Author(s): Louisa May Alcott
The author of Little Women and other beloved classics, Louisa May Alcott grew up in a community of New England transcendentalists that included Thoreau and Emerson. Because her learned but impractical father was a poor provider, she supported her family by writing magazine stories that were often published anonymously.
This collection reveals the "other" Alcott, featuring "Behind a Mask" and "Pauline's Passion and Punishment," thrilling tales of seduction, betrayal, and murder that strike a markedly different tone and characterization from Alcott's best-known work. Other selections include two pieces from Hospital Sketches, the author's fictionalized accounts of her Civil War nursing experiences; "My Contraband," a tale of vengeance involving a Civil War nurse, her Confederate patient, and his former slave; "Happy Women," concerning four "spinsters" with a positive attitude toward their marital status; and "How I Went Out to Service," an autobiographical sketch of a young woman's pursuit of financial independence.