Louisa the actress: meet her idol, Fanny Kemble

Kelly O’Connor McNees, author of  The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott (now available in paperback), wrote an article recently about Fanny Kemble, a 19th century actress whom Louisa May Alcott greatly admired. There’s a wonderful scene in Lost Summer where Louisa gets to perform in front of Kemble and I could just feel the thrill she would have felt.

Here’s an excerpt from McNees’ article, including a link to the rest of the article. If you leave a comment on the page, you could be chosen to receive a free copy of the paperback edition of Lost Summer.

Fanny Kemble, 19th Century Celebrity

in Women and Society

By Kelly O’Connor McNees

My historical novel, The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, imagines a summer in Louisa’s life when she was just 22 and on the precipice of a remarkable life. In trying to understand Louisa, I investigated the books she loved and the people she admired. That’s how I learned about Fanny Kemble.

Fanny Kemble was born to a family that dominated the British stage for generations. She too was an actress a young age, and later met and married Pierce Butler while performing in the U.S. His family’s money came from cotton and rice plantations in Georgia. When he took Fanny home to the plantation, she was appalled by the realities of slavery. As a Brit, she had long opposed the institution, but seeing it with her own eyes hardened her resolve. To her husband’s great humiliation, she began to write about what she saw. The marriage dissolved, and later she published Journal of A Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839. It caused quite a stir. Read the rest of the article here.

You can read the interview I conducted with Kelly here.

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