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Here, at last, is the book "Jo" wrote. Generations of fans have longed to plumb that first romance, hinted at so captivatingly on the pages of "Little Women," Alcott's autobiographical classic. Now, after nearly one hundred fifty years spent among archived family documents, Louisa May Alcott's debut novel finally reaches its eager public. Set in an English country manor, t Here, at last, is the book "Jo" wrote. Generations of fans have longed to plumb that first romance, hinted at so captivatingly on the pages of "Little Women," Alcott's autobiographical classic. Now, after nearly one hundred fifty years spent among archived family documents, Louisa May Alcott's debut novel finally reaches its eager public. Set in an English country manor, the story follows the turbulent fortunes of Edith Adelon, an impoverished Italian orphan whose loyalty and beauty win her the patronage of wealthy friends until a jealous rival contrives to rob her of her position. In the locket around her neck, she carries a deep secret about her natural birthright. But an even greater truth lies hidden in Edith's heart - her deep reverence for the kind and noble Lord Percy, the only friend who can save her from the deceitful, envious machinations of Lady Ida. Reminiscent of Jane Austen in its charms, this chaste but stirringly passionate novel affirms the conquering power of both love and courtesy. Written by Louisa in 1849, when she was only 17, this book demonstrates virtue and values in a beautiful way.


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Here, at last, is the book "Jo" wrote. Generations of fans have longed to plumb that first romance, hinted at so captivatingly on the pages of "Little Women," Alcott's autobiographical classic. Now, after nearly one hundred fifty years spent among archived family documents, Louisa May Alcott's debut novel finally reaches its eager public. Set in an English country manor, t Here, at last, is the book "Jo" wrote. Generations of fans have longed to plumb that first romance, hinted at so captivatingly on the pages of "Little Women," Alcott's autobiographical classic. Now, after nearly one hundred fifty years spent among archived family documents, Louisa May Alcott's debut novel finally reaches its eager public. Set in an English country manor, the story follows the turbulent fortunes of Edith Adelon, an impoverished Italian orphan whose loyalty and beauty win her the patronage of wealthy friends until a jealous rival contrives to rob her of her position. In the locket around her neck, she carries a deep secret about her natural birthright. But an even greater truth lies hidden in Edith's heart - her deep reverence for the kind and noble Lord Percy, the only friend who can save her from the deceitful, envious machinations of Lady Ida. Reminiscent of Jane Austen in its charms, this chaste but stirringly passionate novel affirms the conquering power of both love and courtesy. Written by Louisa in 1849, when she was only 17, this book demonstrates virtue and values in a beautiful way.

30 review for The Inheritance

  1. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Only a seventeen year old could write this book. The fact that it is Louisa May Alcott only explains why a seventeen year old is writing books, but that is as far as it goes because this is no “Little Women.”. Alcott scholars were so excited to find the manuscript of her first book, “The Inheritance” during the summer of 1988. Up until then, it had never been published. There was a reason for that. The heroine, Edith Adelon, is so sweet and good that she makes the Disney princesses look like bra Only a seventeen year old could write this book. The fact that it is Louisa May Alcott only explains why a seventeen year old is writing books, but that is as far as it goes because this is no “Little Women.”. Alcott scholars were so excited to find the manuscript of her first book, “The Inheritance” during the summer of 1988. Up until then, it had never been published. There was a reason for that. The heroine, Edith Adelon, is so sweet and good that she makes the Disney princesses look like brats. Edith’s tears makes Demi Moore’s tears in “Ghost” seem like mere mist. Edith’s sweetness tames and conquers all living things around her including thieves, haughty aunts, and jealous and conniving cousins. The hero, Lord Percy, is as idealistic as his heroine so at least they can live in La La Land together. Honestly, if one of my daughters came home and introduced me to a man who treasured away a sacred medallion that contained a faded flower from his mother and the portrait of his dead sister-in-law, I would say, “Run away!! Run away!!” Just to give a taste of a young idealistic author, here is a quote from the climatic scene. I’m not giving anything away because you see it coming from page one. “Lady Edith,” said a low voice near her, and she started, for he stood before her with all his untold love shining in the earnest eyes that looked so tenderly upon her. “Forgive me that I dared to follow you, but my heart bid me come, and I am here to ask you if the love I have cherished long and silently can be returned. I never thought to tell it, but the sorrow my departure caused you woke a new hope in my heart, and I could silence it no longer. Do not think your newfound wealth and rank have tempted me, for God knows I would most joyfully have won you when most poor and friendless, for I had learned the priceless worth of a pure heart, rich in woman’s truest virtues and most holy faith. But you had said you could not give your hand to one above you in rank and wealth, and from the hour my love was hopeless, but it never died. Each day some new deed of tenderness and care, some gentle look or word of yours made it stronger and more heavy to be borne. We now are equals in mere worldly riches. Can you give your heart to one who so ill deserves the blessing you bestow and trust me with the precious gift that shall be held most sacred until death? “I can.” And, with her tearful eyes turned trustingly to him, Eidth laid her hand in his and pledged her love. “I can bring you nothing but a grateful heart, whose constancy and deep affection can never pass away. Take me poor and erring as I am, and teach me to be worthy of the great happiness I have won.” It’s no wonder that Alcott never married. Who could live up to that?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chavelli Sulikowska

