Classic Friday: The Interitance by Louisa May Alcott

I loved re-reading this book! I believe I read it for the first time back in 1997 when it first came out. (Yes, an Alcott novel releasing over a hundred years after her death.) The Inheritance was her first novel. She even made a notation on it that it was her first novel written at the age of 17 which she never attempted to get published. Now, it’s not one of those thrilling, sensational stories as Jo March liked to write. Instead, it is a quaint, sweet, English novel about an orphaned girl and her future inheritance. The manuscript was discovered among Miss Alcott’s papers and cataloged along with her other writings. Eventually, it too was brought to print.

It’s interesting because I recently purchased the movie version of the book. It was also made in 1997 and so it had been a long time since I watched it. Something seemed odd about the movie from what I remembered about the book. ‘Wasn’t this supposed to be set in England in the early 19th century?’ I asked myself. The movie set the story near Concord (L.M. Alcott’s home) in the 1870's. And the characters are Americans not English. They added a new dimension to the heroine, Edith. They took away one character and added another while also including a variation on the plot. In many ways, it is a totally different story while still being essentially Miss Alcott’s fond tale. I enjoyed the movie, but the changes do take away from the style and tone that Louisa probably intended for her story.

The writing style of the novel is quite different than say…Little Women. You can sense the naivety of the young woman penning this story. She isn't yet the author she will become. And yet it is lyrical and lovely. In fact, I read many of the passages out loud just to hear how they sounded. It’s a sweet, poignant story and I enjoyed it completely. I only wish I could have written such a splendid novel at that same tender age.

A vignette for your edification. (pg 90)

The heart he studied the most earnestly and that each day grew more beautiful to him was Edith’s. Amid the trials she so silently was bearing still grew the gratitude and love she bore to those around her and still lay the deep, longing wish for tenderness and true affection which none ever guessed and none ever sought to give.

Yet he who was daily near her and who so often found a place within her thoughts now became her friend, seeking by unseen acts of silent kindness to make life more pleasant to her. While thus employed, the friendship and generous pity were fast deepening into the truest reverence and most holy love for one who bore so meekly the sorrows that must try a gentle heart and was so rich in pure and sinless feelings and so beautiful in all woman’s noblest gifts.


ladystorm said...

I really liked this book!

Cindy K. Green said...

It is a great story, isn't it. Thanks for reading. ;)