Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Coming Summer 2019: Through the Eyes of Grace: A Little House Devotional by Wendi Lou Lee



Wendi Lou Lee (Wendi Turnbaugh), who along with her twin sister Brenda, spent four years staring as Grace Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, is working with publisher Thomas Nelson to release her first book, Through the Eyes of Grace: A Little House Devotional. According to her website, this devotional is based on "quotes from the show, gleaning wisdom from all our favorite characters from the television series..."

We are so excited for Wendi and wish her all the best as she works to meet the publisher's deadline. We will share more information as it is available.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Book Review: Little House in Hollywood Hills by Charlotte Stewart

For those who thought maybe Charlotte Stewart was defined only as the beautiful and kind schoolteacher on Little House on the PrairieLittle House in the Hollywood Hills will show what a diverse and talented actress she really is. Though definitely more well known as Ms. Beadle (LHOP) or Betty Briggs from Twin Peaks, Stewart's career has spanned decades and found her on everything from soap operas to TV shows to big screen movies like Tremors

In her classy, eloquent style Stewart shares her work, her life and her personal struggles. She shares glimpses into what an actor's life is and about the addictions and breast cancer diagnosis she's had to fight along the way. She shares memories of her husbands and the actors she has the chance to work with. You come away feeling like you really know her.

It took me a while to read Little House in the Hollywood Hills, mostly due to my other commitments, but it also reads at a much slower pace than some other celebrity memoirs. Three other female stars from Little House on the Prairie have written memoirs, and you'll notice the slow and steady pace of Stewart's book is different from the others. You're really immersing yourself into her life, and she brings you in calmly and casually and holds you there for a moment or two before bringing you further. It's very much a book that captures the essence of the Charlotte Stewart I met at a cast reunion in 2014.

Little House in the Hollywood Hills is the perfect addition to your Little House on the Prairie book or TV tie-in collection.

Paperback: 326 pages
Publisher: BearManor Media (April 7, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 159393906X
ISBN-13: 978-1593939069

I purchased this book from Amazon. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Trials of Fatherhood: LHOP Fan Fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos



The Trials of Fatherhood

LHOP inspired fan fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Disclaimer: I do not own the Little House on the Prairie television series, book series, or any of the characters.

Charles saw Almanzo pulling away in his buggy as he came down the road. His perfect night out with Caroline was now marred with worry over why Almanzo would be at the house when he wasn't there. He hopped down from his wagon and marched over to Laura, who was standing outside the doorway. "What was Almanzo doing here, Half-pint?" The heat of anger burned the back of his neck.

"He stopped by so we could talk."

Her words sounded innocent enough, but she must have known he wouldn't want Almanzo there while they were away.  "Did he know your ma and I were out?"

Laura straightened her back. He knew she was starting to get wound up too. He could see it in how she stood with arms across her chest. "No, but he offered to come back at another time as soon as he found out." She cocked her head. "I asked him to stay."

He exhaled through his nose. His lips tightened as he considered how she so easily disregarded his wishes. "What did he want?"

Laura looked so furious, he was expecting smoke to start billowing out of her ears. "I told you," she said through clenched teeth. "He wanted to talk."

"I asked you a question, Laura." He moved his hands to his hips. He wasn't about to let her get away with being so vague with him.

He felt the soft caress of Caroline's hand on his arm. "Charles, perhaps it's something just between Laura and Almanzo."

He turned his head to face her, careful to change his tone before answering. "What could he have to say to her that she can't tell us?"

She shrugged. "I don't know, but I doubt it's worth getting upset over."

"I don't like Almanzo stopping by when Laura is alone in the house."

She smiled. It was one of those smiles she gave when she was trying to be understanding, but she really wanted to tell you to reconsider your opinion. "She wasn't alone."

That was it. How could she defend a man who didn't care if he spoiled Laura's reputation. "Why do you always take his side?" He knew he sounded foolish, but couldn't she see how important it was that they stand firm with Laura when she had only been courting a short time? She had claimed to be in love with Almanzo Wilder for years. It would be too easy for her to be swept off her feet and forget she still had growing to do.

