Someone asked me what inspired me to write Marmee & Louisa. Had I
always wanted to write about the Alcotts, or did the discovery of May Alcott family papers in the attic prompt this dual biography of Louisa May Alcott and her mother?
Finding new documents was thrilling, but the real inspiration for Marmee & Louisa was a set of mysteries that arose as I began to read and learn more about the Alcott women. There were so many unanswered questions: Was the March family invented by Louisa in Little Women in fact autobiographical, as everyone assumed? Who was the real Mr. March, a character who seems nothing like Louisa’s father, Bronson Alcott? Was Marmee, the mother in the novel, an accurate portrayal of her real mother, Abigail? And why was it that the adult Louisa, in spite of her extraordinary success as an entrepreneur and writer, never really separated from her first family?
Those mysteries drove me to research and write Marmee & Louisa, which, to my amazement, clarified them all.