attention to the novel’s setting. Although conflict and intrigue ensue, with protecting George and solving a murder, Louisa’s character unfortunately remains static. VERDICT Though light on character development, MacColl has created a page-turner that satisfies.
Publishers Weekly/February 13, 2015
“A satisfying, thought-provoking read.”–Publishers Weekly
As in Always Emily and Nobody’s Secret, MacColl again delivers a historical novel based on a 19th-century writer and her problematic family: this time Louisa May Alcott and the community of transcendentalists in Concord, Mass. Set over a few days in the summer of 1846 when the 15-year-old budding writer is in charge of the household, the story compellingly presents the conflicts between principles and practicality, as Louisa’s challenging relationship with her idealistic father, Bronson, grows especially fraught. She also faces a slew of unexpected problems, notably the arrival of a noxious slave catcher in pursuit of the fugitive slave the Alcotts are harboring, who seems to have potentially harmful information about their good friends Henry Thoreau and the Emersons. On his heels comes distant cousin Fred, suddenly grown tall and handsome, with a new interest in Louisa. Intrigue quickly builds on several fronts, and a climactic crisis forces Louisa, with sister Beth’s help, into some detective work, delivering a resolution that is likely to surprise. An author’s note recounts the factual bases for the novel and includes Alcott’s biographical information. A satisfying, thought-provoking read.