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Caroline: Little House, Revisited

Caroline: Little House, Revisited Book Cover Caroline: Little House, Revisited
Sarah Miller
Historical Fiction
William Morrow
September 19, 2017
Free from publisher

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.

My review:

The Little House series of books were some of my absolute favorite books of elementary school. I like to think they were the foundation for my love of reading today, particularly since I still love a good family saga. I will gravitate toward anything relating to Laura Ingalls Wilder, and I jumped at the chance to read this book from Ma's perspective. Taking place from when the family decides to leave the big woods, and through their time on the prairie, it describes the thoughts and actions of Caroline. Full of events that occur in the original books, it includes the girls Laura, Mary and baby Carrie, but this is definitely Caroline's story. I found it very interesting to get her views on things, specifically her hesitation to leave the woods, and her intense fear and dislike of the Native Americans they encounter at their new home. I must admit that this was a surprise to me, and was quite uncomfortable to read, but I applaud the author for not sugarcoating this aspect of who Caroline was. I was impressed with the obvious research the author put into the novel, with an author's note that explains not only her research, but the times when the timeline is not quite accurate for the continuity of the story. At times I felt that the book dragged a bit, but being that it was Caroline's life at the time, I certainly would not have wanted the author to make things up to liven up the story.

Overall a well written portrait of the matriarch of one of the most beloved middle grade series. If you are/were a fan of the Little House books, I think you would enjoy the story from a new perspective, even if you may not feel quite the same way about Caroline after reading her thoughts and opinions.

2 thoughts on “Caroline: Little House, Revisited

  1. Ethan

    This sounds like a really interesting perspective on the classic series. I read a few of these books growing up, but have to admit that the Encyclopedia Brown series shaped my reading habits more than these did.


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