Posted by: jeannineatkins | September 15, 2015

Little Woman in Blue: Publication Day!

After spending many years with May Alcott in the form of a manuscript in and out of a drawer, with my patient writing group there to help shape it, and my husband to cheer and edit, it’s wonderful to have more people know more about two sisters who crave wealth, travel, and fame as an artist or writer in nineteenth century Massachusetts. All these years later, I still love thinking, talking, and writing about May. Part of me wants to move on, and I am, with other books in the works. I need the creative roughness that keeps me sane, or should I say stable? And part of me loves seeing May again through new eyes, sharing that friendship. Isn’t she great?


Big thanks to those who’ve let me know that copies of LITTLE WOMAN IN BLUE: A NOVEL OF MAY ALCOTT are arriving in the mail, and for kind comments. Library Journal says: “Devotees of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women will be intrigued by this fictionalized biography of the women behind the characters.” I’m grateful for Kelly Fineman’s thoughtful and warm review on Writing and Ruminating, including these lines: It is my opinion that Little Woman in Blue … is the book for every woman I know. And would be great for book clubs everywhere – especially those who loved books like Loving Frank by Nancy Horan.”

Praise is sweet, but so plain old “getting it,” seeing some of what I did. To be known was what May longed for from her sister. At TeacherDance, the well-read Linda Baie wrote: “Jeannine Atkins shows May’s inner questioning of women’s roles in society at that time, that they cannot have both the passion of art and of marriage. And she shows May choosing “more,” an admirable and risky choice, sometimes even today.” Thank you Melodye Shore for writing at A Joyful Noise: “Alcott aficionados will find much to love between its covers, as will readers for whom this is a first introduction to the sisters in Little Women. Rich imagery. Relatable characters. Settings that are true to an era, and a story that celebrates May’s life, aptly published during the 175th anniversary of her birth year.”

Debbi Michiko Florence writes, “What Atkins paints here is a vivid and layered portrait of younger sister May, who was an artist, a dreamer, independent, and loyal. … I couldn’t stop turning pages as I wondered if May would find success as an artist, find love, or see her family again.” She interviews me at Welcome to the Spotlight and offers a book giveaway open until September 19: you just need to comment at the link.

While today is the official launch day, publishing is quirky, and LITTLE WOMAN IN BLUE: A NOVEL OF MAY ALCOTT has been showing up in mailboxes. I scheduled launch events for beautiful October to make sure the books were on hand. I could not be more excited that my official launch is being hosted by the Odyssey Bookshop 9 College St. South Hadley, MA on Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. More details soon, but there will be cider, baked goods, back stories, and fans!


We’ll also celebrate in May Alcott’s hometown at Barrow Bookstore 79 Main St. Concord, Mass on October 17 at 4:30. This shop is run by two sisters who have a history of working in Orchard House, where May Alcott grew up. We’ll be sure to have a good time.

I look forward to seeing Boston area friends and readers at wonderful Porter Square Books 25 White Street Cambridge, MA Oct. 23 at 7 p.m.

I’ll be part of a Women’s National Book Association Panel at Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard Street Brookline, MA. on October 27 at 7 PM. Moderated by author Lisa Borders, the panel will include novelists, Lauren Acampora, talking about THE WONDER GARDEN, Heidi Pitlor, author of THE DAYLIGHT MARRIAGE, and Virginia Pye, author of DREAMS OF THE RED PHOENIX.

I’ve got some interviews coming up this week, and I thank M.K. Tod for asking me to write about Finding Fiction’s Sweet Spot Between Past and Present at A Writer of History.

I’m not the first to say it, as is the case with most true things, but it takes a village, and I’m enormously grateful for cheers and contemplation from strangers, family, and friends, for librarians and booksellers, and She Writes Press.

It will be a busy month, but I’ll still be making time to write something new. There are so many stories. I appreciate every one of you who are making time for this one.


  1. YAY you and YAY Little Woman in Blue! So excited and happy for you and your fabulous novel! I hope to make your launch and if not, to the Cambridge event. I WILL make it to one of them! xo

    • Thanks for your great support. And we just need a plain old writing date again!

  2. Hurray!!! The Big Day’s finally here!! I’m so excited — for you, and for everyone who’s treating themselves to Little Woman in Blue! Can’t wait to celebrate May’s debut with you. xoxo

    • What a lovely thing to say — and yes, will be fun to celebrate in person soon!

  3. Congrats!!! Happy book birthday!

    • Thanks for stopping in with a cheer, Barbara!

  4. Congratulations Jeannine! I love your writing and can’t wait to hold your beautiful book in my hands!!

    • Thank you, Lene! I just ordered Beautiful Affliction as a pub day gift for myself. I know I will be moved.

  5. So glad your book is out there for the world! I have a review going up tomorrow on my site from Gabrielle Donnelly – it’s delicious! 🙂 Such a wonderful read for the coming autumn days, the season that always reminds me of the Alcotts and Concord.

    • Thank you for your kind words about the book — and I look forward to reading what Gabrielle has to say! Yes, autumn with its less sweet smelling flowers, the sharpened pencil scent of drying leaves, apples, and pumpkins and before the garrets are cold! — perfect for reading with tea in hand!

  6. Congratulations again! Have fun going a-Maying at all your scheduled events next month. 🙂

    • Ah, going a–Maying: perfect. Thank you, Jama!

  7. Hooray, Jeannine!! Diligent and gracious on all fronts!!

  8. Congrats, Jeannine! I so wish I still lived in MA! Looking forward to reading this book!!

  9. This is all FABULOUS, Jeannine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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