A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert

A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert
Publisher: Persevero Press
Publication Date: August 2013
Categories: Historical, Literary
In 1928, Rose Wilder Lane—world traveler, journalist, much-published magazine writer—returned from an Albanian sojourn to her parents’ Ozark farm. Almanzo Wilder was 71, Laura 61, and Rose felt obligated to stay and help. To make life easier, she built them a new home, while she and Helen Boylston transformed the farmhouse into a rural writing retreat and filled it with visiting New Yorkers. Rose sold magazine stories to pay the bills for both households, and despite the subterranean tension between mother and daughter, life seemed good.

Then came the Crash. Rose’s money vanished, the magazine market dried up, and the Depression darkened the nation. That’s when Laura wrote her autobiography, “Pioneer Girl,” the story of growing up in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, on the Kansas prairie, and by the shores of Silver Lake. The rest—the eight remarkable books that followed—is literary history.

But it isn’t the history we thought we knew. For the surprising truth is that Laura’s stories were publishable only with Rose’s expert rewriting. Based on Rose’s unpublished diaries and Laura’s letters, A Wilder Rose tells the true story of the decade-long, intensive, and often troubled collaboration that produced the Little House books—the collaboration that Rose and Laura deliberately hid from their agent, editors, reviewers, and readers.

Why did the two women conceal their writing partnership? What made them commit what amounts to one of the longest-running deceptions in American literature? And what happened in those years to change Rose from a left-leaning liberal to a passionate Libertarian?

In this impeccably researched novel and with a deep insight into the book-writing business gained from her own experience as an author and coauthor, Susan Wittig Albert follows the clues that take us straight to the heart of this fascinating literary mystery

My Thoughts:

About the Author

When I first heard that Laura Ingalls Wilder may not have actually written the Little House series I had what I call a “toddler moment”. I stuck my fingers in my ears and absolutely refused to believe it. Say it ain’t so!

So, when I was approached by the author of this book I was leery to say the least. Do I want to hear about this? Do I want to have my childhood RUINED? (I’m a wee bit dramatic at times.)

I am thankful that I gave this book a shot. It explained a difficult situation and soothed my ruffled feathers. It made sense.

A Wilder Rose is a perfect blend of fact and fiction. It’s clear, energetic, and a must for any fan of the Little House books.

40 thoughts on “A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert

  1. I haven't read the Little House books, I admit, but I was a big fan of the tv show growing up–I know, not the same thing, but I think I might have had the same initial reaction you did upon hearing the premise of this book. LOL Just from reading the description of the book though, I can see how it would make sense. This sounds like an interesting book.


  2. I used to love the tv show Little House on the Prairie. I was Laura Ingalls for Halloween one year…now I'm dating myself! lolThis sounds interesting. So the mother and daughter wrote the books right? Laura and Rose.


  3. Holy crap! This sounds fascinating! I have a friend who dressed up as Laura Ingalls Wilder every Halloween for years. I'm not sure I should tell her about this one… Perhaps she'd have a toddler moment too?


  4. That's a good description–\”toddler moment.\” So that's what I have when something happens in a book that I don't like! I throw \”toddler moments\” all the time. New term–very useful. 🙂


  5. I WILL be reading this! The description you gave gave me a toddler fit of my own. No one dare talk smack about Laura Ingalls Wilder to me! She was my hero from the minute I owned her set of books until at least sixth grade. I pretty much just reread her books for years! No other books except the ones I teach can claim that on me…I don't reread books.Ok, tantrum over. I will read this book because I also like to know the truth and because I trust you when you say it all pans out in the end. How can I be a book brainiac if I don't even know the basics behind the one author I was a hipster fangirl for back in the 80s?


  6. I did the same fingers in the ears dance when I first the possibility that Laura didn't write the books. And like you, when Albert contacted me to review her book, I was a bit skittish, leery, squeamish. But read it I did, and I agree with everything you've said here. And I felt better about it all when I was done. 🙂


  7. Ooh, I was offered this book too, but I turned it down. I think I was turned off by it being a novel; it seems like an interesting topic, but I would prefer a non-fiction account of this story.


  8. I haven't read the Little House series (younger generation reader here, sorry!), but this story does sound intriguing. Do you think I should read Little House books first? 🙂


  9. You sparked my interest at \”1928\”. Let me be honest… I do not like the book cover, but the story sounds like something I would totally love to read 🙂


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