    This is a sweet little "novelette" - Louisa May writing as a blossoming teenager, testing her pen and experimenting with words and ideas before she matured into the talented writer that delivered us Little Women. Clearly influenced by gothic fiction (there are strong overtones to Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre style) but also a splash of Austen innocence and a smidge of Elliot's tone. While the story line is immature, predictable and a little "rose tinted glasses", kudos must be given to the yo This is a sweet little "novelette" - Louisa May writing as a blossoming teenager, testing her pen and experimenting with words and ideas before she matured into the talented writer that delivered us Little Women. Clearly influenced by gothic fiction (there are strong overtones to Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre style) but also a splash of Austen innocence and a smidge of Elliot's tone. While the story line is immature, predictable and a little "rose tinted glasses", kudos must be given to the young writer for her imagination and gumption. Edith, our heroine is typically highly morally centered, altruistic to the point of the extreme and sometimes too kind and forgiving - sometimes, I wish these girls would be a tad more selfish and self centered!!! But alas, 'tis were the times. In the end, all ends well - she bags the man, miraculously inherits a fortune and becomes the leading lady of her own life. It was a short and sweet read, and since we can only enjoy Mr Darcy so many times over, it's good to know we can find a similar dark and brooding hero in Mr Percy!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Laura Verret

    Edith Adelon is comfortably provided for by her beloved friends, the Hamiltons, who, though she was but a lowly Italian orphan when they discovered her, have treated her with more kindness and generosity than she could have ever hoped to claim from them. The two young Hamiltons, Amy and Arthur, treat her as a beloved sister, and Lady Hamilton, though not as warm as her children, expresses a degree of affection that she deems stately. The only member of the household who dislikes Edith is Cousin Edith Adelon is comfortably provided for by her beloved friends, the Hamiltons, who, though she was but a lowly Italian orphan when they discovered her, have treated her with more kindness and generosity than she could have ever hoped to claim from them. The two young Hamiltons, Amy and Arthur, treat her as a beloved sister, and Lady Hamilton, though not as warm as her children, expresses a degree of affection that she deems stately. The only member of the household who dislikes Edith is Cousin Ida who, scheming and ambitious herself, detests Edith’s gentle, artless kindness. When Lord Percy arrives, Ida’s passive dislike for Edith develops into outright hatred. A selfless, noble man himself, he is attracted to Edith’s character and awards her with his interest despite Ida’s constant attempts to capture him for herself. When Frederick Arlington arrives and is also captivated by Edith, who finds his heavy-handed attention oppressive, Ida’s rage heats to a boiling point. Will Edith’s character be destroyed by Ida’s machinations? And when the secret of Edith’s birth becomes known, will she be accepted for who she is? Discussion. Quite by accident, I managed to read The Inheritance the day after I finished William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. The contrast between the two could not have been more striking. One was a masterful exposition of the deep horrors of human nature, forged in fire and written with rapier skill. The other is an effusion of sentimental melodrama, bred on cotton candy and carnations and written with the clumsy hand of an obvious amateur. One examined the depth of human depravity while the other boasted characters whose only thoughts were those of angelic purity. Reading the two back to back was like stepping out of an oven into a refrigerator. Simply shocking. Louisa May Alcott wrote this novel when she was seventeen. I think it likely that her young age combined with her lack of experience as a writer, love of melodrama, and transcendentalist ideals are responsible for the simplistic characters she created in The Inheritance. Because that is the single adjective which describes every element of the story – simplicity. Simplicity in plot. Simplicity in theme. And strongest of all, simplicity in character. Edith is beautiful, dark-haired, and pale faced, “with an angel’s calm and almost holy beauty, [she] bore within as holy and as pure a heart – gentle, true, and tender. Few could bear the burden of a lonely life as patiently as she.” [pg. 14] Her bright eyes often fill with tears at the kindness or meanness of others, and she inspires instant admiration in all who see her. She is described as “one who bore so meekly all the sorrows that must try a gentle heart and was so rich in pure and sinless feelings and so beautiful in all a woman’s noblest gifts.” [pg. 90] Lord Percy is a selfless, melancholic nobleman who, “careless of the wealth and honor that might be his... prized far more the purity and worth of noble human hearts, little noting whether they beat in high or low.” He chiefly occupies his time admiring Edith’s unquenchable virtues and defending or pitying her when anyone is unkind to her. Formerly disappointed in love (upon discovering that his younger brother loved the same woman as he “he nobly put away his own joy and strove to win for his younger brother the heart he so tenderly loved himself.” um wot), he soon develops a “most holy love” for Edith, yet forbears from proposing to her lest he “should wrong the friendship she so frankly gave [him] if [he] could pain her by vain offers of a love she never could return and by rank and riches that cannot buy a noble woman’s heart.” [pg. 122] Also, “His calm, pale face and serious eyes are far more beautiful than mere comeliness and grace