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Behind a Mask: The Unknown Thrillers Of…

Behind a Mask: The Unknown Thrillers Of Louisa May Alcott

by Louisa May Alcott

Other authors: Madeleine B. Stern (Editor)

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Read during Summer 2004

Gothic Thrillers, rediscovered in the 80's and 90's. Well-written, if a bit sentimental at times. I particularly liked Pauline's Passion and Punishment for it's more wordly revenge sentiments.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
Not quite as thrilling as the title would have led me to believe. The first story was fairly good, a little longer than it needed to be, but the second story was just terrible which turned me off reading the 3rd one. ( )
  castironskillet | Aug 13, 2013 |
Quite different from the Little Woman series of books and 8 cousins and the books that were part of that series.

This book is about a woman looking for security in a society that discriminates against them. When a woman with no family had limited options and was held to a much higher standard of conduct then others. Miss Alcott writes with much attention to detail that is not overbearing or too wordy, and with a keen understanding of what it is like to be powerless in one sense and use one’s strengths to ones advantage. ( )
  BellaFoxx | Apr 5, 2013 |
Some gothic potboilers from the author of "Little Women" -- Historically important, paid her bills, but not really all that good, really dime novel grade stuff ( )
  Georges_T._Dodds | Mar 30, 2013 |
I first heard of this book last year when I read [Old Books, Rare Friends: Two Literary Sleuths and Their Shared Passion], a biography about Madeline Stern and Leona Rostenberg. They were friends and book collectors, ferreting out rare books for their store. Madeline Stern wrote some biographies and while she was researching one on Louisa May Alcott, she discovered that like Joe from [Little Women], LMA also wrote articles under pseudonyms to help support her family before she wrote [Little Women]. The story of her search and discoveries was an interesting part of the book.

Anyway, in 1975, Ms Stern collected 4 of these short stories in this book [Behind A Mask] which are said to represent the best of this type of story that she wrote. Described as “blood and thunder” stories, they are relatively tame by today’s standards. The four included in this book are far from gruesome, bloody tales. However, there is plenty of innuendo, suspense, and secrets alluded to along the way to a conclusion in each of these tales.

Ms Stern wrote an introduction to the book that explains the circumstances at the time LMA wrote these and some of how she discovered this. ( )
1 vote dudes22 | May 25, 2012 |
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Alcott published her 1866 novel under the pseudonym A.M. Barnard. A departure from her usual fare, this offers a deceitful governess's attempts to ruin a family. Chekhov's 1895 volume follows a disastrous marriage that triumphs over time. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

added by Citizenjoyce | editLibrary Journal, Reed Business Information (Dec 19, 2010)

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Louisa May Alcottprimary authorall editionscalculated
Stern, Madeleine B.Editorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Contains 4 stories: Behind a mask, or A woman's power --
Pauline's passion and punishment --
The mysterious key and what it opened --
The Abbot's ghost, or Maurice Treherne's temptation.
Please do not combine with any of the single works.
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Book description
Louisa May Alcott's little-known novella is an ingenious study of deception, betrayal, and the ruthless power of a woman scorned. Foreword by Doris Lessing.

When demure Scottish governess Jean Muir arrives at a wealthy household, the family couldn't be more thrilled with their young new resident and find themselves beguiled by her grace and beauty. But this surrender to her "innocent' charms soon sets the men quarreling for her attention, with the women beside themselves with jealousy. Delighted with her success, Miss Muir sets her sights on the highest prize—but she has only three days to claim victory before the truth, behind her mask, will be exposed. American novelist Louisa May Alcott (1832 88) is best remembered for the perennially popular Little Women.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0688151329, Paperback)

Six years before she wrote Little Women, Louisa May Alcott, in financial straits, entered "Pauline's Passion and Punishment," a novelette, in a newspaper contest. Not only did it win the $100 prize, but, published anonymously, it marked the first in the series of "blood & thunder tales" that would be her livelihood for years.

In Behind a Mask, editor Madeleine Stern introduces four Alcott thrillers: "Pauline's Passion and Punishment," "The Mysterious Key," "The Abbot's Ghost," and the title story, "Behind a Mask." First published in one volume in 1975, they are regarded as Alcott's finest work in this genre.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:36 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"When demure Scottish governess Jean Muir arrives at the wealthy Coventry household, the family couldn't be more thrilled with their new young resident. But Jean proves to be no meek and mild governess, but rather a proud and passionate woman with a mysterious past. As she begins to weave her duplicitous spell, the Coventrys quickly surrender one by one to her 'innocent' charms, all quite beguiled by her grace and beauty. Soon the men are quarrelling for her attention, and the women beside themselves with jealousy. Delighted with her success, Miss Muir sets her sights on the highest prize - an association which will secure her future and put an end to her scheming; but she has only three days to claim her victory before the truth, behind her mask, will be exposed."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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