This was the September selection for the Salt Water Reads Book Club, and may I just say that Elise Hooper is a LOVELY person! She was present for the end of the month book club discussion and answered everyone’s questions!
May Alcott is an aspiring artist, who is always living in the shadow of her sister, Louisa, who wrote the infamous book, Little Women. May grows up longing to experience the world beyond Concord, Massachusetts, taking art lessons and turning down a marriage proposal from a well-to-do suitor, and facing scorn for what is very much a man’s profession. The Alcott family never had it easy, so when Little Women was published, the success of Louisa’s book eased the financial burdens they faced for so many years. Little Women is well received but May is upset and offended by the portrayal of spoiled and selfish Amy March, as the character is based on her. May loves her sister but decides to find her own path to discovery as she no longer wants to live in her shadow.
“May never understood where the soul resided, but now she had a sense of it. It was an energy inside her, a burn to move forward, a longing to love.”
I will be the first to admit… I would’ve never thought to read this if it wasn’t for this awesome book club. But I’m certainly glad I did! I am one of those people that has never read Little Women – it wasn’t on purpose, it just never happened. Now I feel like I know them, at least May and Louisa, as well as their family dynamic. I really love how progressive they were for the late 19th century and how they were encouraged to pursue their dreams as artists and writers.
This story is told through the eyes of May and it shows her journey to become an artist while also living in the shadow of her famous sister, Louisa, who is a beloved writer. This is a close knit family and I think Hooper does a great job showing the love they have for each other but also portraying the jealousy and resentment as well. I loved being transported to Europe as May discovered herself as artist, and as a person. I also enjoyed all of the art references as some of my favorite artists were mentioned in the book. I thought the story was very well-written and I truly enjoyed it!!
I rate it an ENJOYABLE 4 / 5 stars!
“She [May] remembered what Marmee used to say: It’s none of your business what other people think of you.”
(Reminds me of something my great grandma would say)