of form, for the pure, true heart within shines clearly out and gives quiet beauty to his face, such as few possess.” [g. 8] (Added bonus, he is also “tender as a woman”.) Lady Ida, the only truly evil character, is beautiful, brilliant, proud, cold, and unmarried. With a hilarious lack of self-deception, she admits to Edith that she hates her because “You [Edith] are young and lovely, and in spite of poverty and humble birth, you win respect and admiration from those above you.” When she perceives that Lord Percy and Frederick Arlington both admire Edith, she attempts to disparage Edith’s character with a degree of clumsiness that would embarrass a half-grown puppy. Her disdainful dislike for Edith is so unskillfully displayed that everyone is able to see through her schemes and thus do not fall for them. Frederick Arlington is “selfish, passionate, discontented” and unreasonably attracted to Edith’s selfless, meek, and unassuming character. His selfish behavior consists of paying her unwanted attentions, bending admiring glances toward her blushing face, and declaring his love to her when she does not wish to hear it. But even he feels “the passion in his breast grow calm beneath the light of” Lord Percy’s “sad, earnest eyes,” and by the end of his story arc he “[feels] deeply all the sorrow he had given and the tears his selfish passion caused [Edith]”. Uh huh. Amy and Arthur are both amiable to a child-like degree. They, both beautiful and intelligent, are themselves happy and cannot imagine why anyone else would not be. They look upon Edith as a sister, and the only times their anger is roused is when someone slights Edith. None of the characters undergo any kind of character development (except Arlington – he realizes he’s annoying). But, if you think about it, there was no way they could have grown – could Edith progress beyond angelic calm and holy beauty? Could Percy, of whom it is said “few could lead so pure a life as he”, really get any better? The answer is “no” and so our characters, instead of overcoming interesting faults, instead must sadly languish under the faults of Lady Ida and Arlington. In fact, Alcott went so overboard in making Edith perfectly self-sacrificial, that she actually made her contradictory. In one scene, after Lady Ida has declared her hatred in response to Edith’s plea for friendship, Edith responds, “I have no other home but this and no friends to take me in or, much as I love Amy, I would leave her and trouble you no more.” Edith said sadly. [pg. 60] So, Edith just said she would leave Amy if another home was offered her right? Right. Fast forward eight pages to the moment that rich Lord Percy asks her to live as a companion with his aging mother and this is what we get. Edith, while the bright tears lay upon her cheek, answered sadly, “I am deeply grateful for this kindness, and were it not for Amy and the love and gratitude I owe her, I would gladly be to your mother as a faithful, loving child.” [pg. 68] In both situations Edith professed the most self-sacrificial attitude available. But in doing so, she contradicted herself with selflessness! Agggggh. Also difficult to comprehend is Lady Hamilton’s attitude when money is stolen from her and Edith is accused of being the thief. Lady Hamilton had previously stated that she regards Edith as “a friend to whom I owe a debt that I never can repay and, as a small return for the precious life she saved, I shall do all I can to make her happy.” [pg. 58], but when evidence provided by Lady Ida seems to indicate that that Edith is the thief, Lady Hamilton says, “Yes, Edith, you have sinned past my forgiveness. You have forfeited my love, my confidence, and my protection, for, in return for years of warm affection and most watchful care, you have repaid me by deceit and great ingratitude.” [pgs. 150-151] When Edith protests that she did not steal the money, but cannot tell who she believes did steal it (a bit of stupidity on her part, I grant), Lady Hamilton responds. “I can no longer give a home to one who thinks a promise given to screen guilt more binding than the gratitude of years.” [pg. 157] But later, when a servant admits to stealing the money, Lady Hamilton expands, “My poor boy, I do forgive you, led astray by others whom you trusted. ‘Tis an easy thing to sin. Your youth and your repentance have won my pardon.” [pg. 164] So, let me get this straight. When Ida, who everyone knows hates Edith, provides evidence against a beloved member of your household, you accept her testimony and prepare to evict the beloved member without mercy, but when an insignificant servant boy admits to the same crime, you graciously forgive and excuse him? Good GRACIOUS. I may sound like I’m coming down too hard on this story. The truth is, it’s harmless enough for young readers who want a bit of fairy tale fluff. But it just doesn’t have the vim to be considered classic literature. Conclusion. Good for those interested in the works of Louisa May Alcott or for those looking for “safe”, sinless literature.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا

    In 1997, The Inheritance was made into a film and it's one of my favorites! It's written by Louisa May Alcott who wrote Little Women. A 19th-century woman Edith Adelon, companion to a blue-blooded New England girl Miss Amy Hamilton, falls for an aristocrat, James Percy, but a jealous cousin to the family, a Ida Glenshaw, tries her best to destroy every chance poor Edith might have of winning James's heart! In 1997, The Inheritance was made into a film and it's one of my favorites! It's written by Louisa May Alcott who wrote Little Women. A 19th-century woman Edith Adelon, companion to a blue-blooded New England girl Miss Amy Hamilton, falls for an aristocrat, James Percy, but a jealous cousin to the family, a Ida Glenshaw, tries her best to destroy every chance poor Edith might have of winning James's heart!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lynette

