"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."
This romantic cliffhanger about a woman pursued by her ex-lover, a relentless stalker, seems sprung from today's headlines. Yet Alcott (1832-1888) wrote it more than a century and a quarter ago, in 1866 (two years before the appearance of Little Women), only to see it rejected it as "too sensational'' by the magazine that had requested it. The novel has remained unpublished until now. Its heroine, the lonely, trusting 18-year-old Rosamond Vivian, who lives with her flinty, unloving grandfather on an English island, falls for the cynical, suave Phillip Tempest, who's nearly twice her age. He whisks her off to his Mediterranean villa near Nice, promising to marry her, but when she discovers that he is secretly married (and strongly suspects that he has murdered the son he never acknowledged), Rosamond flees to Paris, assuming a new identity. Phillip obsessively stalks her for two years, from France, where she seeks refuge in a convent and falls in love with a protective priest, to Germany, where Phillip has her committed to a lunatic asylum; eventually she flees to England. Alcott's portrayals of the pathological Phillip and of the conflicted Rosamond-who initially clings to her ex-lover, hoping to reform him until she realizes he is a murderous brute-show strong psychological insights. This absorbing novel revises our image of a complex and, it is now clear, prescient writer. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild selection; first serial to Ladies Home Journal; film rights to Citadel Entertainment (Sept.)