Title: Caroline: Little House, Revisited
Author: Sarah Miller
Release Date: September 19, 2017
About the Book (From HarperCollins):
A September Indie Next Pick
One of Refinery29’s Best Reads of September
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.
Review: This book is difficult for me to rate. For the most part I enjoyed the story and revisiting this family I once felt a part of. However, there were a lot of things that I wasn’t a big fan of and they made reading this difficult and very slow. I can usually get into a book pretty quick and then finish it within a few days. I worked on this one for close to a week.
The story wasn’t bad, there were definitely differences between this and the Little House books, but when I would remind myself that this was fiction and that it was ok for the author to take liberties, I could get past it. It was interesting to get a feel for Caroline’s fears and pain throughout their departure from Wisconsin and their westward journey. The writing was very well done and I was able to visualize the journey and the beauty of the landscape they encountered.
There was way more “chamber pail” or potty talk for my taste. I really don’t need to read about everyone lining up to go to the bathroom or Pa pulling down his pants and sitting on the chamber pail at night. I don’t know why that bothered me so much but these scenes happened quite often and I got annoyed with it rather quickly.
Ma and Pa’s intimacy was also difficult to read about. I read the Little House books when I was young and I had felt as though I was part of the family. Reading about Ma and Pa having sex and Ma ogling Pa, was like reading about my own parents. Not the most pleasant experience.
Overall, I think it was a well written account of Caroline’s perspective and many fans of the Little House series will probably enjoy this immensely. For me, I liked this story better from young Laura’s perspective.
*I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. A positive review was not required. All opinions are my own.*