(Review) The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees

Paperback cover. 
Publication: Amy Einhorn Books/G. P. Putnam's Sons a member of Penguin Group USA, April 1, 2010.
Genre: Historical Fiction.
Format: Hardcover.
Pages: 352.
Rating: 4 Stars for Very Good.
Source: I won a hardcover copy of the book. It has been in my to be read pile such a long time I don't remember who sent me the book.

The book is available at Amazon.

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, is loosely based on the life of the private author Louisa May Alcott. The time period of the story is July to November 1855. However, the story begins and ends with Alcott as a 48 year old woman reflecting on her life.
Louisa is the second daughter in a family of four daughters. Her oldest sister is sensible Anna. The younger sisters are Lizzie and May. Their hardworking and long-suffering mother is named Marmee. Their head-in-the-clouds father is Bronson.
The Alcott family lives in financial poverty. They depend on "charity" from family and friends. The family has recently moved to Walpole, New Hampshire.
Bronson is a speaker and author for the Transcendentalism movement. He makes little money, but he boasts and dreams large ideas.
The family is friends with the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. A new poet Walt Whitman is introduced. The girls are taught to value intellect, reason, free-thinking, and independence.
Louisa is anxious to begin her life away from the family and live in Boston. She is a writer and wants to pursue writing full-time.
On the cusp of her freedom she meets Joseph Singer. Will their relationship change her plans?

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed reading the story.
It is a quick read.
I saw many similarities between The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott and Little Women. 
There are strong descriptive scenes of humanity, bringing intimacy and warmth to the story. Marmee's body language, voice, reactions, and affects on her daughters made an impression on me.
Bronson is a selfish, emotionally unhealthy man. He is abusive in his neglect, but does not see himself this way. He has an inflated ego. His family is patient and forgiving to him.
After reading the story I can understand Louisa's behavior and choices. But I don't have to like them.
The story is not a happy ending. People who are readers of Louisa May Alcott already know a little about her life and will not be surprised by The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott. However, there is a poetic beauty to this story that I loved.
"We must never give if we are hoping for something in return." A quote from Marmee. Photograph of Louisa May Alcott.