Marmee & Louisa by Eve LaPlante
The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 5 Critic Reviews



Louisa May Alcott was one of the most successful and bestselling authors of her day, earning more than any of her male contemporaries. Her classic Little Women has been a mainstay of American literature since its release nearly 150 years ago, as Jo March and her calm, beloved “Marmee” have shaped and inspired generations of young women. Biographers have consistently attributed Louisa’s uncommon success to her father, Bronson Alcott, assuming that this outspoken idealist was the source of his daughter’s progressive thinking and remarkable independence.

But in this riveting dual biography, award-winning biographer Eve LaPlante explodes these myths, drawing from a trove of surprising new documents to show that it was Louisa’s actual “Marmee,” Abigail May Alcott, who formed the intellectual and emotional center of her world. Abigail, whose difficult life both inspired and served as a warning to her devoted daughters, pushed Louisa to excel at writing and to chase her unconventional dreams in a male-dominated world.

In Marmee & Louisa, LaPlante, Abigail’s great-niece and Louisa’s cousin, re-creates their shared story from diaries, letters, and personal papers, some recently discovered in a family attic and many others that were thought to have been destroyed. Here at last Abigail is revealed in her full complexity—long dismissed as a quiet, self-effacing background figure, she comes to life as a fascinating writer and thinker in her own right. A politically active feminist firebrand, she was a highly opinionated, passionate, ambitious woman who fought for universal civil rights, publicly advocating for abolition, women’s suffrage, and other defin-ing moral struggles of her era.

In this groundbreaking work, LaPlante paints an exquisitely moving and utterly convincing portrait of a woman decades ahead of her time, and the fiercely independent daughter whose life was deeply entwined with her mother’s dreams of freedom. This gorgeously written story of two extraordinary women is guaranteed to transform our view of one of America’s most beloved authors.

About Eve LaPlante

See more books from this Author
Eve LaPlante is a great niece and a first cousin of Abigail and Louisa May Alcott. She is the author of Seized, American Jezebel, and Salem Witch Judge, which won the 2008 Massachusetts Book Award for Nonfiction. She is also the editor of My Heart Is Boundless the first collection of Abigail May Alcott’s private papers. She lives with her family in New England.
Published November 6, 2012 by Free Press. 385 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Marmee & Louisa

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Revisionist dual biography shows just how much iconic children's author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888) "was her mother's daughter."

Oct 23 2012 | Read Full Review of Marmee & Louisa: The Untold S...

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

A biography of Abigail May Alcott, Louisa’s mother, highlights her role in her daughter’s life.

Dec 21 2012 | Read Full Review of Marmee & Louisa: The Untold S...

The Washington Post

Louisa May Alcott inscribed her first book, “Flower Fables,” published in 1854, to her mother with this acknowledgment: “Whatever beauty or poetry is to be found in my little book is owing to your interest and encouragement of all my efforts from the first to the last.” No one familiar wi...

Nov 30 2012 | Read Full Review of Marmee & Louisa: The Untold S...

Linus's Blanket

> My Thoughts On Books > Readings: Marmee and Louisa by Eve LaPlante & The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan.

Jan 20 2013 | Read Full Review of Marmee & Louisa: The Untold S...

A trailblazer and mainstay of American literature, Louisa May Alcott has always been framed by historians as her father's daughter, molded in his image. LaPlante (Salem Witch Judge: The Life and Repentance of Samuel Sewall) reveals that while Bronson Alcott certainly influenced Louisa, he was abs...

May 17 2013 | Read Full Review of Marmee & Louisa: The Untold S...

Reader Rating for Marmee & Louisa

An aggregated and normalized score based on 81 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review