Tuesday, July 09, 2013

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph Tuesday Intros: A Wilder Rose


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter-First Paragraph in which she, and those of us who join her,  posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she is reading or planning to read.  

A few months ago, Susan Wittig Albert contacted me and asked if I was interested in a review copy of her soon-to-be-released novel A Wilder Rose: Rose Wilder Lane, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Their Little Houses.  Of course, I said YES!!!!

I loved the Little House books as a child and teen, and have been fascinated with the writing lives of Laura and her daughter, Rose, especially after reading Little House, Long Shadow a couple of years ago.  I think a novel about these two iconic American writers is a perfect vehicle to get another perspective on their story.



The book arrived last week and I'll be starting it soon.  To whet your appetite, here is the opening page of chapter 1.

With an audible sigh, Rose Lane rolled the letter out of her Underwood typewriter and signed it--Much love as always, Rose.
She dropped the letter onto the stack or orange-covered tablets her mother had sent her a year and a half before. Now she was committed.  Like it or not, she had to finish the rewrite and get the typescript of her mother's book in the mail by the middle of next month.  It meant putting off her own paying work--the nonfiction article she was writing for Woman's Day.  But she'd had the manuscript so long that the book had missed Harper's 1938 list.  With the letter had come a chiding letter from her mother's editor, Ida Louise Raymond, making it clear that By the Shores of Silver Lake had to be finished quickly in order to appear in this year's catalogue.
But she should be able to meet the deadline.  Her mother had already agreed to the changes that had to be made.  "You know best," she had written, sounding resigned. "Without your touchups, the book will fall flat." If there weren't too many interruptions, Rose would finish the pen revisions in a few weeks. This time, though, she would pay somebody--maybe Norma Lee, who could use the money--to retype the manuscript, which would at least get that job off her desk.
Would that I could drop everything and just read this novel, but I have a couple of other reading projects that I want to finish first. 

I'm not expecting to love Laura or Rose, not in the way that I loved the fictional Laura and her idyllic (albeit harsh) fictional woods and prairie, but I am expecting to  better appreciate and understand their story.  I'm anticipating a narrative that explores the give and take, the raw-edged emotions and loyalties, the ego and the ambitions that must have characterized this unique pair who together created such an incredibly powerful and enduring literary work.

Laura Ingalls Wilder




Rose Wilder Lane



Thoughts?

BTW, I couldn't find the book available on Amazon yet for pre-order but I imagine it will be listed there and elsewhere soon.


12 comments:

  1. This should be a very interesting book. I didn't know about Rose as a writer.

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  2. I have been a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan since I learned to read. I've read biographies of Laura, but I like that this book includes her daughter. I'm adding it to my list; can't wait to hear how you liked it.

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  3. Oh, now I am really intrigued...this is the kind of book I do enjoy. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

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  4. I'm not sure I want to know another Laura than the one I already love. Here's Mine

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    1. I know the feeling. The first time I encountered the "real" Laura was in the bio by William Anderson, and I was dismayed at how much harder her life was than that depicted in the books. Even reading On the Way Home, her diary of their journey from DeSmet to Missouri, I didn't really care for the Laura that emerged. However, over the course of my life, I've come to be able to compartmentalize the fictional Laura and the author Laura, and I find the latter to be a fascinating subject.

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  5. I do like the sound of this, so am happy to have to you post this intro --enjoy

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  6. Novels about literary figures seem very popular these days. One has to think that the author's of these books are writing about authors that they themselves love. It will be interesting to read your commentary on this one.

    I know what you mean about wanting to start a book but being frustrated having to wait to get other projects finished.

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    1. I for one love to read bios of my favorite authors--I'm a bit more skeptical of novels featuring my favorite authors, but I have a good feeling about this one.

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  7. This book sounds really interesting. I read the first two Little House books a bunch of times as a kid. I really ought to go back and read the rest now that I'm over my "boys are boring so I can't make it through Farmer Boy" phase.

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    1. Oh my goodness, what a treat you have in store for you. I personally loved Farmer Boy--Almanzo's sisters spiced things up with their divergent personalities--but my favorites were the later books, especially Plum Creek and Little Town on the Prairie. There's a big contingent whose favorite is Hard Winter, but I found the misery of it too much for frequent rereading.

      Thanks for stopping by, Kristina.

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  8. I have always thought it would be too depressing to read nonfiction about Laura but this does sound interesting

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