Caroline covered her mouth with her hand, obviously hiding a giggle. "I'm not taking anyone's side. I'm just saying I don't think you have any reason to worry. Almanzo's a fine man. He wouldn't do anything inappropriate."

Laura relaxed beside them. Maybe now she was ready to explain. "If you must know, we had a misunderstanding and he came to apologize. I said I was sorry too, and then he left."

"Oh," replied Charles meekly. He glanced over at Caroline and smiled in embarrassment.

"Can I go inside now?" asked Laura.

"Yeah."

After the door clicked shut, he stood there with Caroline for a moment. What could he say? He made a big deal about nothing. She was right...like usual.

Caroline was not one to gloat. At least she would let him keep his dignity. She leaned her head on his shoulder. "It's not like we have a trellis. We're not going to come home to find Almanzo hanging off the side of the house kissing Laura goodnight."

Charles felt the warmth of his blush at the reminder of his own trick when he was courting her. That seemed so long ago now.

"I'll go put on a fresh pot of coffee, " she said. "Don't be too long." She winked at him before disappearing inside.

*

Laura, Albert, and Carrie walked over the bridge into town the next morning. She glanced towards the Feed and Seed and saw Almanzo hunched over a sack of grain.

"I'll be right back," she said to her siblings. "I want to say hi to Almanzo."

"Aren't you going to see him tonight at the literary meeting?" asked Albert.

She shrugged. Why should that matter? "Yes, but I like to say good morning to him when I walk into town."

Albert shook his head. "Come on Carrie. I'll race you to school."

"Hi, Manly," Laura said as she reached the platform.

"Mornin, Beth." Almanzo sat down, thankful for the rest. "How ya doin'?"

She loved these meaningless little conversations between them. For years she tried to engage him in conversation; get him to see her as something more than a friend. When it happened, she hardly believed it was true. "I'm fine. I forget to tell you last night that Ma says you can come over for dinner after church on Sunday."

He rubbed his stomach. His appetite was legendary. He could eat twice as much as her and still have room for a piece or two of pie. "Sounds good. Did I see your pa pulling in last night when I was leavin'?"

She was afraid this might come up. "Yes, and he wasn't too happy you were there."

"I was afraid of that."

"Well, once I explained, he wasn't angry." The school bell rang. "I'll see you tonight Manly," she said as she rushed off.

*

Almanzo caught sight of Charles as the Ingalls family entered the packed schoolhouse on Friday night. Laura and Albert had gone into town early so they could rehearse their orations. He had run into them on their way in and wished them both good luck. He pushed through the crowd and approached Charles.

"Evening, Mr. Ingalls."

"Hello, Almanzo."

Suddenly this didn't seem like a good idea. If he could have, Almanzo would have retreated into the crowd and thought more about what he was going to say. Charles stood there, face expressionless. Better get it over with. "Can we step outside for a minute?" He pointed his thumb toward the door.

Charles nodded. "Sure, son."

They walked over in silence and stood by Charles's wagon so they could speak privately. "Laura told me ya weren't too happy with me stopping by last night," said Almanzo.

Charles planted both hands on his hips. "I was surprised to find you there."

Almanzo removed his hat and pushed back the waves of blond hair from his face. "I never woulda come by if I knew you were out."

"Laura said you had a misunderstanding." He wasn't going to make it easy on Almanzo, that was plain to see.

Almanzo shuffled nervously on his feet. "Ya know how it is Mr. Ingalls, sometimes folks say or do things they shouldn't and they have to make it right."

Charles raised his eyebrows. "Do you want to tell me about it?"

"I don't mean no disrespect, Mr. Ingalls, but some stuff needs to stay between Beth and me." He paused. If there was going to be an explosion, he wanted a moment to think about his reaction. When her pa didn't say anything, he continued. "I appreciate your concern for your daughter. I do. But she's a woman and she needs to make her own decisions."

