Brenda Cregor's Reviews > A Long Fatal Love Chase

A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott
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Jul 26, 2012

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Read from July 26 to August 03, 2012

I sent my mother the 2011 movie version of JANE EYRE ( love it!).
She watched it with my sister-in-law.
I happened to call the day they had watched it.
My mother gave the phone to my sister-in-law.
A literature discussion ensued.
"No, but have you ever read Louisa May Alcott's book, A LONG FATAL LOVE CHASE?" said she.
"Say what? The author that wrote LITTLE WOMEN?"
My sister-in-law sent the book to my mother a few weeks later.
I happened to call on the day she received it.
I had to clarify that it had been my sister-in-law, not I, who had sent it.
My mother read it.
It disturbed her, slightly, but she liked it anyway.
She sent it to me, in perfect condition, enclosed in a Ziploc baggie.
Louisa. Tsk. Tsk.
This post-mortem articulation is because, while reading this book, I could not help but make too many comparisons to not ONE but TWO Bronte-sister novels: Jane Eyre (published in 1847) and Wuthering Heights (printed in 1847).
Certainly, there were enough differences for the book to stand on its own (primarily that Phillip was MUCH more evil than either Rochester or Heathcliff---I had ZERO compassion for him).
A LONG FATAL LOVE CHASE was written in 1868...published in 1995!
Louisa May Alcott would have been a young teenager when the Bronte novels were published, but she could have very well read them in her twenties, giving her time to have the tales seep into her subconscious, leading her to use some of the same themes and ideas in her writing during her 30s.
Just a theory.
The theme of the story was launched into immediately. This met with my approval.
In addition, Alcott's prose was less "dense" and intricate than either of the Brontes'.
One reason I was initially turned off to JANE EYRE, during my hyperactive youth, was the fact that I had to read too far into the text whilst characters were developed and events, which later intensified the plot, were laid down in detail. I could not appreciate the beauty of the authoress's craft at the time. Now, of course, this is what makes me love JANE EYRE and Wuthering Heights.
Let me just say (I'll do it anyway), if I wanted a way to introduce unfocused high school students to coming-of-age, romantic, gothic fiction, from the 19th century, this would be a PERFECT book with which to do it.
The narrative flowed. It was an easy read...NOT like the Bronte novels, which I had to wrestle with as a youth.
I'll say I found the story interesting and the ending surprising.
No, I will not tell you why, or it would spoil it!
I wonder if PBS will come out with a Masterpiece version of it.
4 to 5 stars as an adult thinking about how I would have felt about the book as a teenager, and 3+ stars for an adult who could not help but compare and contrast the story with other 19th century masterpieces.
And this is how I will end this: It is worth reading just to make the comparisons with the Bronte novels and to see Alcott writing a much darker tale.

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