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I love all of the Little Women books, so I was excited to read Louisa May Alcott's first novel. The ONLY reason this book gets two stars is because it was written by a seventeen-year-old girl. I have never liked Jane Austen, and this was like the worst Jane Austen fanfic ever. Edith, our heroine, is the most beautiful, perfect, sweet, gentle, selfless character ever devised. She has zero faults. She even loves the people who hate her. She cries silent, bright tears when her fragile emotions are hu I love all of the Little Women books, so I was excited to read Louisa May Alcott's first novel. The ONLY reason this book gets two stars is because it was written by a seventeen-year-old girl. I have never liked Jane Austen, and this was like the worst Jane Austen fanfic ever. Edith, our heroine, is the most beautiful, perfect, sweet, gentle, selfless character ever devised. She has zero faults. She even loves the people who hate her. She cries silent, bright tears when her fragile emotions are hurt, but she never lets anyone see. I was picturing her as a dark-haired Cinderella. I told my husband that she probably farts butterflies. For god's sake, she sneaks off to cheer sick people. She saved Amy from falling off a cliff, then sadly realizes she has to leave her scarf dangling from a tree because they have to get Amy back to the house. (Not because it's too dangerous to go get it, mind you, but that they don't have TIME.) Lord Percy also has no faults, to the point that Edith's other suitor is practically demonized for expressing his feelings. Percy never intends really to tell Edith he loves her. They both walk around in a selfless daze helping the poor and pretending not to like each other. Amy is a goofball. A kind, sympathetic, loveable goofball. Lady Ida is as one-dimensional as the rest, but even she feels guilty for hating such a kind, sweet creature as Edith. All of the incidental characters rave over how lovely and giving she is. It made me want to vomit. Midway through the book, I started to root for Lady Ida. And, of course, poor, rankless Edith turns out to be the unknown daughter, making her the heiress, but because she is so kind and gentle, she attempts to destroy all evidence of it so that the others will never know, so she can save them pain. Ugh. As I said, this book only gets two stars because Alcott wrote it as a teenager, and it was her first book. Otherwise, it would be little better than Twilight.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    Throughly enjoyable! This was my first Allcot and I was given it for Christmas by a wonderful friend and I am so glad she did! The hero who was so kind and loving and caring! The heroine was sweet and the whole story was delightful. There were some very dislikable characters (who had me shouting at the book!) and some bubbly characters who were great to read about! There were a few events in the plot that were left hanging or that seemed to sort themselves out rather quickly but it didn't matter Throughly enjoyable! This was my first Allcot and I was given it for Christmas by a wonderful friend and I am so glad she did! The hero who was so kind and loving and caring! The heroine was sweet and the whole story was delightful. There were some very dislikable characters (who had me shouting at the book!) and some bubbly characters who were great to read about! There were a few events in the plot that were left hanging or that seemed to sort themselves out rather quickly but it didn't matter :) she was only 17 when she wrote this - I would not be able to do anything half so good as this!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah Morris

    2.5 stars In the version I read (Penguin Classics) the first quarter of the book was an introduction and while the part about Louisa May Alcott’s life was interesting, the writer decided to pretty much explain and analyze the entire plot of the story. So if you read this version, skip the introduction until after you read the book. Unless you want the story spoiled. (And some things described one way that didn’t feel that way in the actual book.) It was pretty easy telling this story was written b 2.5 stars In the version I read (Penguin Classics) the first quarter of the book was an introduction and while the part about Louisa May Alcott’s life was interesting, the writer decided to pretty much explain and analyze the entire plot of the story. So if you read this version, skip the introduction until after you read the book. Unless you want the story spoiled. (And some things described one way that didn’t feel that way in the actual book.) It was pretty easy telling this story was written by a young writer. While the overall plot was interesting, and some things were good, there was a feeling of drama, and exaggeration that kept me from fully enjoying the story. And I got really tired of reading about people with pale faces. That was used over 44 times in the book to describe people’s faces. I was starting to wonder if they were all in ill health. And the way they talked to each other was a bit over the top. Overall, the story was okay, but needed some serious rewriting. I liked the Featured Films for Family movie version much better than the book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    From IMDb: At the lush Evenswood estate in Concord, Massachusetts, Edith Adelon, a beautiful orphan, lives as the paid companion to the daughter of the wealthy Hamilton family, although they regard her as one of their own. Years ago, Henry Hamilton saved Edith from an Italian orphanage at the request of his long-deceased brother. Now, Edith is his daughter Amy's prized friend and confidante. As the Hamiltons await a trio of visitors for the annual Greens Cup horse race, Beatrice Hamilton asks for From IMDb: At the lush Evenswood estate in Concord, Massachusetts, Edith Adelon, a beautiful orphan, lives as the paid companion to the daughter of the wealthy Hamilton family, although they regard her as one of their own. Years ago, Henry Hamilton saved Edith from an Italian orphanage at the request of his long-deceased brother. Now, Edith is his daughter Amy's prized friend and confidante. As the Hamiltons await a trio of visitors for the annual Greens Cup horse race, Beatrice Hamilton asks for Edith's help in finding a suitable husband for a cousin, Ida Glenshaw, with one of two visiting eligible bachelors. But when it becomes clear that both the young men have affection for Edith and not Ida, jealousy soon develops, leading to malicious conniving and brutal backstabbing. A movie was made based on this book and it is available at YouTube. Believed to be the author's first work, written in 1849.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mela