Charles straightened and looked him directly in the eye. Almanzo knew he was pressing his luck. "What kind of decisions are you talking about?"

"About what she wants out of life."

"And you think a sixteen-year-old girl knows what she wants out of life?" He had raised his voice so that it was no longer a casual conversation. Charles Ingalls had brought up Beth to be independent and strong and to make smart choices. It didn't sound like he was okay with her making her own choices right now.

He had to help Laura's pa understand he had to let go. "More than her pa, yes." Instantly Charles's eyes flickered with anger. To his credit, he seemed to be working to control it. "Listen Mr. Ingalls, I'm not trying to pick a fight. It's just that when you see Laura, you see your little girl. I see the woman I love."

"You're a lot older than she is, son." His voice was softer, but remained stern. He had his opinion on this and Almanzo was going to hear it whether he liked it or not.

He had to make sure he controled his temper as well. Nothing would be gained if he stormed off over this. "I don't see why that should make a difference if we love each other."

"It makes a difference to me."

"I'm sorry, Mr. Ingalls. As much as I want to gain your respect, it doesn't matter to me if my being ten years older than Laura bothers you." He swallowed away the lump in his throat. "I love her."

The door to the schoolhouse closed and Charles sighed. Almanzo was sure he wanted to continue their conversation, but their place was inside with their loved ones.

"We'll talk more about this later," said Charles. "I think they're just about ready to start."

*

Almanzo and Charles took seats on opposite sides of the room. Laura could tell by their tense faces that neither man was happy. Pa glanced over at Almanzo as Eliza Jane called the room to order. She wondered what he was thinking about. Had Almanzo told him that he didn't want to wait to get married? She hoped not. That was a conversation that she should be part of. It was her life they were talking about after all.

After the literary meeting, Almanzo drove Laura home. They drove in silence. Almanzo looking very much in thought. He pulled Barnum to a stop in front of the Ingalls' farm.

"Thanks for the ride, Manly," said Laura.

"My pleasure, Beth." He smiled, but it wasn't the kind of smile that melted her heart. It was more like a "don't worry, it will be all right" kind of smile that you give someone even though you don't know if that's true.

He leaned closer and whispered, "I love you."

"I love you too." She kissed his cheek and them hopped out of the buggy. She could have waited for him to help her out, but it was better this way. Let him have some time to think.

*

Late Sunday night Charles lay next to Caroline in bed, pretending to read his newspaper. He was thinking about dinner that day and how much Almanzo was starting to grow on him. Not that he really ever disliked the boy; it was just hard to watch him take such a prominent place in Laura's heart.

Laura had shared some family stories as they sat around the table together after dessert. Almanzo told a few stories of his own about growing up on the farm in Malone, New York. His eyes shone as he shared memories about the first colt his father let him break in and how they came to live in Spring Valley before Eliza Jane and he set out on their own for Walnut Grove. He spoke fondly of his older sister, and Charles found his devotion to her very encouraging. Would Almanzo be as devoted to Laura if she became his wife? Charles felt the answer was yes.

"What are you thinking about?" Caroline asked, placing a hand on his arm.

He released a breath he didn't realize he was holding. "Laura and Almanzo."

"Then why are you smiling?" she teased.

He glanced over at his wife and caressed her cheek. She was so beautiful, especially with her long hair unwound and flowing past her shoulders. "Maybe it's not such a big deal that he's ten years older than she is." He shrugged, "What do you think?"

She turned on her side. "Well, would you have felt any differently for me if I were ten years younger than you?"

The question was preposterous. He had loved her the moment he laid eyes on her. "Of course not. I would love you no matter what the difference in our ages." It took her a while to decide if she wanted to be a farmer's wife, but in the end his charms won her over. At least he hoped that was why she finally decide to follow him from place to place.

"I'm sure Laura and Almanzo feel the same way."

He sighed. "But what if he wants to marry her?"

