Jun 4, 2010

Nostalgic Friday: The Inheritance

Welcome back to Nostalgic Friday! Since I love all things historical (culturally, physically, and personally) I do a post on Fridays honoring some awesome book that is a bit older. Many of them are books I enjoyed in my teens and others are books that I discovered as an adult that I think are relevant to YA readers.

This week I am very excited to feature a book I had almost completely forgotten about, but that I absolutely adored. I went through a really big historical fiction period in my early teens and this book is no exception. The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott quickly became a novel that I went back to again and again.

On a 19th century English estate, young Edith Adelon is like a second daughter to Lord and Lady Hamilton. Taken in as a playmate for the couple's daughter, Edith is well liked by many. Unfortunately Lady Hamilton is not among her admirers and as soon as Lord Hamilton dies, Edith is treated like a common servant and forced to truly work in the house she once called a home.

That's not her only problem though, Lady Ida is competing with Edith for the attentions of a certain Lord Percy. While Edith is the purest vessel possible, Lady Ida will stop at nothing to sully the only thing Edith has left, her name. Yet there's some murmurs stirring about Edith's true identity and what it means for all involved.

This book is so much like Sense and Sensibility meets The Luxe series! Edith reminds me a lot of Meg March from Little Women. All Edith wants is a simple life, with good people in it. The drama is not too over-the-top, considering the time period and I found it quite enjoyable to read about the balls and general living conditions of the time. I was excited to discover that this was Alcott's first novel and that it written years before Little Women which has always remained my number one favorite historical fiction.

I find Alcott's writing style much more accessible than Austen's and while some of her characters are not nearly as witty, Alcott does spend time developing their existence so that you really get a sense of what they were like. So much so, that I could imagine asking myself, "What would Lord Percy do in this situation," and actually be able to come up with a response.

A wonderfully delightful read for middle grades and up, The Inheritance is a tale of true identities, romance, and perseverance. A fine book all around!

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