Louisa May Alcott was a remarkable woman who lived a full and unusual life. When I first decided to write a novel about her, I wanted to include everything I had learned in my research. Alas, the novel had other plans.
Ultimately, The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott became a story of Louisa in the summer of 1855, when she was just 22 and on the precipice of her career as a writer. But this is just one of the many stories I could have written about her. Here are some other fascinating episodes in her life that seem to cry out for exploration in fiction:
–In 1843, when Louisa was ten years old, her father Bronson moved the family, along with a few like-minded philosophers, to a 90-acre farm called Fruitlands. The group planned to renounce commerce, eating meat and dairy products, taking warm baths, wearing wool or cotton clothing, and using animals to work the land. They lasted until January of the New England winter.
–In 1862, Louisa answered Dorothea Dix’s call for nurses to care for the thousands of wounded soldiers streaming in to the nation’s capital. For three weeks, she fed and bathed patients, changed bandages and linens, and then developed typhoid fever.
–In 1879, Louisa’s youngest sister May gave birth to a daughter and died a few weeks later. The following year, little Lulu came to Concord. Louisa, at age 47, became a mother after all.