"What's wrong with that?" It was a good question. Almanzo loved his daughter, just as sure as she loved him back. He had watched their relationship unfold as Laura struggled to catch his attention. Once she did, though, Almanzo wasn't the same. He had to chuckle to himself. She was definitely an Ingalls.

"Nothing, except that she's too young to get married." This was the reality he struggled with. Wasn't she just climbing trees and knocking down Nellie Oleson in the playground yesterday? He needed to help guide her to make the right decisions. "He's a man and he knows what he wants, but how can Laura know? She got thrown into teaching and then suddenly they are courting."

"I think what she wants is very clear — she wants to be with Almanzo." Caroline was so wise not to push him too much. He knew she understood how he felt. Being able to understand him better than he understood himself was one of the many reasons he loved her so much.

"But there's no guarantee they'll stay together. He's her first beau." He shook his head. "How many beaux did Mary have?"

"You're right; there are no guarantees in life." She raised her eyebrows. "They could break up tomorrow. But if they do it's not going to be because she's sixteen or because he's her first beau."

Charles laughed at himself. She was right. Why did he allow his fears to keep him from accepting Almanzo? Out of the corner of his eye, he could see her smiling at him. She knew she had won, but she didn't need to say it. Another reason to love her. "Isn't there some law that states a woman can't be smarter than her husband?"

Her smile stretched across her face to reveal all her teeth. "If there is, it should be revoked."

They laughed together before Caroline snuggled underneath his arm. The worry faded away as he embraced the woman he had been proud to call his wife for many years. She was always able to see through to what mattered the most--Laura's happiness was more important to Charles than the number of years between Almanzo and his daughter. He still knew he would say no to Almanzo if he asked to marry Laura before she was eighteen, but at least he knew in his heart that he finally accepted the boy for who he was.


Copyright Cheryl C. Malandrinos - All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Big News out of Walnut Grove: Wilder Pageant Go Fund Me Request

As someone who had the privilege to see this pageant, the damage done by Mother Nature breaks my heart. I hope you'll read about the flooding in Walnut Grove and consider helping the Wilder Pageant Committee. Any donation will make a difference.

Thanks.

Cheryl

Photo from the Go Fund Me Page

Wilder Pageant’s Big Flood on the Prairie
WILDER PAGEANT GO FUND ME REQUEST - $30,000 (https://www.gofundme.com/wilder-pageant-committee)

Flood waters have dropped but the cost of repair continues to rise. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant needs your help to stay afloat.

Opening night of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant’s outdoor drama “ Fragments of a Dream” in Walnut Grove could be renamed the “Big Flood on the Prairie.” With over nine inches of rain in a few hours, several Southwest Minnesota communities lost power, saw roads washed out, fields under water, and suffered sewer soaked basements. Heavy rain, flooding, storm damage, and cleanup also pushed back the opening of the Wilder Pageant Production.

Plum Creek took a lead roll and covered the pageant site in three to six feet of water. There was damage to sets, costumes, sound and light equipment as well as access roads at the Wilder Pageant site. A second “flood” of cast, crew and community pitched in at a fever pace to clean, rebuild, and repair the site so that the 41st production could be a success. As “Old Laura” in the production says, “Sooner or later the grasshoppers fly away and the creek goes down.” We would add “The show must go on!”

Two Thursday performances were added. July 12th was a special Flood Relief Night with general admission tickets reduced from $18 to $5 for several communities impacted by flood damage. An inch of rain an hour before the show and threatening weather did not dampen the spirit of the hardy group of enthusiastic Laura fans. In many ways, Laura’s story is their story too as they face nature’s unpredictable turns and gather strength from faith, family and friends to go on and do good things. July 19th will be the second Flood Relief Night.

