Genre: Historical Fiction

Caroline by Sarah Miller

Posted September 22, 2017 by Anne in Book Review | | 1 Comment

Caroline  by Sarah MillerCaroline Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller
Published by William Morrow on September 19, 2017
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
three-stars

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.

 

About Sarah Miller

Sarah Miller began writing her first novel at the age of ten, and has spent the last two decades working in libraries and bookstores. She is the author of two previous historical novels, Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller, and The Lost Crown. Her nonfiction debut, The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century, was hailed by the New York Times as “a historical version of Law & Order.” She lives in Michigan.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:


Audio Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Audio Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Posted June 5, 2017 by Jonetta in Book Review | 6 Comments

    The story begins right before the German occupation of France in 1940 and continues through the Allied liberation but told retrospectively by one of the two main characters in 1995. The focus is on two sisters, Vianne Mauriac and Isabelle Rossignol, who couldn’t differ more in disposition and outlook about the war. Through their eyes and voice, we’re given a unique view of life in occupation for French residents who weren’t Jewish and their roles in the Resistance.   Most are familiar with the cruelties of the Nazi SS and the Gestapo but this story’s focus was on how ordinary French people reacted to the takeover of their livelihood and liberties. Isabelle’s and Vianne’s differences in approach probably best represented most of their […]


Audio Review: The Ghost by Monica McCarty

Audio Review: The Ghost by Monica McCarty

Posted January 23, 2017 by Jonetta in Book Review | 0 Comments

  When she witnessed the inhumane treatment of her mother at the hands of the English, Joan Comyn silently vowed her allegiance to the king of Scotland. As soon as she was old enough, she used her wiles to extract vital information from powerful men and delivered it to Robert Bruce and his Highland Guard. She became known only to them as the Ghost, her identity secreted. But she was infamous to all as the effect of her treachery was damaging. Alex Seaton, formerly a member of the Guard before her time, is now working on behalf of King Edward and is committed to squirreling out the spy. However, he’s beguiled by Joan and she with him. This series is ending on the highest note […]


Who Buries the Dead by C. S. Harris

Who Buries the Dead by C. S. Harris

Posted November 1, 2016 by Jonetta in Book Review | 2 Comments

    Sebastian St. Cyr is drawn to a case where the victim, Stanley Preston, was beheaded after being stabbed. Preston was the cousin of the Home Secretary so it is a high profile murder with a host of equally high profile suspects, including Simon Oliphant. Needless to say, it puts Sebastian and his family in the killer’s crosshairs.   This was one of the more intriguing stories in the series. I especially liked how historical figures such as Jane Austen and Henry Addington were skillfully incorporated into the plot. The author created an environment that could be construed to have impacted Austen’s stories. And, England’s macabre history of beheadings was center stage.   It was also lovely to see Sebastian and Hero’s relationship continue […]


Why Mermaids Sing by C. S. Harris

Why Mermaids Sing by C. S. Harris

Posted July 29, 2016 by Jonetta in Book Review | 2 Comments

      Sebastian takes on another puzzling and gruesome case at the behest of Magistrate Lovejoy. Young men are being murdered, their bodies brutally treated with objects placed in their mouths. The case takes him down interesting and surprising paths.  This story is the best yet, written nimbly but without sacrificing the author’s extraordinary skill in descriptively creating a strong sense of time, place and social atmosphere. I felt like I could see, feel and smell early 19th century London. The case was difficult but assembling clues wasn’t, allowing the reader to get there with Sebastian. Yet, I’m still not sure I was prepared for the outcome.  There are some startling surprises revealed near the end of the story with far-reaching implications. I am SO […]


Audio Review: The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

Audio Review: The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

Posted July 4, 2016 by Jonetta in Book Review | 4 Comments

     Light keeper Tom Sherbourne and his wife, Isabel, live in isolation on Janus Point in Australia in 1926. When her third pregnancy ends with the child stillborn, Izzy is devastated as her first two had resulted in miscarriages. Seemingly miraculously, a boat turns up with a crying infant and her obviously deceased father. Tom and Izzy make a decision in that moment that will forever change their and many others’ destinies.   What a beautifully written story for such tragic circumstances. Whatever you might think intellectually of Tom and Izzy’s decisions, the emotional constructs were brilliantly delivered to give you pause before judgment. Izzy often seemed self-focused and cruel but when you considered where she’d been, it made more sense, like it or […]


Audio Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Audio Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Posted June 7, 2016 by Jonetta in Book Review | 7 Comments

    I don’t know what I was expecting when I decided to read this story since I relied on friends’ recommendations. I knew it was about Stalin’s deportation of Lithuanians in 1939, which in itself was an aspect of world history I hadn’t known. Nothing could have prepared me for the reality of that action, told using fictional characters (with one exception) but recited based on factual recollections.   I implore you to read this book as there was a concerted governmental effort to bury what happened to the Lithuanians, Estonians and Latvians for decades. It is an important story because it needs to be known and what happened should never be repeated. The author asks that we share it and I’m certainly taking […]


Audio Review: The Striker by Monica McCarty

Audio Review: The Striker by Monica McCarty

Posted April 19, 2016 by Jonetta in Book Review | 2 Comments

    Highland Guard Eoin MacLean is completely captivated by Margaret (Maggie) MacDowell, despite her unconventional behavior and her being the daughter of Dugald MacDowell who opposes Bruce’s claim to the throne. After their whirlwind marriage, he has cause to believe she betrayed him and Bruce’s warriors to her father. Thinking Eoin had died in that fateful clash, Margaret prepares to remarry six years later, only to have him show up at the moment she’s to take her vows. But, she’s also got a surprise in store for him, too.   I loved this story, even when Maggie and Eoin’s relationship woes would alternately make me want to scream or cry. Their behavior, however, was completely realistic given the circumstances. I enjoyed having Robert Bruce […]