Most of the Caroline readers will probably be huge Little House fans, so I’ll start with the disclaimer that I’m really not that familiar with the series. However, I loved this book and it more than works on its own as the story of a strong, compassionate, amazing woman.
The story begins as Caroline Ingalls and her husband Charles prepare to move west with their little girls, Mary and Laura. A very pregnant Caroline leaves behind her home, her friends and her whole family fully understanding that she may never see them again. While she is unflinchingly devoted to her husband and is willing to take a risk on his vision for a better future, she is more than just a dutiful helpmate.
Sarah Miller shows Caroline struggling with her fears for the journey and the future and she shows Caroline’s faults and insecurities around whether she is being a good mother and wife. Charles is the dreamer in the family, but Caroline is really the solid foundation for her family.
Caroline comes off as a good and kind woman and that is really a recurring theme throughout the book. Mr. Edward, a lonely bachelor, does the family many small kindnesses with no expectation of a reward. The neighboring Gustavs save the family when they are need. Despite the distance and challenges to communicate, the people form a real community which is interesting because while everything does not work out as planned, the book does in some ways seem to idealize this era, filling the scene with kind, patient and strong characters.
It’s almost enough to make you want to live on the prairie.