We hope you will consider our Go Fund Me request. Your donations will be used to perform needed repairs to the damaged facilities. At the present time we are aware of the need for repair and replacement of at least the following items: Women’s Costume and Dressing Room, large speakers, power generator, several costumes, stage scrims, sump pump and tank, Shop vac, air compressor and power tools, several loads of gravel for road and set areas, paint, set skirting, and 4 - 200 amp electrical breakers. Lost revenue from the two missed performances was anticipated at $25,000. There are other buildings on the pageant grounds that are starting to show warping and mold and mildew damage. The over 300 hours of volunteer cleanup help was beyond priceless!

The Wilder Museum, located in the town of Walnut Grove was not damaged and is open for business. The Ingalls Dugout Site north of Walnut Grove sustained significant damage to roads, parking and the walking bridge that crosses Plum Creek to the site where the dugout was located.

The Wilder Pageant Committee produces the outdoor historical drama “Fragments of a Dream” recounting the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family during their time in Walnut Grove, Minnesota in the late 1800’s. Over 300,000 people have been to the production in the past 40 years. A volunteer cast and crew of over 60 people create a story of strength and overcoming adversity through faith, family and friends. The production runs three weekends each July. For more information check out our webpage at http://walnutgrove.org/pageant.html

The Wilder Pageant Committee is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to historical education, entertainment, economic & tourism development and encouraging a common community purpose.

There are also videos of the flooding at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH2bqXmVDTijojMhRzkiZuw/videos

Monday, June 25, 2018

Renaming the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award



I was browsing the news when I stumbled upon this article stating that the Association of Library Service to Children's (ALSC) board voted unanimously to rename the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award because of the author's portrayal of African Americans and Native Americans.

You can read more about it at https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jun/24/laura-ingalls-wilders-name-removed-from-book-award-over-racial-concerns

Friday, April 6, 2018

Star Gazers: LHOP Fan Fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos



Star Gazers

LHOP inspired fan fiction by Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Disclaimer: I do not own the Little House on the Prairie television series, book series, or any of the characters.

Laura walked into Nellie's Restaurant on Almanzo's arm. Everyone in town knew they were courting, but they hadn't been seen together since the night of the church social. It was suppertime and the restaurant was full of hungry people. They were lucky to get the last table in the far corner of the room.

Nellie had spied them as they came out of the kitchen. She had once thought Almanzo would make a perfect suitor for her, but she would never be a farmer's wife. She was much too dignified. She walked to the other side of the room and filled Mr. Marshall's coffee cup. Then she took Silas Moffet's payment before moseying over to Laura and Almanzo's table.

"Why Laura dear, how nice it is to see you again," she said, feigning politeness. Her teeth hurt from clenching them so tightly.

The tension was clear in Laura's voice. "Hello, Nellie."

"So how's that job in Curry going? Are you tired of teaching those dirty, little waifs yet?"

Laura pressed her lips together. It was so easy to rile her. "The children are doing very well," she said. "One of them is studying to become a doctor."

"Probably a horse doctor." Nellie scrunched up her nose.

"Well he'll be of good use to you then, since you're acting like a horse's…"

Almanzo cleared his throat. "Uh Nellie, why don't ya bring us a couple of coffees to start off with."

"Coming right up." Nellie danced off to the kitchen, her blonde curls bouncing as she went.

*

Once Nellie had disappeared behind the swinging door Almanzo allowed a chuckle to escape from his lips. Laura was as feisty as ever.

"And what's so funny?" said Laura.

"Every time I see the two of you together I think of that day I stumbled across you fighting in the mud." Laura's face turned almost as red as her hair. "Aw Beth, don't be embarrassed," he said, putting his hand over hers. "I like the way ya stand up for yourself."

"Thanks Manly, but I would have preferred if you never saw that. Nellie just…"

"Just what?" Nellie put two cups of coffee on the table.

"You're just so good at taking care of people." Almanzo felt certain Laura would explode if she had to be nice to Nellie too long. He had heard enough about the two of them in the years he lived in Walnut Grove to know they would never be friends. And there was that cinnamon chicken incident he would never forget.

"Thank you. Now what can I get for the two of you tonight?"

