Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert

From the Back Cover:

A Wilder Rose tells the fascinating story of Rose Wilder Lane, a complex, unconventional woman, who in 1903, at the age of 18, fled her parents’ farm and the little town of Mansfield MO, to make a name for herself, becoming a well-known journalist, freelance writer, bestselling author, and world traveler. In 1928, when she left Albania and returned to the Missouri farm to help her parents, she was among the highest-paid American magazine writers.

Then the Crash came and Rose was stranded at the farm, obligated to support elderly parents who could no longer earn even a meager living by farming. With the hope of making some money, her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, brought Rose a handwritten draft of her childhood story. What happened after that is literary history—but not the history we thought we knew, for Rose’s diaries and journals reveal the startling breadth of her contributions to the Little House books and the painful depths of the mother-daughter conflicts that made their collaboration so difficult. The secret collaboration, for the two women concealed their work from their literary agent, their editors, and their readers, even after five of the books were named Newbery Honor Books.

Now, Laura is an iconic figure in American literature and Rose is rarely remembered. Susan Wittig Albert’s compelling novel portrays their untold story in a way that readers won’t forget.

My Thoughts:

Laura Ingalls Wilder's books were some of my favorites growing up. I'll never forget the day my mom brought home Little House in the Big Woods for me. My mind was opened up to a whole new world. In fact, these books were probably responsible for my lifelong love of historical fiction. As a child, I didn't care who wrote the books or how much was based on fact and how much was fiction, and I was surprised to learn there was a bit of controversy surrounding the authorship of the series. I was curious about the woman who is now given much of the credit, though she could never claim it in her lifetime, and I was also wary since I grew up with Half-pint and her family, and worried I would learn something that would tarnish my fond memories. But my fears were for naught. While many memorable moments from Laura's life still live on in my mind, I found her daughter's life to be just as interesting, and though some may feel the two women deceived the world, I am grateful that Laura had a daughter with the skills, connections, and devotion to help bring her mother's stories to life.

A Wilder Rose is a fictionalized memoir, a fascinating look at the life of Rose Wilder Lane, a woman who wrote for some of the biggest publishers and magazines for a living, who moved in a circle of literary icons, who had the freedom to go where she pleased, to experience life and draw from her travels and observations to craft stories that resonated with a nation under duress. Along the way, Rose illustrates how not just her own but also her fellow writers' views changed over the years, and how that affected their work. Rose also illustrates how her relationship with her mother impacted her life and her writing. She and her mother were born of two very different generations, and while at first I hardly recognized Half-pint in the matronly Mama Bess, I soon came to see how her childhood had shaped her into the woman she became.

I really enjoyed this book, though I got a little annoyed at how it skipped around in time, jumping forward and backward, highlighting some moments while sweeping others that I would have liked to read more about under the rug. And I found the story lost some of its steam toward the end when the focus shifted more toward Rose's political views and writings. But I just loved reading about how the Little House series was born, Rose's trials in working with her mother to craft the novels, her life with her parents on their Missouri farm, and how Rose's interactions with everyday Americans struggling to survive during our country's darkest decade inspired her writing and urged her into activism.

If you're looking for a grand, sweeping historical fiction saga, this isn't it. But if you love books and want to get an intimate view of the state of America and the publishing world during the Great Depression, the life of an acclaimed working writer during some of America's best and worst times, and some insight into the mind of one of America's most beloved children's authors in her later years, this is it.

My Rating:  4 Stars out of 5

Enter to win your own copy of A Wilder Rose!
Simply leave a comment on this review with your email address and you're entered.

This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada and ends at 11:59pm Tuesday, October 22, 2013. Winner will be selected at random. Thanks, and good luck!

This giveaway is closed and the winner has been selected.
Check my sidebar for more great giveaways!

A Wilder Rose is on a blog tour!
Click here to view the tour schedule.
Click here to visit Susan Wittig Albert's website.


  1. I was the one girl who only liked the Little House books - maybe that's why I'm not a big historical fiction reader to this day. I had no idea there's a controversy surrounding the authorship of the books. By the way, I couldn't find the form to enter the giveaway.

  2. This book would be intriguing and very special. thanks for this lovely giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. thanks for the giveaway, sounds good!

  4. just added my comment, but can't find the working link to fill in the form for the giveaway. Emma @ Words And Peace ehc16e at yahoo dot com

  5. A unique and fascinating story that would be a treasure. Many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  6. Nice review, would love to read this book. I couldn't find the form to fill our though.

    1. You're in! That's what happens when I burn the midnight oil, I forget stuff. No need to fill out a form!

  7. Sorry guys! I totally forgot to create the form! So I changed it to just commenting, and all of you who have already commented are entered!

  8. It would be great to gain some new insight on this iconic series, I'd love to win a copy of A Wilder Rose. Thanks for making it possible. carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

  9. Sounds great. Thank you for the giveaway. jtretin at aol dot com

  10. Oh BOY! Fascinating. I am so excited about reading this book. I loved the Little House books and was fascinated by the whole family. Thanks for the chance.

  11. i would so love to read A Wilder Rose!!!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  12. Great review!! This looks amazing!
    mestith at gmail dot com

  13. I grew up with Laura and Mary. Would love to read about Rose. Thanks for the giveaway.

  14. I loved those books as a child and would love to know more of the story behind them.

    lag 110 at mchsi dot com

  15. The Little House series was the one that got me hooked on historical fiction as a young girl many, many years ago. Thanks for the wonderful review. I have definitely added this book to my TBR list.

    tmrtini at gmail dot (com)

  16. Love the Little House series and I had heard that Rose 'helped' with the writing. I just recently saw this book and would love to read it.

    funmail07 at gmail dot com

  17. I have been wanting to read this book since I first heard about it. Thanks for the review!

  18. I just heard about this book and it sounds really fascinating.
    campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  19. What an interesting history! Thank you for the giveaway.

  20. I love learning about the history of authors and their influences in writing their books. Thanks for the giveaway!

  21. This is so amazing! I never knew there was anyone but Laura behind the Little House books. I definitely want to read this book! Thanks for an interesting review and your giveaway.


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