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The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott

The Inheritance (edition 1997)

by Louisa May Alcott

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7202513,063 (3.44)25
Title:The Inheritance
Authors:Louisa May Alcott
Info:Dutton Juvenile (1997), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 160 pages
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The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott



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It's sappy, sweet, and entirely unrealistic... but still, don't we all need something like this every once in a while. ( )
  Half-elf28 | Jun 1, 2016 |
I had to keep two things in mind while I read this. The first was that Alcott wrote this when she was only 17, with no apparent intention to publish it. The second was that sentimental novels were very popular at the time. Even with those facts in mind, I couldn't help laughing at some of the overblown melodrama. Edith, the heroine, is purest of the pure, a paragon of all the virtues (and talents, too). We are presented with such priceless lines as this, from Edith to the villainess of the story: "How one so poor and humble as myself can injure you I cannot tell, but if it is so, do not hate me for the wrong I may have innocently done you, but tell me how I can escape it for the future, and I gladly will obey you." I wish I had read it in ebook format, just so I could search for the phrase "poor and humble", and find out how often it is used. It is practically a catchphrase in the book.

I won't be rereading this , but I'm glad that I read it once. It was easy to trace the roots of Alcott's writing talent. There is an introduction in my book that looks at the influences of the sentimental novel, the Gothic romance, and theatrical melodrama on The Inheritance. Alcott was very familiar with the popular fiction of the time, as well as the classics. Edith is a far cry from the very human and prickly Jo March, but she is not that far removed from Polly in An Old-Fashioned Girl. Polly has a more developed personality, and a sunny spirit, while Edith really only exists as a compilation of virtues. The florid moralizations were toned down in later novels, but by no means disappeared. The book is very much of its time, without the strong characterizations, humour, and sense of the ordinary that give some of her later works their lasting appeal. But for a novel written by a 17-year-old in 1849, The Inheritance shows signs of great things to come.
  SylviaC | Dec 23, 2015 |
Being an avid reader, a lot of people assume that I have read a lot of books, and that is a wonderful assumption and it is pretty much true but what they are thinking is that I have read a lot of the classic books. Anything by Jane Austin, Dickins, Orwell, Bronte... just to name a few. The true is, I have never gotten into those books, they were forced on students when I was in school and I hate reading because I have to. So I don't have a lot of knowledge when it comes to the "classics". I am fine with that. Where is this going.... well that means I have never read anything by Louisa May Alcott - nope, no Little Women... sorry.

So as part of my library summer challenge we were told to read a LMA book and I chose a nice small one to start out with. The Inheritance is a very short, almost novella style book about a family and their many friends, about class and wealth, and about humility and virtue. It was very good. It was a realistic yet romanticized portrayal of the world the characters were living in. The writing itself is always what throws me when it comes to classics - they are very verbose. I like books that throw you into a plot and run with it, not just talk about it.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I am very much happy that I have finally read something by this author but I think I will be happy returning to my modern YA and MG books for now. ( )
  sszkutak | Oct 2, 2015 |
If you're in the mood for a quick, predictable romance then The Inheritance is perfect for you. As far as the historical record goes, I'm quite glad that this previously unpublished work has now seen the light of day. It's fascinating to see the first novel from one of America's most beloved authors. From a reader's perspective, however, the book fell a bit flat. It is definitely a product of the times in which it was written. The main character is without flaw and is the embodiment of what it meant to be a noblewoman. From the opening pages, I knew what the ending would be and the twists of the narrative weren't so much twists as twitches. That being said, if you are a fan of Louisa May Alcott and you're curious as to where she started from in order to reach the upper echelons of literature then you should go and pick up a copy of The Inheritance. ( )
  AliceaP | Apr 18, 2015 |
Strange to think that this was not published until a century and a half Louisa's death. Impressive to think that she was just 17 when she hand-wrote this in her red book before she became famous.

I liked this much more than I expected to. I didn't have high hopes when bearing in mind Louisa's young age and her keeping the novel quiet because either she or someone she trusted thought it weak. Glad to be proved wrong.

The story isn't one with twists and turns, murder and mayhem, but is essentially a portrait of how a group of rich people live from day to day, plus how governess Edith - the main character - fits into the heart of their lives and her charitable actions for the poor.

There is some moralistic preaching evident throughout the narrative but it's not sickly-sweet or forced down your throat.

The characters are all aptly portrayed. Although Edith is somewhat too good to be true, I don't think this spoils anything. I found this character very endearing.

I also like Lord Percy. He's the epitome of what makes a good gentleman. He makes some of the most eloquent speeches in the book. It's a shame in some respects that the English-speaking world converse so very differently to how out nineteenth-century ancestors did.

Overall, Miss Alcott's first novel was a pleasant read. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Mar 3, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Louisa May Alcottprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Myerson, JoelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shealy, DanielEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In a green park, where troops of bright-eyed deer lay sleeping under drooping trees and a clear lake mirrored in its bosom the flowers that grew upon its edge, there stood Lord Hamilton's stately home, half castle and half mansion.
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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.… (more)

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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