"I'll have the fried chicken please," said Laura.

"And I'll start with a bowl of beef stew, and then a nice big steak with a couple of eggs, sunny side up." Laura and Nellie gawked at him.

"Is that all?" Nellie asked sarcastically.

"Yeah, I wanna leave room for dessert."

*

After Nellie left, Laura shook her head at Almanzo. "Do you always eat that much?"

"I've always had a big appetite. Bein a farmer's hard work."

"Eliza Jane must spend all her free time in the kitchen."

They chatted about Laura's week in Curry. Out of the corner of her eye, Laura could see Nellie and her mother, Harriet whispering and looking over at the table she shared with Almanzo. She could just imagine what they were gossiping about. She knew Nellie had tried to get Manly to court her when he first moved into town. Maybe she was still interested.

Almanzo and Laura stepped outside and strolled hand in hand along the road that led behind the schoolhouse. It had been dark for an hour, and the clear sky seemed to hold a million stars. The full moon guided their steps. The temperature had dropped, but Laura didn't notice. Her eyes glanced back and forth between the starry sky and Almanzo's face. It was still so hard to believe he was her beau.

"What are ya thinkin?" he asked.

She shrugged. "Sometimes this all seems like a dream."

He gave her a crooked little smile. "Ya ain't dreamin, Beth. I'm here and you're here…" He embraced her. "It's real."

Laura trembled as she felt his lips. Was it the same for him when they kissed? Her mind spun. Her legs felt as if they could no longer hold her up. Her heart pounded hard enough to burst out of her chest. She had long stopped considering herself a little girl, but this was all so new.

When they pulled apart, Almanzo tucked her arm under his and they continued their walk in silence. Laura wondered if he was dreaming of the future like she was. She pulled up the collar on her coat.

"Are you cold?" he asked.

"A little."

"I should be getting ya back home anyway. Your pa will be wonderin where ya are."

As he helped her into the buggy they caught sight of Nellie Oleson locking up the restaurant for the night.

Nellie planted her hands on her hips. "Out a bit late aren't you, Laura?"

"I don't see how it's any concern of yours."

"I can't imagine your father approves."

Laura could feel her temperature rising. There were so many things she wanted to say to nasty Nellie. Trying to remember she was too old to act so impulsively, she thought a moment before responding. "He knows where I am."

"Well, a respectable young lady wouldn't be out this late." Nellie lifted her nose in the air. Laura was sure she had done that the first day they met each other in the school yard. Some people never change.

"That's probably why you're still out."

Nellie growled. She stomped off towards her house. Laura covered her mouth with her hand to silence a giggle. It was too easy to anger her rival sometimes.

Almanzo chuckled. "Remind me not to get your dander up," he said as he chirruped to Barnum and headed back to the Ingalls farm.

*

When Charles heard Almanzo's buggy pull into the front yard, he wanted to run outside and scold him for keeping Laura out so late.

"I know what you're thinking," said Caroline. "Don't do it."

Charles glanced back at his wife. "I thought she wasn't going to be late."

"She's not a child anymore. Other young women her age stay out after dark with their beaus."

"I don't care what the others do. I don't want Laura to forget she still has school to finish and responsibilities here at home."

Caroline strolled across the kitchen and came to stand in front of him. "I don't think she's forgotten either of those things. They've just begun courting. She's excited about having a beau. I bet Almanzo is excited too. They're trying to get to know each other in a different way. They just want to spend time together and allow that to happen."

She put her arms around Charles's neck. "I know it's hard to watch her grow up, but we went through the same thing with Mary. Don't you remember how we felt when she told us she wanted to move to Winoka?" Charles nodded. "And she was a bit younger than Laura is now."

"I'd forgotten that," said Charles.

"After next week, Laura will be back in Walnut Grove for good. Her job in Curry will be over and you'll probably find Almanzo spending time getting to know us better, too, instead of wanting to be alone with her so much."

Charles sighed. "I hope you're right."

