*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

"Caroline: Little House, Revisited" by Sarah Miller

My love for The Little House started at a young age. I believe I was in the first grade when I first read Little House in the Big Woods, and I was immediately hooked. While I am selective about which parts of the legacy I love, that love runs deep. I'm far more interested in the historical side of Laura Ingalls Wilder than the various spin-offs and the "extras" such as the television show. Unfortunately, I don't currently have the means to travel to the various sites where Laura and her family lived, it is a dream of mine to do so one day. I did get to visit some of the sites in DeSmet a few years ago, and it was AMAZING. I just wish that my trip had allowed for a more in depth visit. For all of this, I was very curious when I heard about Sarah Miller's Caroline: Little House, Revisited. I have read all of the Caroline Years and enjoyed them, but this was different and I am so glad that I managed to make this one of the books I read in 2017.

We all know Caroline Ingalls. She is one of the world's most famous mothers, whether it be in history or fiction. We know how she calmly raised the feisty Laura. We all know about her amazing cooking and how she seemed to be able to create wonders from absolutely nothing. But I don't think I had given a lot of thought to her perspective of the Ingalls' journeys and various living locations. Sarah Miller made me appreciate just how nice my life is and how thankful I am to live in this era. Caroline gives insight into the difficulties of being a pioneer woman and mother, the struggles of being pregnant while crossing the country and settling a new homestead, and just how tough things really were without today's modern conveniences. While the writing style was a little slower than I normally like, it worked for this particular novel. It was very interesting to see those famous moments from Little House on the Prairie through the eyes of an adult. Much of the emotion was the same as in Laura's novel. There was fear at the same moments, joy, sadness. But it was still different. This is very much tied to the fact that Caroline had a much better grasp of what was at stake each day. As an adult, there wasn't someone else to rely on to make things better. She and Charles didn't have someone to see that "all's well that ends well." It was up to them to make that ending well. Miller captures these emotions so beautifully, that I was sad when I finished this book, because I knew the story wasn't over, but that this perspective was.

Sadly, I don't have nearly as much time for reading in my life (that's okay, mommyhood is better), but out of the few books I actually got to sit and read in 2017, this was by far the best. It's the perfect read for those that enjoy historical fiction that really focuses on the way things were. It's great for mom's (trust me, I was so beyond thankful for my birthing experience after reading this book). And above all, it's great for fans of The Little House.

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