Laura Ingalls Wilder holds a dear spot in my heart. As a child I read her books and watched Little House on the Prairie each week on tv.  I connected with Laura’s character, and since Melissa Gilbert is my age, I felt like we grew up together. Many years later, I discovered that Laura and Almanzo lived in Florida not too far from where I lived but that she only lived there for a year or so, and really didn’t like Florida. Nevertheless, that was another connection we had.

I haven’t given much thought in recent years to the Little House series until I received A Prairie Girl’s Faith by Stephen W. Hines. Mr. Hines is a recognized authority on Laura Ingalls Wilder and has authored or compiled several best-selling volumes on her life. In this latest book he focuses on the spiritual legacy of Laura and her family.

I always love biographies, especially those on women of faith, so this was a delightful behind the scenes look at the woman behind the stories. Mr. Hines has a wonderful writing style that’s simple and easy to read, much like the woman he writes about. He begins with Laura’s childhood and the powerful spiritual influence of Pa. He walks us through their pioneering journeys and explains the connections with the different books in the series. In the process he provides glimpses into pioneering life, the struggles faced by the pioneers, and the common experiences they went through.

I already knew quite a bit about Laura’s childhood, but virtually nothing once she married. (I don’t think I ever read the later books in the series.) Mr. Hines reveals the character of Almanzo and introduces us to aspects of Mrs. Wilder’s adult life that are much less known than her childhood. I had no idea of the struggles that she and Almanzo went through, especially during the first years of their marriage. What a heavy load she had to carry! I loved learning about how she got her start as a journalist. And I enjoyed reading about Rose, although I’ve got to admit, the more I learned about Rose, the less I liked her. I found it interesting how Laura and Rose worked together on the Little House series, but it made me sad that Rose really didn’t seem to have much appreciation or respect for her mother.

The book concludes with songs Laura mentioned in her books, recipes from foods she ate at church and community potlucks, and memories from people who knew her.

If you’ve ever read the Little House books or watched the show, I would highly recommend A Prairie Girl’s Faith to add to your enjoyment of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s stories.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


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