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Book Review: The Inheritance

Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge

The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott (5 star review)

The Inheritance

by Louisa May Alcott

177 pages // published in 1998 // historical fiction


Here at last is the book 'Jo' wrote. Generations of fans have longed to plumb that first romance, hinted at so captivatingly on the pages of Little Women, Alcott's autobiographical classic. Now after nearly one hundred fifty years spent among archived family documents, Louisa May Alcott's debut novel finally reaches its eager public.

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. But an even greater truth lies hidden in Edith's heart - her deep reverence for the kind and noble Lord Percy, the only friend who can save her from the deceitful, envious machinations of Lady Ida.

Reminiscent of Jane Austen in its charms, this chaste but stirringly passionate novel affirms the conquering power of both love and courtesy. For the generations who grew up alongside Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy, a rich literary inheritance is restored at last.

My Review

5 Star Rating

There are two of Louisa May Alcott's novels that were published posthumously -- much to the delight of her modern readers. Both were released to the public in the 1990s -- ages after Louisa's death. As I had read one of those novels last June during the L.M.A. reading challenge (A Long Fatal Love Chase), I decided to read the other title (The Inheritance) for this year's challenge.

This one is, after all, Louisa's very first novel. While she didn't get it published, it is something we can relish in now. Perhaps the writing style has some ameteur moments, but I must say that it seems rather well put together. It's a bit like seeing tidbits of the infancy of Little Women -- and that being one of my favorite classic novels, this excites me.

It is such a sweet story, with some quality morals filtered in. We have good vs. evil. We have little twinges of romance. We have a decadently British setting, with some Italian flair thrown in. Plus a cast of peculiar characters akin to ones that Dickens himself might create. All this from an American 17-year-old who lived back in the 19th century! Louisa had an amazing imagination, even when she'd hardly begun piecing together stories.

Edith Adelon is one of my favorite new heroines. I adore her pure and pleasant spirit, and her servant's heart. (I say the latter not in regard to her position held in the Hamilton household, but spiritually, emotionally, in her she conducts her decisions. She thrives by pleasing others.) And she is a lovely girl that anyone should be happy to call on as a friend.

Minimum age to enjoy: 10 to Adult.

I'm so glad that The Inheritance was located by just the right people, even so much time after Miss Alcott's death, and shared for the world to enjoy. It is a pleasure to read.

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hardcover // paperback

Book #3 completed // 19th Century

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COYER Read a book with hands and no face: 4


  1. I loved this, too. I'm so glad it was found and published.

  2. Anonymous6/28/2019

    Thank You so much for reviewing this book. It sounds very interesting and I will look into reading it.