Louisa and the Missing Heiress - by Anna Maclean
Topic: Books - Mystery
This is the first book in a series of adventures that Louisa May Alcott supposedly had before she became famous with her Little Women and Little Men books. She's at home with her parents Abigail (Abba) and Branson Alcott. Money is tight as her father is a utopian and totally impractical and Abba, Louisa and her sisters do all the work and try to bring in some money. She is excited at seeing a friend who has recently returned from a year honeymoon in Europe. Dorothy (Dot), but Dot gets to the meeting late and is acting funny. By the next day she's dead and Louisa is determined to find out who killed her, and she does.
The mystery is good but not spectacular, but I enjoyed the comments about society, money and the hard lot of women back then. We do not understand how hard it was for women in the 1800s. Louisa helps at a home for unwed mothers and the scenes there are heart rending because the women don't really have anything to go back to since they are totally ruined by getting pregnant even though most of them were raped and the rest seduced by the promise of love. Yep that's like today.
Comments are made about the utopian commune they lived in for a while where the men discussed the philosophy of free living while the women worked 15 hours a days trying to keep everyone fed and clothed on a farm. I remember this about the 60s communes. I even remember one of the "leaders" saying the all the chicks could leave the room because the men had important things to discuss. Right!
Her father also was a vegetarian and wouldn't allow them to eat any meat or have anything woolen, which in a period when there was no central heat, was a real hardship. The Alcotts are a stop on the underground railroad and this I agree with. It was an extremely dangerous thing to be doing.
All in all it was an interesting book and I look forward to the next, not so much for the mystery itself as for the insight into the times not long before the Civil War.
Posted by rachela
at 5:42 PM MDT