A Long Fatal Love Chase

by Louisa May Alcott

Hardcover, 1995

Collection

Description

I'd gladly sell my soul to Satan for a year of freedom, cries impetuous Rosamond Vivian to her callous grandfather. Then, one stormy night, a brooding stranger appears in her remote island home, ready to take Rosamond to her word. Spellbound by the mysterious Philip Tempest, Rosamond is seduced with promises of love and freedom, then spirited away on Tempest's sumptuous yacht. But she soon finds herself trapped in a web of intrigue, cruelty, and deceit. Desperate to escape, she flees to Italy, France, and Germany, from Parisian garret to mental asylum, from convent to chateau, as Tempest stalks every step of the fiery beauty who has become his obsession. A story of dark love and passionate obsession that was considered too sensational to be published in the authors lifetime, A Long Fatal Love Chase was written for magazine serialization in 1866, two years before the publication of Little Women. Buried among Louisa May Alcott's papers for more than a century, its publication is a literary landmark--a novel that is bold, timeless, and mesmerizing. From the Paperback edition.… (more)

Library's rating

Rating

(241 ratings; 3.5)

User reviews

LibraryThing member haymaai
Louisa May Alcott wrote ‘A Long Fatal Love Chase’ in 1866, long before it was acceptable to write scandalous stories about unrequited and obsessive love. Although this story was published over one hundred years after it was written, it is a testament to Alcott’s gifted writing, as well as her courage in writing about controversial topics, such as women’s right to divorce, to maintain custody of children, and to live independently of men in a Victorian society which was then very patriarchal. After researching this novel, I found out that this book was originally written for a magazine, but was never published during Alcott’s lifetime, possibly because it was too scandalous. The editor of the book noted that the author revised the original manuscript considerably, probably to tone down some of the more controversial elements of the story and to shorten it for serialization. In editing Alcott’s work for this current publication, the editor sought to restore a bulk of the original story as was originally intended.
Young Rosamond Vivian lives on a remote island off the coast of England with her indifferent grandfather. She is completely bored and desires a more interesting life, saying, “…I often feel as if I’d gladly sell my soul to Satan for a year of freedom.” Into the plot steps Phillip Tempest, charming and beguiling, and nearly twice the age of Rosamond. Tempest, who is likened to Mephistopheles, a demon in Greek literature, sweeps Rosamond away in his yacht to travel the world, beginning a worldwide adventure of love, cruelty, and intrigue in which Rosamond tries to flee her captor. Elements of goodness and evil are contrasted, as Rosamond solicits help from Ignatius, a handsome, but honorable clergyman who falls in love with her. Ignatius, lives to protect Rosamond, while maintaining his commitment to God. Without giving too much away, let me just say that the story’s end presents a satisfactory resolution to the problem and demonstrates Alcott’s boldness in creating a dramatic finale to a tragic love triangle.
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LibraryThing member mldavis2
I found this an interesting novel on several levels. I have never read any of Alcott's novels, such as Little Women, which have a reputation for being wholesome tales for YA's. The writing here follows Victorian convention for naivete and often overstated (wink, wink) hints as to unspoken character thoughts, but the subject matter is more adult oriented with an obsessed man stalking an innocent but flighty heroine. There are undertones of Alcott's emerging women's lib attitude, and the entire mix is made more interesting by the knowledge that Alcott wrote and re-wrote this several times attempting to have it published and acknowledged. The book holds the reader's attention and is an interesting contrast to her other works.… (more)
LibraryThing member nandelh
I gave this novel and 3 star because I decide if I really like the story. I didn't enjoy reading about a cruel friend or lover and how he manipulated her life. But it was fast reading and it did keep interest going.
LibraryThing member bhowell
a first class thriller, frequently ignored by Alcott fans
LibraryThing member edella
a story of dark love and passionate obsession that was considered "too sensational" to be published in the author's lifetimer. It was written for magazine serialisation two years befoe little women. She earned money by writing several sensational stories.
LibraryThing member heidilove
very good indeed. Glad to see it in publication, and likely my favorite story and character of Alcott's.
LibraryThing member Allisinner
I first read this book in university and loved the escapism it provided me. It is a first rate thiller and gothic romance. I have re-read it a couple of times. You see how easily Rosamund is taken by the mysterious Philip and caught up in the still all too common desire women have to save/redeem someone. The story takes you all over Europe as Rosamund tries to escape from the obsessive love.… (more)
LibraryThing member raizel
It kept my interest, I cared about the characters (although I didn't feel I knew them very well). It was a fun read, certainly more entertaining than Little Women, which is too wholesome for my tastes. (At least the first half; I never got around to the rest of it.)

