Marmee and Louisa Book Discussion: Chapter Two “Drawing Toward Some Ideal Friend”

As a 19th century woman from a well-connected family, nineteen-year-old Abba Alcott was decidedly unconventional. She resisted the idea of marriage, preferring instead to study while nurturing dreams of opening her own school. Abba dreaded the pairing that had been arranged for her with cousin Samuel May Frothingham; his unexpected death freed her from that …

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Chapter XXXII. Tender Troubles

Jo and Beth shared a special relationship, including things in common. My take on “Tender Troubles” from Little Women.

Little Women 150

By Susan Bailey

Marmee was worried about Beth and for good reason. Her daughter was quieter than usual, even withdrawing from her father. She would cry when visiting with Meg’s babies. Her music was tinged with sadness. Unable to draw Beth out, Marmee asked Jo to find out what was wrong.

Jo thought she had the answer: Beth was in love with Laurie. But in her lack of experience with matters of the heart, she misread the signs. Does a girl in love stare out of a window with a tear sliding down her cheek? Does she cry over her little niece and nephew because she is longing for Laurie? Why would she withdraw from her family?

Jo tried to look at the bright side when it came to her favorite sister even if the signs were pointing in the opposite direction. Hoping that Beth had moved beyond her lingering…

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Marmee and Louisa Book Discussion: Chapter One “A good child, but willful”

Born on October 8, 1800, Abigail May came from a long line of wealthy, prominent Boston families. They included the Sewalls (Judge Samuel Sewall, the “repenting judge,” who had presided over the Salem Witch Trials to which he spent the rest of his life atoning for those actions), the Mays (who fought in the American …

“Marmee and Louisa” book discussion: Introduction – why Abba Alcott?

Eve LaPlante’s ancestral link with the Alcotts extends to readers of Marmee and Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother a unique and intimate connection to this family. In the introduction, she mentions a trunk in her attic, passed down by an aunt. Although it and other treasures have been in …

What attracted Abigail May to Bronson Alcott? Beginning a book club discussion of “Marmee and Louisa” by Eve LaPlante

I am pleased to announce that we will be doing a book discussion in the coming weeks on Marmee and Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and her Mother by Eve LaPlante. Each Thursday I will do a post on one chapter of the book, giving a brief reflection and offering discussion questions. …

Call for proposals for Orchard House’s Summer Conversational Series

Here is this year's call for proposals for the Orchard House Summer Conversational Series. Visit louisamayalcott.org for more information. Are you passionate about Louisa May Alcott too? Subscribe to the email list and never miss a post! Keep up with news and free giveaways on Susan's books, Louisa May Alcott: Illuminated by The Message, and …

A new book on Lizzie Alcott needs a new work place – planning my writing room

Louisa had her special writing space – a desk built by her father which overlooked the front yard of Orchard House. Here is mine – what is yours like?

The Littlest Woman: The Life and Legacy of Lizzie Alcott, the Real Beth March

I spent some time over Christmas break beefing up my writing room. The room had previously worked when I wrote my spiritual memoir a few years back. The organization of that book was simple and I’d write on my tablet in a comfy chair and not have to worry about having a lot of space.

It is so different this time around! There are piles of books and papers everywhere. My mind is in overdrive and my emotions raw. The words I have set down so far present a confusing and unfocused account. The story that is so clear in my mind lacks continuity on the screen. I vacillate between being a storyteller, a journalist (“just the facts”) and a lawyer arguing a case. It’s all so chaotic at times.

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