This collection reads as a Louisa May Alcott "greatest hits" sequence, where a little bit of everything from her career is included. A number of her early pot-boiler short stories published anonymously or under the pseudonym "A.M. Barnard" are presented, as well as a full length version of Moods with her later work including excerpts from the Little Women sequels, Work and A Modern Mephistopheles. This is a great introduction for a reader who wants to explore Alcott's work beyond Little Women , and also includes excerpts from her letters and journals. The one thing missing is "Hospital Sketches", but her journal from her experiences as a Civil War nurse tell some of the same stories. I was especially impressed by the inclusion of some of her journal entries and letters. The reader sees her struggling to find success as an author, support her family, and in some ways getting both of those in the end. Much of her work is semi-autobiographical, and the inclusion of the journals and letters strengthens the links the reader can see between her various characters and plots to actual people and events in her life. Her work reflects the social movements of her time and the acute social awareness that came with living around one of the major eras of change in the United States. Her writing for children brought her fame, her pot-boiler horror stories brought her money, and through out her work collected in this volume, a reader sees her trying to negotiate her ambitions, successes, failures, and her emergence as a giant of American literature. In addition to being of literary importance, Louisa May Alcott's work is as engaging and interesting. It's good to see the side of her that's not the March sisters, because her writing career was much more extensive and varied than one would think.