Wednesday, May 25, 2011

These Happy Golden Years - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Summary:  Laura, not yet sixteen, takes a job teaching school in a drafty shanty twelve miles from home.  It's a terrifying job.  Most of her pupils are taller than she is -- and she has to board with a hateful, crazed lady.  Laura is miserable, but she must help to keep her blind sister Mary in school.  And every Friday, when the school week is over, Almanzo arrives in his sleigh -- come all twelve miles across the desolate icy slough to take her home to her family  for the weekend.  Could it be love?  (Summary from book - Image from )

My Review:  These Happy Golden Years has a different feel than the novels that precede it. With Laura grown up, by De Smet standards, the story focuses more on her life outside of the Ingalls household -- teaching school, studying for exams, and living in the homes of strangers. A homesick Laura is delighted by fleeting weekends with her family and regular Sunday drives with Almanzo. I enjoyed Almanzo’s attention to Laura, and her bewilderment by it, but found that I missed the pleasures of daily life in the Ingalls home and wished for more detail sprinkled between the weekdays and carriage rides.

As with Little Town on the Praire, this book paid excessive attention to fashion, much to my disappointment and disinterest, but Laura’s budding relationship with Almanzo more than made up for it. My seven-year-old daughter loved it as well, which was a little disturbing, and she kept giggling each time Almanzo showed up to take Laura for a buggy ride. She was aghast at life with the Brewsters, which only served to highlight the love and warmth of Laura’s childhood home.

My youngest daughter made the occasional appearance while reading, but my eldest constantly pestered me to read “just one more!” This book ends in the expected wedding and Laura’s bittersweet journey from the Ingalls homestead to her new home with Almanzo.

We finished this book in around four days and Kaisa bolted downstairs to get the final book (or the follow-up, depending on your perspective), The First Four Years.

My Rating: 4 Stars
Sum it Up:  Laura gets a life, and love, of her own. 

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