A sweet, innocent young girl (18) falls in love with an older, dangerous man. He really loves her and is willing to cause the death of others to keep her. When she realizes that he has deceived her, she runs away and is befriended by good, kind people, but....well, I don't want to spoil everything, because it looks as if everything will work out pretty well until the last page or so, but the title is not misleading. SPOILER: Tempest, trying to kill the man he sees as his adversary for Rosamond's love, unwittingly kills her instead. Realizing this, he then kills himself: A fatal love chase for both. Oh, and there is a character named Willoughby, who is English and not at all like Jane Austen's character of the same name.

I don't know why the book was not published until 1995; it was written in 1866 and turned down by Alcott's publisher. Maybe the fact that Philip Tempest already has a wife when he marries Rosamond or the platonic love between Rosamond and a priest or the unfavorable depiction of the other Catholics in the convent where she takes refuge or the positive depiction of an actress.
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LibraryThing member ncpoekert
A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott (1995)
LibraryThing member whidbeysue
I really liked this book. It was a quick read and intriguing especially coming from Louisa May Alcott. It's a side of her that few know.
LibraryThing member PhilSyphe
Rosamund - the young, beautiful, and strong-willed heroine - meets Philip Tempest; a handsome yet dubious man more than 15 years older than her. He leads her away from her monotonous life in England and they sail away together to Europe.

After a year of happiness Rosamund starts to realise that Philip isn't the man she thought he was. One thing leads to another and she leaves him without a word.

Although a bad man, Philip genuinely loves Rosamund. He and his spies track her down, lose her again, find and them lose her again, and so the love chase continues in this vein throughout the book.

Although I really liked this novel it didn't live up to my expectations after reading all the hype beforehand. I do agree, however, that it feels like it was written in 1995 rather than 1865. The prose, plotting, and themes feel modern, therefore it comes across like an historical novel.

I do admire Miss Alcott's talents as an author, as she proved her worth by writing in different genres.

Strange to think that there was a time when a book like this couldn't be published on account of it being "too sensational". I'm glad we live in a more open-minded time.
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LibraryThing member ChrisNewton
I gotta say, Louisa is one hell of a story teller. I picked this up at a book sale several years ago and just got around to reading it. I had no idea it going to be such a page turner. A lot of fun and smack in the middle of the Gothic thriller tradition.
LibraryThing member Gmomaj
"I'd gladly sell my soul to Satan for a year of freedom," cries impetuous Rosamond Vivian to her callous grandfather. Then, one stormy night, a brooding stranger appears in her remote island home, ready to take Rosamond to her word. Spellbound by the mysterious Philip Tempest, Rosamond is seduced with promises of love and freedom, then spirited away on Tempest's sumptuous yacht. But she soon finds herself trapped in a web of intrigue, cruelty, and deceit. Desperate to escape, she flees to Italy, France, and Germany, from Parisian garret to mental asylum, from convent to chateau, as Tempest stalks every step of the fiery beauty who has become his obsession.

A story of dark love and passionate obsession that was considered "too sensational" to be published in the authors lifetime, A Long Fatal Love Chase was written for magazine serialization in 1866, two years before the publication of Little Women. Buried among Louisa May Alcott's papers for more than a century, its publication is a literary landmark—a novel that is bold, timeless, and mesmerizing."
… (more)
LibraryThing member JenniferRobb
A friend loaned me this book. I've read a few other Louisa May Alcott's books but none were like this one. I agree with my friend that the end of the book was better than the beginning.

First of all, it's never a good idea to sell your soul or make a deal with the devil. And I agree with my friend that there were signs in Tempest that Rosamond should have heeded as well as her not knowing him well enough to go off with him even if she was "bored" at her grandfather's.

I did like Ignatius's love of Rosamond. Though he was tempted to betray his priestly vows, he did not. He did love her in the way he could while keeping his vows--by being her friend, by spending time with her, by being truthful and true, by supporting her.

I was glad to see Lito and his mother reunited but also that Lito could still show grace to his father.

There's a bit of irony in the way Rosamond dies--that Tempest's pursuit of her is what causes her death but not in the way a reader would think. Ignatius leads us to believe that Rosamond was a believer and will go to heaven. I'm not as certain of that as he seems to be since I saw few instances of Christian beliefs in Rosamond. Yes, she did step away from Tempest once she knew their marriage was a sham, but that could have been out of propriety or for some other reason than Christian beliefs. She also hid out for a while as a nun, but she never took vows and I didn't get the sense that she believed in God--she almost seemed to believe more in Ignatius than in God (to me,anyway).

Though at least in death, she is past the influence of Tempest.
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LibraryThing member yazzyfuzz
A shocking novel (for the time at least). One can understand why it was not then published in full. Riveting read about a frighteningly passionate and obbessive love affair.

Publication

Random House, New York

Original publication date

1995

Pages

242

ISBN

0679445102 / 9780679445104

Language

Original language

English
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