In The Other Alcott, Elise Hooper writes an homage to Louisa May Alcott's younger sister, May. Hooper discovered that May Alcott had drawn the illustrations for her sister's bestselling novel, Little Women, but May's art was panned by most critics. From that jumping point, Hooper imagines a May who is independent, stubborn, talented, and driven.
Tracking May's life from the sisters' beloved Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts, to Boston, and then on to England, Italy, and Paris, Hooper's story shows just how practically impossible it was for women to pursue a livelihood in art in the late 1800s. Addressing themes of sisterhood, jealousy, indebtedness, the frantic fight for acceptance, and the devastating crush of rejection, Hooper gives us a lovely historical story about the necessities of family, love, artistic expression, and joy. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
"Her adventures illuminate the world of intrepid female artists in the late 1800’s […] The Other Alcott comes alive in its development of the relationship between Louisa and May." The New York Times
"Elise Hooper's thoroughly modern debut gives a fresh take on one of literature's most beloved families. To read this book is to understand why the women behind Little Women continue to cast a long shadow on our imaginations and dreams. Hooper is a writer to watch." Elisabeth Egan, author of A Window Opens
Elise Hooper's debut novel conjures the fascinating, untold story of May Alcott--Louisa's youngest sister and an artist in her own right.
We all know the story of the March sisters, heroines of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. But while everyone cheers on Jo March, based on Louisa herself, Amy March is often the least favorite sister. Now, it's time to learn the truth about the real "Amy," Louisa's sister, May.
Stylish, outgoing, creative, May Alcott grows up longing to experience the wide world beyond Concord, Massachusetts. While her sister Louisa crafts stories, May herself is a talented and dedicated artist, taking lessons in Boston, turning down a marriage proposal from a well-off suitor, and facing scorn for entering what is very much a man's profession.
Life for the Alcott family has never been easy, so when Louisa's Little Women is published, its success eases the financial burdens they'd faced for so many years. Everyone agrees the novel is charming, but May is struck to the core by the portrayal of selfish, spoiled "Amy March." Is this what her beloved sister really thinks of her?
So May embarks on a quest to discover her own true identity, as an artist and a woman. From Boston to Rome, London, and Paris, this brave, talented, and determined woman forges an amazing life of her own, making her so much more than merely "The Other Alcott."
About the Author
Though a New Englander by birth (and at heart), Elise Hooper lives with her husband and two young daughters in Seattle, where she teaches history and literature.