    It is a sweet, lovely story written by seventeen-year-old girl. Louisa May Alcott was a wise and observant writer from the beginning. Her first novel isn't very subtle. Mostly it is a love story and the story about how much a human needs another human to love. It is rather easy to predict (save one surprising event). Nonetheless, I have had a nice time like I was listening a pretty, enjoyable melody. The melody I was hearing for the first time although her familiarity have warmed my heart. Perha It is a sweet, lovely story written by seventeen-year-old girl. Louisa May Alcott was a wise and observant writer from the beginning. Her first novel isn't very subtle. Mostly it is a love story and the story about how much a human needs another human to love. It is rather easy to predict (save one surprising event). Nonetheless, I have had a nice time like I was listening a pretty, enjoyable melody. The melody I was hearing for the first time although her familiarity have warmed my heart. Perhaps, this book simply touches our purest needs, dreams and faith in a human being.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tarissa

    There are two of Louisa May Alcott's novels that were published posthumously -- much to the delight of her modern readers. Both were released to the public in the 1990s -- ages after Louisa's death. As I had read one of those novels last June during the L.M.A. reading challenge (A Long Fatal Love Chase), I decided to read the other title (The Inheritance) for this year's challenge. This one is, after all, Louisa's very first novel. While she didn't get it published, it is something we can relish There are two of Louisa May Alcott's novels that were published posthumously -- much to the delight of her modern readers. Both were released to the public in the 1990s -- ages after Louisa's death. As I had read one of those novels last June during the L.M.A. reading challenge (A Long Fatal Love Chase), I decided to read the other title (The Inheritance) for this year's challenge. This one is, after all, Louisa's very first novel. While she didn't get it published, it is something we can relish in now. Perhaps the writing style has some ameteur moments, but I must say that it seems rather well put together. It's a bit like seeing tidbits of the infancy of Little Women -- and that being one of my favorite classic novels, this excites me. It is such a sweet story, with some quality morals filtered in. We have good vs. evil. We have little twinges of romance. We have a decadently British setting, with some Italian flair thrown in. Plus a cast of peculiar characters akin to ones that Dickens himself might create. All this from an American 17-year-old who lived back in the 19th century! Louisa had an amazing imagination, even when she'd hardly begun piecing together stories. Edith Adelon is one of my favorite new heroines. I adore her pure and pleasant spirit, and her servant's heart. (I say the latter not in regard to her position held in the Hamilton household, but spiritually, emotionally, in her she conducts her decisions. She thrives by pleasing others.) And she is a lovely girl that anyone should be happy to call on as a friend. Minimum age to enjoy: 10 to Adult. I'm so glad that The Inheritance was located by just the right people, even so much time after Miss Alcott's death, and shared for the world to enjoy. It is a pleasure to read. - - - - - - - - - - - - This book was read during the Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge found on: https://inthebookcase.blogspot.com

  11. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    My friend Erin gave me this movie for Christmas when we were in high school. At some point, I learned it was a novel first and I've wanted to read it ever since. Last spring, I ran across a copy at a thrift store and this month, my book club decided to read it together. At first I wasn't sure what to think. I've watched the movie so many times that there wasn't much going on in the book that came as a surprise. The plot and characters were simple and predictable. The bad guys were deplorable and My friend Erin gave me this movie for Christmas when we were in high school. At some point, I learned it was a novel first and I've wanted to read it ever since. Last spring, I ran across a copy at a thrift store and this month, my book club decided to read it together. At first I wasn't sure what to think. I've watched the movie so many times that there wasn't much going on in the book that came as a surprise. The plot and characters were simple and predictable. The bad guys were deplorable and the good ones were angelic. I put it aside to read other things... Then, I picked it back up and flew through the second half. In those pages, something happened. I began to appreciate the depth of motives and thoughts that Alcott understood as she proved in the lines she gave to several of the characters. It's been said that she was 17 when she wrote this. It shows at times, but at other times, it reminds us that age truly is only a number. The last chapter alone is beautiful. It bumped it up to a four star book for me. No spoilers, but there couldn't be a better ending. I'll say this...It's better than the ways Austen tied up both P & P and Persuasion. Get yourselfva copy of this little novel. Read it, enjoy it, and tell your friends about it. Oh, and THEN watch the movie. April-Mayish

