Little Woman in Blue
By: Jeannine Atkins
The story of Little Women is one of the most iconic children’s stories, especially for young girls. Louise Alcott achieved fame as an author by creating stories around her life and interactions with her sisters as well as the world around them. While many of us are familiar with Louise, there is less known about her sister, May. As Louise was talented in writing, May was gifted in art. The two young women set aside the pursuit of suitors and invested themselves in their passions striving to help their family and to make a living realizing their dreams. Together and apart these two were very much affected by each other and it is because of her love for Little Women, that Jeannine Atkins researched and wove together a life-like story to tell of the life of the author’s sister and illustrator, May Alcott. Little Woman in Blue tells the story of how May supported herself and her family through various jobs, including teaching drawing classes to young women of society, and fund her dream of traveling overseas to study and produce art professionally. In a time when women could not study under the masters and were only recently allowed to begin showing their paintings, this is a story of dedication, perseverance, of manifesting one’s destiny all with the gentility expected of a woman.
Atkins’ writing is as fluid as the brush strokes of an oil painting and portrays this brave young woman in a new light that we have never seen before. The fictional telling of her life, her passion and of her love is a gift to readers who have loved Louise Alcott’s Little Women. It was a great book and very enjoyable to read, quite like taking in a beautiful painting. From the fashion, to duties and customs, to traveling, and life before and during the Civil War there is much that readers can learn outside of the life of May Alcott and her sisters. I’d recommend this book to fans of Little Women, as well as to students of history and art. Little Woman in Blue is a great book to pick up for the Summer or to take on vacation and will with the swish of a skirt hem whisk you away to a different time and place.