Louisa May Alcott - A Long Fatal Love Chase
A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My love for this book really knows no bounds. It was recommended to me by a very good friend and I can now see why. This is the kind of story other gothic romance / thrillers strive to be but fall short of becoming. The villain is crafty and cruel, selfish and truly evil. The heroine is very brave and strong without it seeming unnatural or impossible for the time she lives in. The side characters are memorable and used well without taking away from the main characters.
What I found really fantastic about the side characters were the strong women shown who weren't made out to be jealous or petty toward Rosamond, but were shown to help her be her friends. It's something you don't really see enough of in stories, so it adds a wonderful and unexpected dimension to an already deep story.
The weakest part of the story, in my opinion, is the sub-plot of Ignatius' love for Rosamond. However, even this serves the purpose of clearly defining her choices. There's Tempest representing the temptation to give in to pleasure and the easy path and there's Ignatius who, by his own struggle between love and duty, represents the more difficult but ultimately right path of forgoing temporary happiness and pleasure.
Now, while being the representations of these two choices could lead to the characters being cardboard cut-outs, they are instead skillfully given depth by Alcott. Even Tempest, who could be nothing more than a caricature, is given a bit of humanity in that he did love his son and was thankful the boy was alive. Ignatius could have been represented as almost saintly, but we do have some human moments, such as when he slips up during the confrontation in the moor and attacks Tempest for insulting Rosamond.
To be honest, the icing on the cake –what really tips this story from 4 stars to 5– is the small and subtle foreshadowing we have for the ending given at the very beginning of the story when Tempest talks about the vision he saw in a mirror. Add to that the ending which was so perfectly dramatic and dark and I can't help but love this book.
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