I rate "Little Women" as one of my favorite books of all time, ever since my early childhood, and I was eager to read Louisa May Alcott's "unknown" stories. (I had already read "Behind A Mask," which is a collection of stories very similar to these.) Frankly, I was disappointed by the quality of the writing. The plots may have been page-turners at that time, but I could see every conceivable twist coming from miles away. After a while, the characters began to bore me to death because every single one was the same.
It seems like Alcott had a story recipe that she followed closely for every story: an amazingly beautiful heroine with a dark secret, at least two or three men who fall desperately in love with her (who have their own dark secrets), a few deaths of some supporting characters along the way whom we don't care about, and a conclusion usually finding the heroine being punished in some way (because underneath her beauty, she is a femme fatale). Every single one of Alcott's heroines has golden tresses, alluring violet eyes, beautiful white arms, and the tiniest daintiest feet. EVERY SINGLE ONE. I had to laugh at how she felt it necessary to describe these attributes over and over and over, and how all of the male characters fell over themselves to be with this cookie-cutter heroine. I think Alcott may also have had a secret fetish for the May-December romance, since in almost all of her stories, there is a theme of the child-bride being married off to a man over 45. She dabbles a bit in drug addiction, incest, mental disability, and plenty of murder and scheming.
STORY 1 "V.V." : Beautiful blond heroine tries to marry a man for his title, but when their marriage falls through, she goes after his cousin. She harbors a dark secret, of course. (Murder, scheming, broken romance)
STORY 2 "A Marble Woman" : Beautiful blond heroine goes to live with her new guardian, who used to be her mom's lover. She eventually marries this man, but discovers that he has a dark secret. (Sort-of incest, opium addiction, May-December romance)
STORY 3 "The Skeleton in the Closet" : Beautiful blond heroine lives alone in a gorgeous house, and she falls in love with the narrator. However, she possesses a dark secret. (Mental illness, suicide, jealousy)
STORY 4 "A Whisper in the Dark" : Beautiful blond heroine who is a wealthy heiress goes to live with her cousin and her uncle, both of whom want her. They try to drive her crazy and steal her fortune. (Mental illness, incest)
I think you get the picture. All in all this is a good beach read or something to pass away the time at, say, a doctor's office or a boring play, but I find Alcott's "sensational" writing to be pretty tedious.