Behind a Mask: Or, a Woman's Power
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Who would have thought that Louisa May Alcott, the beloved author of that classic tale of virtuous girlhood, Little Women, also wrote many thrilling tales of mystery and romantic intrigue? Behind a Mask, a collection of recently discovered Alcott stories, reveals an entirely new side of an American writer about whom many assumed they knew everything. To the surprise of readers all over the world, Alcott filled the pages of these four stories with passionate love affairs, ghoulish hauntings, and cliff-hanging adventures. In the case of at least one of these tales, “Pauline’s Passion and Punishment,” the financial success that Alcott enjoyed from this very daring sort of writing allowed her to continue her literary career and go on to pen many of the more conventional works with which she is associated. Often written under a pseudonym or anonymously, the tales included in this dazzling collection are full of the kind of energy and excitement that will leave even today’s readers breathless.
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Drawing from her childhood in a close-knit and unique family from Concord, Massachusetts, Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) created a beloved collection of works about young people coming of age in the post Civil-War era. Alcott's books for young adults, among them Little Women, Jo's Boys, Under the Lilacs, and An Old-Fashioned Girl, are noted for their wholesome themes. However, she was a multi-faceted writer who also dabbled in a more grown-up genre. Sometimes published under a pseudonym or anonymously, Alcott's alternative body of work consists of "less respectable" and torrid romances, mysteries, and thrillers such as A Long Fatal Love Chase, A Modern Mephistopheles, and Behind a Mask.Back to top
Opening Lines (Experimental)
"Has she come?"
"No, Mamma, not yet."
"I wish it were well over. The thought of it worries and excites me. A cushion for my back, Bella."
And poor, peevish Mrs. Coventry sank into an easy chair with a nervous sigh and the air of a martyr, while her pretty daughter hovered about her with ...
Reviewed by delilah on Oct 15, 2011
Louisa May Alcott wrote a very different short story than some of her other books, like Little Women. The book was interesting, there were many plot twists and cliffhangers, and she made a genuine effort to develop the character of Jean Muir. I wish more of her books were as unique
Reviewed by Maggieohana on Oct 30, 2010
This book enthralled me, and i finished it in three readings. I had read others by the author, and this one is well written What an excellent way to produce such a conniving woman!
Reviewed by justAnca on Oct 27, 2010
I've read before reviews of this book and fairly knew what to expect. Though, I didn't fully believed that L. M. Alcott was able to write on a non-moralizing subject. And it proved to be funny and with a surprising ending. Surprising mostly because, after reading some of her children's books, I was expecting that the 'bad' heroine be punished and the narrator deliver us a preach on the value of honesty.
Reviewed by Dianitha on Mar 16, 2010
Behind a Mask
Very good. I felt like I was watching an old black and white film. Set in a time past, but I could so relate to the heroine - she wanted to be independant. How things never change!
Reviewed by receptionista on Nov 10, 2009
A side of Louisa May Alcott that not everyone knows about, this book is one written under her pen name A. M. Barnard. From the start it's a quick and clever romp, very well written and engaging. If you don't often read classic American literature, the lanuage and customs take a bit getting used to; notions of class and rank are far enough behind us that we need a bit of a refresher, but once you get into the swing of things it reads just as well as any contemporary story. Behind a Mask: or A Woman's Power takes on a theme that's as relevant then as now, that of a woman trying to move up in society and the world through marriage. At the very start of the story Alcott gives us one tantalizing bit of information about this particular woman, though, that makes leaves you wondering how the other characters will react, if they ever find out.
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Ratings for 'Behind a Mask' by Alcott, Louisa May