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LOUISA MAY ALCOTT THRILLER FINALLY WILL BE PUBLISHED

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"Little Women" wasn't exactly a bodice-ripper. But another novel penned by Louisa May Alcott, too steamy for the publishers of her time, is finally headed for print.

"A Long Fatal Love Chase" was sold last week to Little, Brown & Co. for an undisclosed sum by a collector of Alcott memorabilia, Kent Bicknell. It should be published next year, according to The New Yorker magazine.Unlike "Little Women" and the other heartwarming children's books Alcott is known for, this one's a romantic thriller. It tells the story of a strong-willed young woman stalked all over Europe by her first lover.

Alcott's publisher, James Elliott, rejected it in 1866 as "too long and too sensational."

"This is an adult book, and it's not just for dusty scholars - it's for people at the beach," Bicknell said in the magazine's Dec. 26 issue.

Bicknell acquired Alcott's handwritten, yellowing, 292-page draft for the book in 1991, when it was offered for sale through a rare book store in Manhattan by the author's heirs.