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Pauline's Passion and Punishment

Louisa May Alcott

Book Overview: 

Before she wrote Little Women and Little Men, Louisa, writing under the pseudonym A.M. Barnard, wrote this `blood and thunder' thriller. This was during the period when Louisa worked a nurse during the American Civil war. The rigid and unfair roles of men and women of this period, their expectations and desires, plays at large in this story of betrayed love, anger, petulance, and ultimately, vengeance.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .softness vanished, the stern woman reappeared, and, crushing it in her hand with slow significance, she said low to herself, "This is an old, old story, but it shall have a new ending."

Chapter II

"What jewels will the señora wear tonight?"

"None, Dolores. Manuel has gone for flowers—he likes them best. You may go."

"But the señora's toilette is not finished; the sandals, the gloves, the garland yet remain."

"Leave them all; I shall not go down. I am tired of this endless folly.
Give me that book and go."

The pretty Creole obeyed; and careless of Dolores' work, Pauline sank into the deep chair with a listless mien, turned the pages for a little, then lost herself in thoughts that seemed to bring no rest.

Silently the young husband entered and, pausing, regarded his wife with mingled pain and pleasure—pa. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is one of Louisa May Alcott's darkest works, again showing how talented she was at writing in different genres; a mark of a great author.

This is a tale of a scorned woman's revenge on a man who informed her - via letter - that he'd dropped her to marry someone with more money.

Thus the passion

Not my favorite Alcott short story by far but I will never say no to a spicy revenge plot.

Much better than its Gothic potboiler predecessor, with a cast of unruly and dislikable characters that you keep reading to find more about. This read more like a dark, perilous soap opera, with all of the foreign drama and intrigue that was appropriate for the time. Having heroism meet its death at

So different from Little Women, this is a short melodramatic tale of the kind we remember Jo writing. That said, it's unusual in that it takes issue with all those rakish men in nineteenth century literature who spurn the woman they love for an advantageous marriage (Willoughby, Grandcourt, just for

Hard to believe this was written by Louisa May Alcott. The anger of a woman spurned. Quite a Vixen really, But in her plans for retribution, Pauline uses other people. Even the infatuation of a young man who would do anything for her. Makes you wonder how blinded by vengeance she was that she could

Quite a strong story of betrayal, revenge, romance, and riches by the author of “Little Women.”

A little disturbing, considering it's written by the author of Little Women...But a classic thriller with a horrifying ending...Fun to read!

A quick little tale of revenge, a morality play where the innocent are despoiled by the malevolent compulsions of the impure. Alcott wrote several of these "pulps," which she referred to as "blood and thunder tales," for the National Enquirer-esque newspapers of her day. They were melodramatic psych

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