  12. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    This was Alcott's first novel, written when she was 17. Had I not known that, I don't think I would have been able to get through it. But I was interested in seeing how her earlier works of fiction compared to Little Women, and later books. I think the point made to Jo in Little Women, that you should write about what you know, may have been learned by Louisa in early attempts at writing, such as this one. This book was just so sterile--none of the characters seemed real and the storyline was ve This was Alcott's first novel, written when she was 17. Had I not known that, I don't think I would have been able to get through it. But I was interested in seeing how her earlier works of fiction compared to Little Women, and later books. I think the point made to Jo in Little Women, that you should write about what you know, may have been learned by Louisa in early attempts at writing, such as this one. This book was just so sterile--none of the characters seemed real and the storyline was very predictable. Night and day compared to Little Women.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Vampire-lk

    Absolutely love this novel this is one of my all time favourites I cannot believe I do not have this book already recorded on this site!!!! No joke if I could I would give this novel 10 million stars!!!!!! So nostalgic it’s fun at the best feeling whenever I read this I’m right down memory lane I just absolutely love Louisa May Allcott & her whole writing style as well as the time period it is set in just everything is amazing!!!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    It's obvious this book is no Little Women, but Alcott wrote this at 17. 17! I could never have written a novel this charming (or at all) at 17. The characters are all pretty one-dimensional and the plot is fairly predictable, but it is absolutely delightful. I adored it. It's obvious this book is no Little Women, but Alcott wrote this at 17. 17! I could never have written a novel this charming (or at all) at 17. The characters are all pretty one-dimensional and the plot is fairly predictable, but it is absolutely delightful. I adored it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I love the movie that was based on this book. Honestly, it was better. This isn't really that surprising as this was the authors first book and has a lot of flaws. Yet, it is also sweet and fun to see one of my favorite author's first books. I love the movie that was based on this book. Honestly, it was better. This isn't really that surprising as this was the authors first book and has a lot of flaws. Yet, it is also sweet and fun to see one of my favorite author's first books.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    3.5 stars. I loved reading Louisa May Alcott's first book, written at age 17! It was a quick read...the villainess was truly horrible...the story very simple. All in all a good book. 3.5 stars. I loved reading Louisa May Alcott's first book, written at age 17! It was a quick read...the villainess was truly horrible...the story very simple. All in all a good book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I watched a movie called The Inheritance a year or so ago and as soon as I picked up this book, I realized the movie was based off this book. I read this book for The Literary Life Podcast reading challenge for the category of “lesser known title by a well known author “.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Summer Lane

    So interesting. Louisa May Alcott is a treasure, and it was fascinating to read this very short novel, which is projected to have been penned when Alcott was just 17 years-old. You can tell that she was very young when she wrote it, and - being the highly autobiographical writer that she tended to be - she integrated much of her own feelings and passion into it. Worth a read...and it's amusing to note that the words "pale," "pure," and "cheek," were used on at least every page. This book was nev So interesting. Louisa May Alcott is a treasure, and it was fascinating to read this very short novel, which is projected to have been penned when Alcott was just 17 years-old. You can tell that she was very young when she wrote it, and - being the highly autobiographical writer that she tended to be - she integrated much of her own feelings and passion into it. Worth a read...and it's amusing to note that the words "pale," "pure," and "cheek," were used on at least every page. This book was never published while Alcott was alive, I don't think. So it seems like a story that a teenage girl wrote for fun...which was exactly what it was! That really makes it fun to read, and impossible to criticize!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I laugh only to keep from crying.... I thought the movie was bad. Well, at least the book has the excuse that it was written by a 17 year old. (What is the movie's excuse?) Sugar sweet perfect characters whose eyes well up with tears at the sight of...a painting. Beautiful scenery. Good deeds. Innocent heroine who dislikes being complimented...or proposed to. Hero who stays for like months? Well...to say something nice, it was well paced. Just not something I'll likely reread. I laugh only to keep from crying.... I thought the movie was bad. Well, at least the book has the excuse that it was written by a 17 year old. (What is the movie's excuse?) Sugar sweet perfect characters whose eyes well up with tears at the sight of...a painting. Beautiful scenery. Good deeds. Innocent heroine who dislikes being complimented...or proposed to. Hero who stays for like months? Well...to say something nice, it was well paced. Just not something I'll likely reread.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I LOVED this book written by Louisa May Alcott...dug up out of the attic, after so many years, as Louisa's first novel! I found that thought fabulous. I read it without high expectation and having read negative reviews, wasn't expecting much. I think this helped in my enjoyment level. Taken into consideration that this was her very first novel, written at only age seventeen; I thought it was great! For the very same reasons so many reviewers did not like the story, I had the adverse reaction. I I LOVED this book written by Louisa May Alcott...dug up out of the attic, after so many years, as Louisa's first novel! I found that thought fabulous. I read it without high expectation and having read negative reviews, wasn't expecting much. I think this helped in my enjoyment level. Taken into consideration that this was her very first novel, written at only age seventeen; I thought it was great! For the very same reasons so many reviewers did not like the story, I had the adverse reaction. I found the characters to be very real and love-able. There are truly good people out there! I don't think the character was too morally good and/or honest. Isn't that we are lacking in the characters of today's books, and certainly, in today's world? Maybe if we read more good, wholesome books like this, we would have a better society. Our icons and role models could be that of high character. Where evil lurks in the selfish actions of others, without being demonic. I highly commend Alcott for her first novel. She didn't publish it herself; obviously, it wasn't up to her publishing standard, but a great attempt for a first novel!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    I should be more lenient towards this novel as Alcott was only 17 when she wrote it and her life experience at the time must have been minimal. Furthermore, she was writing for a market - sentimental, romantic fiction was all the rage and exactly what most women read at the time. But the characters were cardboard, it was so sentimental that saccharine would have seemed bitter by comparison, and the plot (what little there was) was predictable and a bit ridiculous. Everyone seemed to cry at the d I should be more lenient towards this novel as Alcott was only 17 when she wrote it and her life experience at the time must have been minimal. Furthermore, she was writing for a market - sentimental, romantic fiction was all the rage and exactly what most women read at the time. But the characters were cardboard, it was so sentimental that saccharine would have seemed bitter by comparison, and the plot (what little there was) was predictable and a bit ridiculous. Everyone seemed to cry at the drop of a hat and as for Edith Adelon, she was so 'good' and 'angelic' I wanted to give her a slap. But of course, I accept that I am judging it by the standards of 21st Century cynicism so it probably isn't that fair. However I just couldn't find much in it to enjoy and normally, I really love the Classics.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maria Birnell