*

"One more week to go," said Laura. "Then I'll be home for good."

Almanzo wrapped the reins around the brake. "Can't wait."

"I should probably have you over for supper once I'm back. I think it will make Pa feel better."

"Sounds real nice. I should be gettin' to know your family."

Laura sighed. "Well, I don't think Pa really wanted me to go tonight. Not that he doesn't like you, it's just he thinks we spend too much time together."

Almanzo's eyebrows rose. "I don't feel like I see ya enough."

"Hopefully it will be better once I'm not in Curry. There's going to be a literary meeting at the school in two weeks. Your sister asked me to recite the Declaration of Independence. I hope you'll come."

"Only if I get to bring ya home."

She playfully punched his arm. "My feelings would be hurt if you didn't." Laura pointed at the front door. "I should go."

Almanzo gave her a tender kiss before helping her out of the buggy. "I'll see ya in church tomorrow."

Laura nodded from the breezeway. She greeted her parents once she was inside. She sensed they had been talking about her. Before her pa could say anything she mentioned, "Manly is going to come to supper once I'm back from Curry. He should get to know you better if we are going to be courting." Caroline flashed a smile filled with I told you so at her husband.

"I'm glad to hear it," said Charles. "I don't like it when he keeps you out so late."

Laura rolled her eyes. "Oh Pa, I'm not a little girl anymore."

"I know, but I'm not ready for you to be a woman just yet." Charles's eyes glistened.

Laura hugged him. "I love you, Pa."

"I love you too, Half-pint."

Laura kissed her mother before disappearing into the loft. She crawled into bed after saying her prayers. She couldn't get Pa's words out of her mind. He actually seemed sad at the thought of her growing up. Is that what it's like to be a parent? she wondered. Would she be the same with her own children? She hoped they would be Almanzo's children too. Their night out filled her with joy. She hated the thought of leaving him again. But it would be her last week away from home, and then she could stay in Walnut Grove and begin planning her future…a future she hoped Almanzo would play a big part in.

Copyright Cheryl C. Malandrinos - All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Book Review: Caroline: Little House, Revisted by Sarah Miller

Every Laura fan is going to want to own a copy of Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller.

This novel is the story of the Ingalls family's journey from the Big Woods of Wisconsin to their settlement in Kansas told from Caroline's perspective. By the time the Ingalls family leaves home, Caroline is pregnant with their third child. She faces isolation with her family no longer close by. She fears the danger that settling in Indian Territory could present. As Caroline struggles against the hardships of pioneer life and rises to the challenges, the reader appreciates this story in a new way that makes Caroline Quiner Ingalls more than just Ma.

I cannot even express how much I loved this novel. From the opening pages, Miller's fine descriptions combined with her touching and real portrayal of Caroline, pulled me in and held me fast until the last page was done. As a wife and mother, I relate much more to Caroline than the young Laura who first shared her stories.

One thing the reader needs to be aware of is that this novel may include some scenes you wouldn't expect in Laura land. Caroline is married and already a mother of two with another baby on the way. She and Charles obviously enjoy some alone time. There are a few moments when the author explores Caroline's feelings on this subject. Part of the story delves into her attraction to Charles, how she feels when he looks at her a certain way, and there is a tastefully done sex scene. It's not vulgar or obscene but it is descriptive of how he makes her feel while performing her wifely duties and how her body reacts. Truly, this took nothing away from the story for me, but it was surprising.

Caroline is a book that was way overdue. It captures how amazing a person Caroline Quiner Ingalls was to follow Charles from place to place, how she worked alongside him, how what her mother taught her prepared her to be a good wife and mother, and how she envied the freedoms and rights Charles had because they were denied to her as a woman in the 1800s. All these things make this a timely story for women today. My admiration of Caroline has grown as a result of reading this novel. It's definitely a must read for Little House fans.

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (June 12, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006268535X
ISBN-13: 978-0062685353

I purchased a copy of this book for my Laura Ingalls Wilder collection. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.