Moods

Young and inexperienced, Sylvia’s chief flaw is that she is ruled by her moods. All her life decisions are made on the impulse of the moment without a care to propriety or prudence. She is the bane of her sister’s existence who feels that she will never learn, and always be ruled by a whim.
Beautiful and endearing to those around her, it isn’t a surprise when love quickly comes her way. Her childish and impetuous nature give her a vivid and colorful personality that is hard to dislike. She is one of those people who always manage to get their own way. As always, Louisa May Alcott put a moral in her novel, and Sylvia must learn a hard lesson before she can find the happiness of love.
I liked Sylvia, but at times I found it hard to believe how anyone so charming and beautiful¬† could be absolutely unconscious of it. I understand there are people with charm who are unconscious of it, but for someone with that mixture of beauty, charm, spirit and personality to be absolutely unaware of it, seemed doubtful. Especially with the fact that not one, but two men fall in love with her! The only explanation is that Sylvia is still a child, and she has many things to learn before she can make a success of her life. Her turbulent emotions and mood swings cause her, and others, a lot of heartache. She is forever fluctuating between ecstasy and despair.Moods shows the serious side of love and how it is not always just pure joy and ecstasy. Sylvia finds true love the hard way, and she has to give up a lot before she sees it. The novel made me root for one character, then another till I didn’t know what I wanted, so how could Sylvia?! But, through all the haze, she at last finds herself and the peace she had always wanted.

Behind a Mask or A Woman’s Power

In Behind a Mask Louisa May Alcott takes a turn from her usual style. Known for writing the light family drama Little Women, Behind a Mask glimpses towards the darker side. The characters all seem charming in the beginning but we are left wondering how an author who can create such good characters as Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March can create a Jean Muir.

Louisa May Alcott, in her novels, focused a lot on morals. Her heroines are strong-minded young woman who, at the same time are feminine. Jean Muir, a governess, is at first shown as a meek, misunderstood girl of 18 – but she is not what she seems. She quickly instigates herself into the family, worming her way into the hearts of all the occupants. Even the most mistrusting soon succumb to her unique charm. Is she what she seems? Or does she have a dark purpose behind all that she does? What is behind the sweet, misunderstood mask of Jean Muir? Lucia, the fiance of the master of the house, has enough womanly instincts to see past Jean Muir’s feminine wiles, but she lacks the scrutiny and cleverness of Jean Muir. She knows something is wrong but does not have enough insight into the matter, or quickness to do anything about it. Instead, she plays right into Jean’s hands and becomes a catalyst for the inevitable reaction.

I really enjoyed reading Behind a Mask. I have always loved Louisa May Alcott’s writing style and after reading this novel, I like her character portrayal even more. It was refreshing to see another side of human nature and to see how the less fortunate members of society may act. Set in England, the book appeals to me even more; especially since I love books set during the Victorian Era!