    I was so excited to find this book at the library and couldn't wait to dive into Alcott's first novel. I was sorely disappointed and can only fathom that it was not what I had hoped because she wrote it at 17 and had not developed her style yet. I felt this book was badly in need of editing. This novel is so sentimental it seemed more like a bad soap opera than the beautiful, albeit moral, tale I expected from the author of "Little Women," which is one of my favorite stories. There were a few ch I was so excited to find this book at the library and couldn't wait to dive into Alcott's first novel. I was sorely disappointed and can only fathom that it was not what I had hoped because she wrote it at 17 and had not developed her style yet. I felt this book was badly in need of editing. This novel is so sentimental it seemed more like a bad soap opera than the beautiful, albeit moral, tale I expected from the author of "Little Women," which is one of my favorite stories. There were a few charming passages but throughout most of the story I was annoyed with the characters for being so absurdly righteous and uptight about EVERYTHING. I really wanted to shake the main character and tell her to live a little already.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Eirini Robin

    I give this book 5 stars as it is a pure romantic english story that I so much missed reading :) The plot is slightly predictable but, as it usually happens in the books that were written many many years ago, it has got a hapy ending (view spoiler)[with lord Percy getting married to the not-as-poor-as-she-might-have-thought Edith. (hide spoiler)] :) I also liked the fact that I did NOT come across a little dystopian novel but one of the not-so-famous classic books ^__^ It was a totally random "p I give this book 5 stars as it is a pure romantic english story that I so much missed reading :) The plot is slightly predictable but, as it usually happens in the books that were written many many years ago, it has got a hapy ending (view spoiler)[with lord Percy getting married to the not-as-poor-as-she-might-have-thought Edith. (hide spoiler)] :) I also liked the fact that I did NOT come across a little dystopian novel but one of the not-so-famous classic books ^__^ It was a totally random "pick up" at the library and as it accidentaly came to me, I had to read it! *I love it when it happens! Makes you feel magical, haha!*

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I had never heard of this book, and I'm glad to have read it! Louisa May Alcott's first novel, written when she was 17! The plot is basic and predictable, the characters are pretty one dimensional, but the writing is just lovely and flows well. The style reminded me of Jane Austen more than that of Alcott's Little Women, but I can see themes and characters she used in that later classic. I found it somewhat hard to relate to Edith, the main character, because she is just SO ridiculously nice and I had never heard of this book, and I'm glad to have read it! Louisa May Alcott's first novel, written when she was 17! The plot is basic and predictable, the characters are pretty one dimensional, but the writing is just lovely and flows well. The style reminded me of Jane Austen more than that of Alcott's Little Women, but I can see themes and characters she used in that later classic. I found it somewhat hard to relate to Edith, the main character, because she is just SO ridiculously nice and selfless. (Let's not think too hard about what that says about me! ha) Nevertheless, this was a quick, enjoyable little book to read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    RATING: 3.5 STARS (Review Not on Blog) Please note, this novel was set in Jane Austen's England. I was watching a made for TV movie and saw that the screenplay was based on a novel written by Louisa May Alcott. What???!!! I had never heard of this novel and soon found out that it had been discovered after her death. It is a great story about a woman and her right to her inheritance. Alcott wrote this at 17, and it is well-written. RATING: 3.5 STARS (Review Not on Blog) Please note, this novel was set in Jane Austen's England. I was watching a made for TV movie and saw that the screenplay was based on a novel written by Louisa May Alcott. What???!!! I had never heard of this novel and soon found out that it had been discovered after her death. It is a great story about a woman and her right to her inheritance. Alcott wrote this at 17, and it is well-written.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Noelle

