Kelly O'Connor McNees visits Google's Ann Arbor office to present his book "The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott". This event took place on April 12, 2010, as part of the Authors@Google series. Millions of readers across generations have laughed and cried with the March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—of Louisa May Alcotts classic novel, Little Women. And there has never been a more beloved heroine in the history of American letters than Jo March, Louisas alter ego and an iconic figure of independent spirit and big dreams. But as Louisa knew all too well, big dreams often come at a cost. In her debut novel, The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, Kelly OConnor McNees deftly mixes fact and fiction as she imagines a summer lost to history, carefully purged from Louisas letters and journals, a summer that would change the course of Louisas writing career—and inspire the story of love and heartbreak between Jo and Teddy Laurie Laurence, Jos devoted neighbor and kindred spirit. In the summer of 1855, Walt Whitmans controversial Leaves of Grass has just been released, and the notion of making a living as a writer is still a far-off dream for Louisa. She is twenty-two years old, vivacious, and bursting with a desire to be free of her family and societal constraints so she can do what she loves the most—write. The Alcott family, destitute, as usual, moves to a generous uncles empty house in Walpole, New Hampshire, for the summer. Here, a striking but pensive Louisa meets the fictional Joseph Singer. Louisa is initially unimpressed by Josephs charms. But just as Louisa begins to open her heart, she learns that Joseph may not be free to give his away. Their newfound love carries a steep price, and Louisa fears she may pay with the independence she has fought so hard to protect.
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