ABOUT THE BOOK
Publisher: Pink Umbrella Books
Publication date: October 16, 2019
Number of pages: 322
In late 1875 Louisa May Alcott spent a winter in New York City. Her journals give a rough sketch of the people she met, the salons she attended and a few outings that she enjoyed. She intended to stay “until I am tired of it,” but left abruptly in mid-January.
Filled with biographical references to Louisa’s family, New Yorkers of the time and Alcott’s literary works, Only Gossip Prospers intertwines the real people Louisa met, the actual events of New York City and a host of fictional characters who inhabit a world that Louisa herself would recognize. Written in a style reminiscent of Alcott’s juvenile fiction and short adventure stories, the book is part historical fiction, part love letter to the charm of 1870s New York and part biography of Louisa and her contemporaries. Only Gossip Prospers enters the debate that still hovers over Little Women as to what was “real” and what was “made up.” There are some twists and surprises, including one that will satisfy the greatest question left unanswered for fans of Little Women: what really happened between Jo and Laurie?
Only Gossip Prospers mashes together fact and fiction to draw a realistic portrait of Louisa May Alcott at the height of her fame.
Louisa May Alcott is the author of one of my favorite books, Little Women, and this book, Only Gossip Prospers, is a depiction of the time that Alcott spent in New York City after she had enjoyed great success with her masterpiece. Louisa is middle-aged when she decides to travel to New York City in 1875 and she encounters both the good and bad sides of this city. She is thrilled with the lights, the stores, and the plays but appalled to see orphaned children, apparently hungry and cold, thrust into the work force.
It is evident that author Lorraine Tosiello has done extensive research about Louisa and this time period and she has seamlessly woven these historical facts into her fictional story. Louisa meets the famous and not-so-famous and she uses her celebrity to help those who need a helping hand. But then, after being disheartened by several experiences, Louisa realizes that "She was profoundly tired of being away from home. Everything in New York had turned out to be the opposite of what she expected."
The timing for the publication of this book is perfect because of a new movie version of Little Women that is being released this holiday season and I especially enjoyed the references to Jo and Laurie sprinkled throughout the story. As a fan of Louisa May Alcott and of historical fiction, I heartily recommend Only Gossip Prospers.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher, Pink Umbrella Books. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are my own.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lorraine Tosiello read Alcott’s Little Women in the first grade—and re-read it again and again throughout most of her childhood. The book equipped her to set off on a journey of motherhood, traveling, rabble-rousing and work as a physician devoted to medical education and primary care medicine. Rereading Little Women in later adulthood rekindled her Alcott enthusiasm, and years of happy study resulted in her first novel, Only Gossip Prospers. She lives with her husband in midtown Manhattan and at the New Jersey shore.