November 3, 2009

Classics Bookclub: The Inheritance

Classics Bookclub

This month's Classics Bookclub offered the opportunity to read anything by Louisa May Alcott. I chose The Inheritance because it was set in 19th Century England (my favorite, you know).

The Inheritance is Miss Alcott's first novel. She wrote it when she was just 17, but it wasn't found and published until after her death. It's the story of Edith Adelon, an orphan who's been raised by the wealthy Hamilton family as a companion for their daughter, Amy. Edith is sometimes treated as a member of the family, and sometimes as just a servant. She doesn't seem to fit in either world. Her beauty, grace, and sweetness earn her the respect and admiration of James Percy, and draw the ire of the Hamilton's cousin, Ida. As James seeks to protect Edith, they find themselves heading toward a relationship that society forbids.

I adore Little Women, and I really wanted to feel the same about The Inheritance. I like the idea of the story, and I think she created some interesting characters. But, this was Miss Alcott's first novel, and obviously so. It's a valiant first effort, but (for me) not as engaging as her best-known work. (Updated to add: I do applaud her for writing a novel at 17. I wouldn't/couldn't have tackled that! It wasn't terrible, and reading it allowed me to see how much she grew as a writer.)

Have you read any other Alcott? I'm anxious to see what other Bookclub participants have to say.


Unknown said...

Yeah--a 17 year old living in Massachusetts and writing about 19th century England? Perhaps she had a lot to learn.

But I'm glad you tackled something new.

Stephanie Kay said...

I can't imagine writing a whole novel when I was 17!!! Thank you for sharing about an Alcott book I've never read. :)

Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

You just reminded me that I do have this one. I need to pull it out. Here is mine

Lisa Spence said...

I checked it out of the library but ended up reading my old favorite, Little Women!

Carrie said...

I hadn't heard of this one before and I enjoyed reading your perspective of it. I suppose there always ARE reasons why some books are more popular than others. Nevertheless, it's fun to read the lesser known works now and again.