Book ReviewThe Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott.
This is a brief novel by the author of "Little Women". I remember my mother recommending Little Women to me when I was in middle school. She had read it.
These days, I have have a hard time imaging me recommending Little Women to my own daughter. I see what she reads. I don't know that she would ever get around to cracking the cover, if I could even get her to agree to check it out.
I'm coming to realize that there are some times during one's life that are better for reading certain things. I doubt I have the patience to read Little Women again now.
But I was curious about this book, "The Inheritance". I hadn't heard of it before.
Apparently, it was not widely known to exist at the time I read Little Women. According to the Afterword of my copy, this novel was still unpublished in 1988. Louisa herself identified this as her first novel, written when she was seventeen years old.
I was more curious about this book than anything else. I didn't expect a great novel. I didn't expect much of anything.
This is a very short novel. I might even call it a novella.
I was surprised. It turned out to have a few plot twists that were unexpected, but good. This kept me interested.
The characters were quite predictable and a little too perfect. This didn't surprise me. This book is so brief, there couldn't possibly be enough space on the page to fully develop complex characters.
Since I have read all six of Jane Austen's novels, reading The Inheritance was considerably shorter and breezier. But the setting and the class society is very similar. Austen certainly has more depth, but The Inheritance is admirable for what it is. A first novel, written by a teenager. If the setting and characters had been developed more, and with the plot as it is, this could have been nearly comparable to an Austen novel. Not quite, but approaching.
Then again, I remember having a hard time getting through the length of Little Women. Maybe there is a happy middle ground in between.
If you are even a moderate fan of Austen and are looking for quick read, give this a try. I was surprised. You might be too.