Published by William Morrow on September 19, 2017
Genres: Historical Fiction
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In this novel authorized by the Little House estate, Sarah Miller vividly recreates the beauty, hardship, and joys of the frontier in a dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never before—Caroline Ingalls, "Ma" in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books.
In the frigid days of February, 1870, Caroline Ingalls and her family leave the familiar comforts of the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the warm bosom of her family, for a new life in Kansas Indian Territory. Packing what they can carry in their wagon, Caroline, her husband Charles, and their little girls, Mary and Laura, head west to settle in a beautiful, unpredictable land full of promise and peril.
The pioneer life is a hard one, especially for a pregnant woman with no friends or kin to turn to for comfort or help. The burden of work must be shouldered alone, sickness tended without the aid of doctors, and babies birthed without the accustomed hands of mothers or sisters. But Caroline’s new world is also full of tender joys. In adapting to this strange new place and transforming a rough log house built by Charles’ hands into a home, Caroline must draw on untapped wells of strength she does not know she possesses.
For more than eighty years, generations of readers have been enchanted by the adventures of the American frontier’s most famous child, Laura Ingalls Wilder, in the Little House books. Now, that familiar story is retold in this captivating tale of family, fidelity, hardship, love, and survival that vividly reimagines our past.
I’m a big fan of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, so I had to try Caroline. I have, in fact, been to all the locations from the books in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, and South Dakota. I think they actually lived in Iowa for a short time, and I grew up there, but I don’t know if there is anything commemorating their stay there.
This view of Caroline Ingalls is based on the books, plus standard views of the time. I don’t read much historical fiction, because the standard views and sometimes the treatment of women is annoying. It is difficult to hear her perspective on what is acceptable for her and her children to do. I also am not a fan of the religious bits. The story is only their trip from Wisconsin to Kansas and their time in Kansas. It is during the same time period as the second book, Little House on the Prairie.
Laura, as in the series, is a bright spot of passion and life. I am glad to have read this and it held true to the series with some more historically accurate, adult details. It felt good to be in this beloved world.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: