Review: The Revelation of Louisa May by Michaela MacColl

Posted March 20, 2015 by Lisa Mandina in / 12 Comments

First, thanks to Chronicle Books and Edelweiss for allowing me to read an e-galley of this.  Now, I have to admit that I’ve never read Little Women, or seen the movie, or read anything by Louisa May Alcott.  But, I’d never read Jane Eyre until I read the book The Eyre Affair.  While this was an okay story, not sure that it makes me need to read any of her books.  I was intrigued though, as I always am, by any book that takes a look at an author’s life, especially fictional books because they can add in some fun details. 

This story is about Louisa May Alcott’s life when she was about 15 and her mother had to go work in another city to bring the family money.  I guess I didn’t realize that the author lived in a community with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.  I really liked that bit of history that was woven into the story.  Louisa’s family was also very much into the abolitionist movement,  to the point of being part of the Underground Railroad.  In the story, when Louisa’s mother goes to the job she leaves Louisa in charge of the household, which includes not only doing the housework, cooking and cleaning for her father, but also watching her younger sister Beth, while her mother took the youngest, May, with her.  The household management included a “package”, the runaway slave George, who showed up right as Louisa’s mother, Marmee, was leaving. 

For Louisa’s first time being in charge, things didn’t go that smoothly, because at the same time she had a slave to protect, a slave catcher showed up in town looking for him.  And the slave catcher happened to know Henry, as well as another woman that wasn’t trusted, Miss Whittaker.  One somewhat happy thing that seemed to occur was that Louisa’s cousin Fred showed up.  While they used to be the best of friends, Fred had changed.  He’d grown up into a very handsome young man, and seemed to be interested in Louisa as more than a friend/cousin as well. 

When one of the players in the story turns up dead towards the end, the trials of the story soon turn into a murder mystery, one that Louisa feels she must solve, even if it means that someone she loves and respects, or feels sympathy for, is a murderer. 

I have to say the mystery was a good one, there was lots of story with actual factual bits sprinkled throughout as well.  While it gave me a bit of a history legend on some authors I didn’t know that much about, as I said before, I will personally not be adding any of their books to my TBR at this time.  I think that the writing is probably done a lot like Alcott does in her books, at least it reminded me of how I think that the books were written, from what little I know of them. 

If you like the author Alcott’s books, I’m guessing you’ll enjoy this.  If you enjoy a good murder mystery, with some historical fiction thrown in, you’ll also probably enjoy this.  I will definitely be adding it to my list of books to possibly order into the high school library where I work because of all the historical bits and the link to the authors’ real lives.  I like that at the end there is even a few pages telling what everything was based on, and where truth and fiction intersected.

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12 responses to “Review: The Revelation of Louisa May by Michaela MacColl

  1. Never read Little Women but have it on my kindle. So hope to read it soon. This looks like an interesting historical fiction book. Love you review ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I read Little Women when I was a child but didn't love it but I have read several more of Alcott's books and really enjoyed them. I do know a little bit about her life so I love the idea of adding some historical mystery in it. Thanks for sharing! I'll have to look for this one.

  3. Oh, sweet! I loved reading her stuff as a kid! I saw this book title somewhere else and figured there was no way it actually referred to Louisa May Alcott. If you want a suggestion of one of her books besides Little Women (which is also fantastic, and a classic that has to be read!), you should check out Jack and Jill. Probably my favorite book of hers. At least 7 or 8 years ago, it was free through Project Gutenberg ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Okay, I'll go check out Jack and Jill and maybe add it to my TBR list if it sounds good! Thanks for the recommendation. You should definitely check this out if you enjoyed her books.

  4. I read Little Women growing up, and I can't say that I was a fan. However, my best friend loved it. So, I think I now have a great gift idea ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much for the review!

  5. I really enjoyed reading your review of the story, but I think the review is what I will stick with! If you had enjoyed it a lot more, I think I might have been a wee bit more interested, but as it stands, I think this one will be a pass

    • I can definitely see why you'd pass. I'm just glad that I was able to help you make a decision! And happy that my review was helpful at all. Thanks for visiting!

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