Posted by: jeannineatkins | September 17, 2015

Little Woman in Blue: What People are Saying

Readers and reviewers: I am in awe. I’m grateful not just for kind words about Little Woman in Blue, but since publishing my first novel for adults I’ve learned how many people are willing to take a chance on a book, not only to read, which is wonderful, but sometimes to put their responses into well-considered paragraphs, too. Visiting blogs, some familiar and some new to me, and peeking into the minds of readers and their communities makes me feel at home in a wider world of readers who are listening to each other. It’s like being allowed to sit at someone’s kitchen table, with eggs and toast in the shadow of a stack of books.

And it’s fun to see pictures of the novel I wrote in other kitchens, coffee shops, or on commutes. I took this from Unabridged Chick, delighted that May gets to be back in the Boston area, missing carriages and cobblestones.

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I’d love to see any photos of yours!

Below are a few spaces on the Internet and words I’m particularly grateful for.

You can read an interview I did with Debbi at In the Spotlight (How long did this book take to write?) and get a chance to win a copy of Little Woman in Blue open until September 19, Saturday at midnight, EST.

Both novelist Gabrielle Donnelly and Susan Bailey at Louisa May is My Passion are Alcott family experts, so it’s a thrill, and a relief, to know I’ve created a woman they recognize, but have developed further. In “May Alcott Gets Her Due!” Gabrielle writes: “The first thing to remember when you start to read Jeannine Atkins’ marvelous novel … is to forget Amy March. Amy, the spoiled youngest of the March family of Little Women, who burned Jo’s books in a fit of childish pique, was at best questionably talented as an artist, and ended up – wouldn’t she just – marrying rich and dashing Laurie and leading a very nice life, thank you, as a Victorian lady who lunched, is nowhere to be seen here. Instead, you’ll meet the real woman behind Amy, Louisa’s sister, May.”

The blog Hungry for Good Books? categorizes books by food groups, (mine includes Grandma’s Pot Roast and Pigeon Pie). “Little Woman in Blue conjures the world of Little Women’s Alcott sisters so vividly that readers will find themselves astonished to look up from the page and not be living in nineteenth-century Concord, Massachusetts.” At A Teaching Life, Tara Smith calls it “an engrossing read – Atkins has thoroughly researched both the intellectual scene in Concord (we get to rub elbows with Thoreau, Emerson, and Hawthorne!) as well as the artistic scene in Paris (we meet Degas, Manet, Mary Cassatt!), and the reader feels very much a part of these richly recreated scenes and conversations. May’s own struggle to create and preserve an artistic authenticity at a time when women were simply not given opportunities to do so, was especially poignant to read.”

Meg writes at A Bookish Affair “This is a look at the complex relationship of sisterhood with all of its love and rivalry.  … The author gets us super close to their lives and the characters, especially May and Louisa begin to feel like friends.” Exactly what I hoped! And at Let Them Read Books: “Jeannine Atkins has shone a spotlight on the other talented Alcott sister, exploring the nature of sisterhood, the effects of fame on a relationship, and the emergence of the modern women. … a well-rounded portrayal of a woman who knew what she wanted but was still plagued by doubts, who wanted to be taken seriously on her own yet still yearned for acceptance and companionship.” Um, have I ever known someone like that?

Last but not at all least, my older sister, who decades ago played Little Women with me, and was writer Jo March, is reading and says she likes it. Awesome.

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Responses

  1. Your sister’s complement is the best of all! 🙂

    • Like with you and Gabrielle, happy, relieved, and mightily touched.

      • 🙂 My sister called me last night gushing over my book. I had used her as a beta reader and made use of many of her suggestions. It means the world that she loves my book.

  2. Wonderful! I loved to read these fantastic reviews!

    • Thanks, Lene. Also wonderful to read your great reviews. Hope you are having a great week!

  3. Wonderful! Congrats, Jeannine!

    • Thank you! (I only need a dog kiss like the one in your great photo).

  4. Oh this is beautiful, Jeannine! Your creation is touching many hearts, and I’m so looking forward to the joy of reading and sharing your story. much love ❤

    • Lorraine, thanks for your gorgeous, steady love. If I knew how to make a heart, I would. Love yours!

  5. So wonderful, Jeannine! I’m happy for you!!

    • Thanks for seeing me through it all!

  6. Congratulations on the book, Jeannine. I didn’t know much about May’s story until we visited Orchard House several years ago. Her paintings show such talent and mastery. I can’t wait to read LITTLE WOMAN IN BLUE.

    • Thank you, Laura. I’m so glad you got to go through Orchard House. Such good paintings, and such stories behind them. Have a fabulous day at the Library of Congress!

  7. Dear Jeannine, I join with all the others here: I loved reading May’s story. Sisterhood is such a complex relationship, and I rooted for May to “have it all.” I’m just sorry her happiness couldn’t have lasted longer. AND you write so beautifully about art! Love! xo

    • Thank you, Irene, who also writes so beautifully about art. I need to read The Color of Lost Rooms again.

  8. p.s. Now I’ve got an audio version of LITTLE WOMEN (which I haven’t read in years!) ready to go!

    • Fantastic! I hope you listen in the car and add your own audio, yelling in the skating scene — your sister did not burn your manuscript!

  9. So happy and proud of you, Jeannine! Can’t wait to read the book!

    • Thanks, Amy. Hope we can get together soon! Fall at the Book Mill — necessary!


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