About the book: In this novel authorized by the Little House Heritage Trust, 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.
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
My thoughts: I was thrilled to get the chance to read this book as the Little House series was my favorite as a young girl. I read those books again and again so I was really excited to get a chance to hear the story in Caroline’s voice. Holding this book in my hands took me back to my childhood and all those wonderful hours spent with the Ingalls family. My expectations were extremely high for this book and I didn’t want to be disappointed. I’m so happy to say I wasn’t one bit disappointed in this book and it was everything I was hoping it would be and more.
The tone of this book is different than the Little House books of course since it is told from Caroline’s perspective. I have a whole new admiration for Caroline Ingalls after reading this book. To pack up your family and take what belongings would fit in the wagon and leave everyone you knew and loved behind to go to unsettled territory had to be frightening, to say the least, but Caroline Ingalls did it with grit, determination, and grace (much better than I would have done it all). I could feel her reluctance to go but also the love she had for her husband and the acceptance that this is what she would do.
It made my reader’s heart happy to see some of the same events in the Little House books told in this book. It was like a trip back to my youth and a smile came to my face as I read these parts of the story. I won’t say what they are because I think that’s part of the fun of reading this book is to be able to think “I remember that!” as you come across these events. Oh, and how happy I was to see Mr. Edwards make an appearance in this book! To see him was like securing the knot on the bow that ties this book to the Little House series.
The author did a wonderful job of bringing Caroline Ingalls to life and really telling her story of the move from the big woods of Wisconsin to the flat, sometimes harsh, prairies of Kansas. Her descriptions made me feel as if I were there right alongside the family and experiencing everything Caroline did: her joys at sugar and window panes and also her fears of Indians and the unknown. There are some intimate scenes between Charles and Caroline that, while are tastefully done, are not for young readers.
All in all, this is a fun read. It was great to visit the Ingalls family again after all these years. It was great to get to know Caroline better and afterward, I can definitely say she was the glue that held the Ingalls family together. A wife, mother, nurse, cook, teacher, she was anything and everything she had to be. Caroline Ingalls was a strong woman and this book allows us to see how truly strong she was. This is a must-read book for fans of the Little House series and definitely one for the keeper shelf.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.
About the author: 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.
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