kingshearte's Reviews > A Long Fatal Love Chase

A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott
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Dec 10, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: my-faves, romance, to-re-read, fiction, gothic-melodrama
Read in August, 2006 — I own a copy , read count: 3

"'I'd gladly sell my soul to Satan for a year of freedom,' cries impetuous Rosamond Vivian to her callous grandfather. Then, one stormy night, a brooding stranger appears in her remote island home, ready to take Rosamond at her word. Spellbound by the mysterious Philip Tempest, Rosamond is seduced with promises of love and freedom, then spirited away on Tempest's sumptuous yacht. But she soon finds herself trapped in a web of intrigue, cruelty and deceit. Desperate to escape, she flees to Italy, France, and Germany, from Parisian garret to mental asylum, from convent to chateau, as Tempest stalks every step of the fiery beauty who has become his obsession."

I had forgotten how much I love this book, so I'm very glad something reminded me of it recently, and I decided to return to it while waiting for my next library book to come in. While it may seem otherwise, from a few of my recent book choices, I don't actually re-read all that many books. Very few of them are worth it. This one is. The characters are engaging, and the story is riveting, even though you pretty much know the ending even if you haven't read before. Despite knowing, you still find yourself hoping that maybe this time, she'll manage to escape and build a new life; maybe this time, Tempest won't find her. But then he shows up and you find yourself reacting almost as strongly as Rosamond does. My one complaint is that even after reading it a few times, I still don't fully understand exactly how the ending comes about. But aside from that one small detail, I really do love this book.

What makes it even more interesting, in a way, is when it was written, and who wrote it. I have not yet actually read Little Women, but from all accounts, it certainly bears no resemblance to this. It's almost unfortunate that Alcott is so much more well-known for Little Women, when apparently she's written quite a few thriller-type stories, and if they're all as good as this one, she deserves way more recognition for them than she gets. This story wasn't even published until more than a hundred years after it was written, because it was considered too sensational, especially, one assumes, from a female author. But unlike many books written that long ago, that can be good, but you don't always relate well to the characters, because their situations are so different form anything you're likely to encounter today, stalking is still a pretty current issue. It's also nice to see creepy behaviour in fiction actually treated as creepy behaviour. So often, characters in movies or books go to such extreme lengths to win the affections of their targets, and we think it's cute and romantic, but if someone did that in real life, it would be seriously creepy. It's just kind of interesting to see that same kind of relentless pursuit characterized as what it actually is: creepy, scary stalking.

Anyway, I really do love this book, and while I will leave it alone for at least long enough that it's not too fresh in my mind, I expect I will eventually read it again, at least once.
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