An Unfinished Story by Louisa May Alcott Is Finally Published

The “Little Women” author wrote “Aunt Nellie’s Diary” in 1849 when she was just 17 years old.

Over the years, Lousia May Alcott had a varied career that included writing poems, short stories and thrillers, and now, 171 years later this little-known piece has been published. To find this previously unpublished story is a rare find, as many of the writer’s journals were destroyed by either Alcott herself or by family members acting at her behest.

Aunt Nellie’s Diary is told from the perspective of a single woman who is responsible for looking after her teenage niece, Annie. When Annie’s friend Isabel comes to stay, Nellie becomes concerned that the girl’s attractive exterior hides a “darkness within”.

“Isabel is not what I thought her,” observes Nellie in the story, as quoted by the Guardian. “I fear under a fine gay manner of a light laughing face she conceals a cold unfeeling heart, bent only on the accomplishment of her wishes.”

The 9,000-word work goes on to describe how both girls fall for the motherless Edward Clifford, who possesses his late “mother’s gentle heart beautifully blended with the calm and noble mind of his father”.

It’s been reported that fans of Alcott will “enjoy this novel as it portrays an idyllic life filled with picnics and masked balls, which is a far cry from the life most of are leading today”–given the increasing COVID cases and lockdowns across Canada this is very true!

For all of the new story’s intrigue, Alcott fans don’t need to worry about the ending being spoiled because nine thousand words in, she simply stopped mid-sentence: “I begged and prayed she would …”

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