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Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller: A Book Review

Caroline: Little House, Revisited
Author: Sarah Miller
Genre: Historical Fiction, Western
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Pages: 384
Source: This book was given to me by TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: In this novel authorized by 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.

     My Review: Caroline is a retelling of Little House on the Prairie told from Ma’s point of view. Caroline lives a comfortable life in Wisconsin. She is a mother of two with another child on the way. However, when her husband asks her to leave her cozy home and begin a new life in the Kansas Indian Territory, Caroline reluctantly agrees. Caroline must leave her friends, family, and home behind and head with her husband and two children to an unfamiliar territory. From the beginning, Caroline is beset with hardships. Yet, while she tries to endure the hardships of settling in the Kansas Indian Territory, she also experiences moments of joy and love of her family.

     As a huge fan of Little House on the Prairie, I was eager to experience the tale again from Caroline’s point of view. After reading this novel, I have come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for Caroline. While Caroline’s role seems to be of a housewife and a mother figure, she plays a much bigger role. She is often filled with setbacks and hardships, yet this is what makes her stronger. She struggles to make the best of her situation. She is very determined, practical, and hard-working. There were a few times where she complains and feels distant to the reader. However, we sympathize with her character and admire her struggle for survival.

  Overall, this book is about family, love, loyalty, bravery, and survival. Caroline is a very faithful retelling and in this novel Ma truly shines. All of the other characters are very similar to their counterparts.  While it is darker than the original, I found it to be a more realistic portrayal of pioneer life. The book is very well-written, and it is clear that the author did her homework. She made the Kansas Indian Territory come alive. The only thing I did not like about this book was that there were a few scenes that were unnecessary. Still, Caroline is definitely a novel that I would love to reread again! I recommend this book not only for fans of Little House on the Prairie but also for those who love Vengeance of Mothers, Maud’s Line, and Into the Wilderness.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars



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