Cover image for The other Alcott
The other Alcott
Hooper, Elise, author.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2017]

Physical Description:
408, 17 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 21 cm
A tale inspired by the life of Louisa May Alcott's youngest sister finds young May longing to study art outside of the confines of her Concord home before turning down a marriage proposal and pursuing an identity in contrast to the spoiled and worldly character of Amy in her sister's famed novel.
General Note:
Includes P.S.: insights, interviews & more ...
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Adult Fiction On Display
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



A People Magazine and POPSUGAR pick!

"[May's] adventures illuminate the world of intrepid female artists in the late 1800s [...] The Other Alcott comes alive in its development of the relationship between Louisa and May." --The New York Times

Elise Hooper's debut novel conjures the fascinating, untold story of May Alcott--Louisa's youngest sister and an artist in her own right.

We all know the story of the March sisters, heroines of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. But while everyone cheers on Jo March, based on Louisa herself, Amy March is often the least favorite sister. Now, it's time to learn the truth about the real "Amy", Louisa's sister, May.

Stylish, outgoing, creative, May Alcott grows up longing to experience the wide world beyond Concord, Massachusetts. While her sister Louisa crafts stories, May herself is a talented and dedicated artist, taking lessons in Boston, turning down a marriage proposal from a well-off suitor, and facing scorn for entering what is very much a man's profession.

Life for the Alcott family has never been easy, so when Louisa's Little Women is published, its success eases the financial burdens they'd faced for so many years. Everyone agrees the novel is charming, but May is struck to the core by the portrayal of selfish, spoiled "Amy March." Is this what her beloved sister really thinks of her?

So May embarks on a quest to discover her own true identity, as an artist and a woman. From Boston to Rome, London, and Paris, this brave, talented, and determined woman forges an amazing life of her own, making her so much more than merely "The Other Alcott."

"Elise Hooper's thoroughly modern debut gives a fresh take on one of literature's most beloved families. To read this book is to understand why the women behind Little Women continue to cast a long shadow on our imaginations and dreams. Hooper is a writer to watch!"--Elisabeth Egan, author of A Window Opens

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The popularity of Little Women has finally brought the Alcott family a measure of financial security, but Louisa May Alcott's youngest sister, Abigail, known as May, is dismayed by her portrayal as frivolous Amy March and mortified by scathing reviews of the illustrations she contributed to the book. Determined to be a professional artist (if Louisa can do it, why can't she?), she sends an unsupportive suitor packing and takes up serious study, initially on Louisa's dime. Despite the obstacles presented by family obligations, Louisa's controlling nature, and the lack of opportunities for women, she carves out a career and an independent life. She becomes part of a circle of artists in Paris, making friends with painter Mary Cassatt and exhibiting in the prestigious Paris Salon. Her late marriage to a man 15 years her junior proves a woman can be both artist and wife. In her debut novel, Hooper fleshes out the outline of May's biography to create a sympathetic character, and does a convincing job of showing May's artistic development.--Quinn, Mary Ellen Copyright 2017 Booklist

Library Journal Review

[DEBUT] How do you know when you become an artist?, ponders May Alcott, younger sister of author Louisa May. May painted for years, furnishing illustrations for the first edition of Little Women (1868). Reviews that praise Louisa's novel while criticizing May's drawings, saying they "lack realistic proportion and look stiff," devastate the 28-year-old artist. Disappointment pushes her to seek artistic instruction, first in Boston, then in Europe. Other female artists offer support, with one telling her, "Don't wait for anyone else to call you an artist. If you wait around for other people to define you, you'll be saddled with their expectations." Newcomer Hooper (American history and literature, Bush Sch., Seattle) interlaces May's story with the struggle women of the time faced in becoming something other than merely wives and mothers. With the sesquicentennial of Little Women set to be celebrated in 2018, this title is not to be missed by the classic's many fans who will want to get an insider's look at the real people who inspired the March family. Verdict Like other novels that illuminate lesser-known relatives of famous people (e.g., Marie Benedict's The Other Einstein and Melanie Benjamin's The Aviator's Wife), this one focuses on the artist whom Little Women fans first knew as Amy March.-Wendy W. Paige, Shelby Cty. P.L., Morristown, IN © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.