    I love this genre of literature. Wealthy families in 1800's England with nothing to do but explore their extensive grounds and castles, gossip, overreact, and fall in love. If it was a movie, I would watch it again and again until my husband ran mad by my quoting it. Very Austen-like. I love this genre of literature. Wealthy families in 1800's England with nothing to do but explore their extensive grounds and castles, gossip, overreact, and fall in love. If it was a movie, I would watch it again and again until my husband ran mad by my quoting it. Very Austen-like.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    Really two-dimensional characters, hackneyed plot, but oddly readable despite those things. Perhaps it's just because Alcott's style is so familiar and beloved? Really two-dimensional characters, hackneyed plot, but oddly readable despite those things. Perhaps it's just because Alcott's style is so familiar and beloved?

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laurel L. Perez

    Let me sum up without spoilers (likely Alcott's first book written at age 17): Edith: Boys fall all over her because she is pretty and good. Has the chance to gain power, doesn't do if because of her thanks to the family that took her in. Amy: "I love Edith like a sister! I have no traits other fawning over Edith and pretty things." Lady Ida: "I'm a raging jealous c***! I will be a dick to Edith because I have money and she doesn't, and the boys don't like me like they like her. I'll even make her Let me sum up without spoilers (likely Alcott's first book written at age 17): Edith: Boys fall all over her because she is pretty and good. Has the chance to gain power, doesn't do if because of her thanks to the family that took her in. Amy: "I love Edith like a sister! I have no traits other fawning over Edith and pretty things." Lady Ida: "I'm a raging jealous c***! I will be a dick to Edith because I have money and she doesn't, and the boys don't like me like they like her. I'll even make her avoid everyone and still be a b****. Also, I'll throw her under the bus, because I am a self-serving sh**". Lord Arlington: "I love Edith because she is pure! But I am creepy AF and pushy trying to make her mine!" Lord Percy: Ultimately the savior of this book, though a little too watchful of an"friend". There are two Arthurs, that's confusing. Lady Hamilton: Mean but nice, but easily swayed. Um some rich people parties happen, and then some lies and intrigue. Everyone loves happily ever after, ha ha ha ha (ha in a haughty tone). So, this is a short little novella, and we'll edited. I was intrigued the whole time. I hated some characters, and while not all of it is super believable, it is a fun book for it's time.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Brown

    Louissa May Alcott's first novel, written at 17 years old, and the manuscript that remained unpublished until 1997, after the handwritten manuscript was discovered in the Harvard library in 1988 by researchers who were writing a book on her life. The Inheritance is set in England, and is the story of Edith Adelon, an Italian orphan who came to live with a wealthy family. Because of Edith's goodness and true and loyal heart, she wins the love and devotion of her benefactors, all but Ida, a cousin Louissa May Alcott's first novel, written at 17 years old, and the manuscript that remained unpublished until 1997, after the handwritten manuscript was discovered in the Harvard library in 1988 by researchers who were writing a book on her life. The Inheritance is set in England, and is the story of Edith Adelon, an Italian orphan who came to live with a wealthy family. Because of Edith's goodness and true and loyal heart, she wins the love and devotion of her benefactors, all but Ida, a cousin of the family that is jealous of Edith. But when a mysterious stranger brings proof of who Edith really is, she must either reveal who she is and risk everything, or hide the truth and keep things as they are. A very sweet and pure story, and although it is a little lacking in character development and depth, it is a beautiful story with a wonderful moral. And I absolutely love the story behind the novel.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    The Inheritance is Louisa May Alcott's first novel written when she was seventeen years old. The novel was found in the Houghton Library at Harvard University in 1988 by Joel Myerson and Daniel Shealy in its original handwritten manuscript in 1988. Written in 1849, The Inheritance would be almost 150 years old before being published in 1997. It has been called "Jo's book" from Alcott's alter-ego Jo from Little Women. I found the novel just wonderful reading! The characters and the story line held The Inheritance is Louisa May Alcott's first novel written when she was seventeen years old. The novel was found in the Houghton Library at Harvard University in 1988 by Joel Myerson and Daniel Shealy in its original handwritten manuscript in 1988. Written in 1849, The Inheritance would be almost 150 years old before being published in 1997. It has been called "Jo's book" from Alcott's alter-ego Jo from Little Women. I found the novel just wonderful reading! The characters and the story line held my attention through the entire novel. The morals and virtues taught in the novel are missing from much modern and post-modern literature. Reading The Inheritance was both an entertaining and an uplifting experience. I highly recommend this 19th century romance novel to both young and old readers alike. Five Stars!

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