Until 1995, Gone with the Wind--the 1937 Pulitzer Prize winner and perhaps the bestselling novel of all time--was the only published work of fiction credited to Margaret Mitchell. But 45 years after her death, the Road to Tara Museum unveiled what amounts to a national treasure--a novella written by America's most beloved storyteller. Lost Laysen is an exciting tale of love and honor on a South Pacific island. A rough-edged Irish boatsman is smitten with the feisty and independent Courtenay Ross. "Charley boy, I sure did love that little woman, I couldn't help it, tho I knew I never had a chance--she wasn't my kind. I wonder why it's always the little women that appeal to us big fellows?" Courtenay is engaged to a dapper young American who loves her so much, he follows her to the remote island of Laysen to persuade her to come home. What's so remarkable about this story is that Mitchell was just 16 when she put pen to paper and wrote the entire piece in less than a month's time.
Henry Love Angel, a close friend and likely admirer, was the recipient of the two notebooks in which the manuscript for Lost Laysen was written. It was Angel's grandson who discovered the amazing treasure that had been passed down to him--a box of photographs, negatives, correspondence from Mitchell to Angel, and the manuscript. "My dear--" begins one letter. "I was so proud of you, last time I saw you--proud of your love, your courage and resignation and most of all your self confidence. Don't let it drop my dear. I have prayed so hard that you would have it because without it you can never amount to much. With it and work, the world lies ahead. If ever you begin to get discouraged and lose confidence in your self--draw on my supply for I believe in you. Just set your mark and go to it." The never-before-seen photographs show Mitchell and a variety of friends goofing for the camera. This book provides charming insight into a brief period of Mitchell's life--one full of youthful folly, exuberance, and obvious joy. [via]