Title: Caroline: Little House, Revisited
Author: Sarah Miller
Genre/Audience: Historical fiction, adult
Publication: William Morrow, 2017
Source: For review, TLC Book Tours
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.
Lovers of historical fiction, particularly fans of Little House on the Prairie, will enjoy this intricately detailed story of Caroline Ingalls and her family’s journey as they leave behind their home and family in Wisconsin for Kansas. Fans of the original will enjoy this take on the story from the mother’s perspective and how she felt about everything. As a child, I certainly remember reading and enjoying some of the books, but I was never obsessed like many girls were, and don’t recall many details at all. As such, this book felt all brand new to me and I learned a whole lot about frontier life and how the family traveled in a covered wagon (Oregon Trail game, anyone?!). Not only was the story itself interesting, but it was also super informative. I was stopping constantly to look up old terms and information about the time period. I never paid much attention in history class, so I enjoy learning from my historical fiction!
The story is beautifully written and well done. I think it’s evident here that the author did a lot of research and really knew her stuff. If, like me, you don’t have vivid memories of the Little House books, this will be a brand new story to you and you’ll see all that these people went through and the hardships (and sometimes happiness!) that they faced. If you are already a fan of the series, I think you’ll enjoy reading the story again but from an adult perspective. It’ll give you all sorts of nostalgic feels, I’m sure! As someone who doesn’t read a ton of historical fiction, I will say that the pace of the story was a bit slow for me at times. Despite that, it was still a worthwhile read.
Pick this one up if you enjoy historical fiction, but especially if you’ve been missing and craving some Little House on the Prairie! I definitely think I need to go back and re-read the originals. This story gave me a whole new appreciation for this time in history and the famous series that has brought it all to life for millions of readers throughout the years.