Laura's Reviews > The Inheritance

The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott
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Oct 01, 09

bookshelves: 2009
Read in September, 2009

Only a seventeen year old could write this book. The fact that it is Louisa May Alcott only explains why a seventeen year old is writing books, but that is as far as it goes because this is no “Little Women.”. Alcott scholars were so excited to find the manuscript of her first book, “The Inheritance” during the summer of 1988. Up until then, it had never been published. There was a reason for that. The heroine, Edith Adelon, is so sweet and good that she makes the Disney princesses look like brats. Edith’s tears makes Demi Moore’s tears in “Ghost” seem like mere mist. Edith’s sweetness tames and conquers all living things around her including thieves, haughty aunts, and jealous and conniving cousins. The hero, Lord Percy, is as idealistic as his heroine so at least they can live in La La Land together. Honestly, if one of my daughters came home and introduced me to a man who treasured away a sacred medallion that contained a faded flower from his mother and the portrait of his dead sister-in-law, I would say, “Run away!! Run away!!”

Just to give a taste of a young idealistic author, here is a quote from the climatic scene. I’m not giving anything away because you see it coming from page one.

“Lady Edith,” said a low voice near her, and she started, for he stood before her with all his untold love shining in the earnest eyes that looked so tenderly upon her. “Forgive me that I dared to follow you, but my heart bid me come, and I am here to ask you if the love I have cherished long and silently can be returned. I never thought to tell it, but the sorrow my departure caused you woke a new hope in my heart, and I could silence it no longer. Do not think your newfound wealth and rank have tempted me, for God knows I would most joyfully have won you when most poor and friendless, for I had learned the priceless worth of a pure heart, rich in woman’s truest virtues and most holy faith. But you had said you could not give your hand to one above you in rank and wealth, and from the hour my love was hopeless, but it never died. Each day some new deed of tenderness and care, some gentle look or word of yours made it stronger and more heavy to be borne. We now are equals in mere worldly riches. Can you give your heart to one who so ill deserves the blessing you bestow and trust me with the precious gift that shall be held most sacred until death?

“I can.” And, with her tearful eyes turned trustingly to him, Eidth laid her hand in his and pledged her love. “I can bring you nothing but a grateful heart, whose constancy and deep affection can never pass away. Take me poor and erring as I am, and teach me to be worthy of the great happiness I have won.”

It’s no wonder that Alcott never married. Who could live up to that?
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