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Chicago.com Book Review - July 2, 2010
“The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott” excels at showing the time
period and literary milieu of 1850s New England. McNees has done
impressive research, and painstakingly portrays the era’s daily
toil, the demands on health, and even the styles. It’s fascinating
(and sometimes maddening) to read about Bronson Alcott, Louisa’s
father and a well-known educational reformer and Transcendentalist
philosopher who did not financially support the family well. He
does, however, introduce his daughters to some of the era’s
best-known thinkers and art. One of the novel’s strongest scenes
occurs when Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson’s friend, recommends Walt
Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”, which has just been published."
Historical Novels Review – May 1, 2010
“… The love story of Louisa and Joseph does not end here. The rest
of the book is so compelling and well written that I hated to see it
end. Regarding Louisa, Julian Hawthorne may have been on to
something when he said, ‘Did she ever have a love affair? We never
knew. Yet how could a nature so imaginative, romantic and passionate
escape it?’ I think I have to agree with him.”
-- Susan Zabolotny
The Washington Post - April 28, 2010
"McNees gets the period details just right: the crinolines and
carriages; the spare, aesthetic plainness of 19th-century New
England. And although the love affair with Joseph is invented, she
remains faithful to the broad outlines of Alcott's biography. In
fact, "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. Devotees of 'Little Women' will
flock to this story with pleasure."
Journal Star (Lincoln, NE) – April 26, 2010
"...I gladly followed Louisa down McNees' path, enjoying it so much
I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. For those romantics among
you, it's a real keeper."
-- Barbara Rixstine
Library Journal - April 23, 2010
"…McNees deftly combines historic figures and documented aspects of
Louisa’s life with speculations about what might have been. Fans of
Little Women may be first in line to read the novel, but the book
will also appeal to others who enjoy historical romance."
The Minneapolis Star Tribune - April 18, 2010
"...It's a charming novel, grounded in scholarship and fact but
relying on imagination for the romance and fun. McNees discovered in
reading biographies of Alcott that there was one summer about which
very little was known -- the summer of 1855, right before Louisa
went off to Boston to become a writer. Here, McNees gives us that
summer, creating a bittersweet love affair for Louisa and presenting
her with the choice of marriage or career. We already know which she
chose -- there are all those lovely books -- and so McNees'
challenge was to get us there in a believable and satisfying way.
And so she did..."