It's 1845 and Caroline lives in the bustling frontier town of Brookfield, Wisconsin. With trips to town, taking care of farm chores, and getting through the first frost, Caroline is busy discovering new things every day!
This abridged-edition paperback introduces the reader to young Caroline, the future mother of Laura Ingalls Wilder of "Little House" fame. It presents scenes from Caroline's early life, including episodes at home, at school, at church, and in the outdoors. The chapters follow the seasons of one complete year, through the joys and sorrows of life for a fatherless farming family in Wisconsin at that time (1845). There is little in the way of plot, but evocative descriptions of incidents, such as the time Caroline fixed milk-toast with cinnamon for breakfast, illustrate her daily life, including chores, games, food, social life, and family bonds. Caroline, at first seemingly too perfect, soon enough shows her human foibles in this engaging narrative. Readers who enjoy the original "Little House" books will appreciate these later titles about Laura's extended family, though the shortness of this edition makes it more suited to a younger reader or listener. This is Book 1 of "The Caroline Years" in the "Little House" series. The abridged title unfortunately gives no information about the unabridged version (roughly three times the length of this book). It is similarly taciturn about the author, who has researched the history of the related families; her books fill out the history of the years before the popular series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. There are a few inconsistencies; for example, Caroline's sisters are each a year older in the abridged version. Bonus materials (not found in the longer edition) include a song lyric, a timeline, a recipe, instructions for a period game, and two chapters from the next book in the series, Little Town at the Crossroads. A family tree at the endidentifies Caroline as Laura's mother. A good read for those enchanted with this family and this period in America's settlement of the west. Reviewer: Christina M. Desai