Exclusive: Alcott’s Little Women & Werewolves 1868 Rejection Letter

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At first, it’s tough not to dispel Del Ray’s upcoming Little Women & Werewolves ($14, Amazon) as just another literary mash-up. After all, there are almost too many monster-infused titles to separate the good from the groan-worthy.

Author Seth Grahame-Smith sent publishers into a frenzy over his Austen mash-up Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, and hit another home run with a mucked up version of the story of our sixteenth president with Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. Hollywood started to bite, and the monster/masterpiece juggernaut was officially sent into orbit.

(More on Techland: Pride & Prejudice & Prequels: Mash-Up Author Talks Austen & Zombies)

These mixtures of classics and creatures have left some fans with a bitter taste, spouting complaints of re-imagining an author’s life work into a book they had never intended to write – but what if they had? What if the original author would have preferred their story with a horror-spin? That’s exactly what publisher Del Ray is saying about Little Women and Werewolves, set to hit bookstores May 4.

According to the book’s co-author (and librarian) Porter Grand, she discovered an aged manuscript titled Little Women and Werewolves in a box of books left to her by a library patron. She didn’t suspect the story’s authenticity until she flipped to the last page and found a rejection letter addressed to Alcott from her publisher, asking her to cut out the werewolves to spare the “frail palates of women readers.”

(More on Techland: Gone With the Wind … With Vampires)

In a Techland exclusive, Del Ray is giving us a sneak peek at that letter that effectively killed the story Alcott had always wanted to write – until now.