Some of my favorite books when I was quite a young girl were Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon mysteries. As I got older I loved Little Women. So really... a Nancy/Trixie type mystery starring Louisa May Alcott? Anna MacLean could have written this book just for me. Want to know what it's all about? Check here.
It has been a really long time since I have read Nancy or Trixie and I wonder if there is room for another young female sleuth flouting convention, courting danger and solving crime. I really hope there is because Anna MacLean puts together a pretty fun read (and this is only the first in the series). Louisa reminds me so much of Jo from 'Little Women'. In fact, secondary to the mystery, as we learn about Louisa and her life it's possible to find hints and beginnings to the author Louisa would become.
Being an historical novel, the language is sometimes tricky but that adds to the feel of the setting. The descriptions of 1800's Boston life and society are well presented. In some books, description can slip over into the realm of lecture which is boring and slows the story. Ms MacLean doesn't allow that to happen in her novel. Rather the descriptions are cleverly woven into the story so the reader feels the heaviness of the fog without realizing it is being described.
The mystery is clever and well constructed. I was kept guessing until very close to the end of the book. There is so much going on in Louisa's life, and the life of her family, that the reader is just distracted enough to miss a few clues here and there - but there's not enough going on to be confusing or to interfere with the flow of the story. A perfect balance.
Louisa, her family and the rest of the cast are now a part of my life. Can't wait to read the next one! Best part is, as much as I (an adult - really!) enjoyed being part of Louisa's adventure, so would any girl old enough to read chapter books. What a pleasure to find a good book that can be enjoyed by all ages.