A Wilder Rose tells the fascinating story of Rose Wilder Lane, a complex, unconventional woman, who in 1903, at the age of 18, fled her parents’ farm and the little town of Mansfield MO, to make a name for herself, becoming a well-known journalist, freelance writer, bestselling author, and world traveler. In 1928, when she left Albania and returned to the Missouri farm to help her parents, she was among the highest-paid American magazine writers.
Then the Crash came and Rose was stranded at the farm, obligated to support elderly parents who could no longer earn even a meager living by farming. With the hope of making some money, her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, brought Rose a handwritten draft of her childhood story. What happened after that is literary history—but not the history we thought we knew, for Rose’s diaries and journals reveal the startling breadth of her contributions to the Little House books and the painful depths of the mother-daughter conflicts that made their collaboration so difficult. The secret collaboration, for the two women concealed their work from their literary agent, their editors, and their readers, even after five of the books were named Newbery Honor Books.
Now, Laura is an iconic figure in American literature and Rose is rarely remembered. Susan Wittig Albert’s compelling novel portrays their untold story in a way that readers won’t forget.
Praise for A Wilder Rose
Susan Wittig Albert fictionalizes history in a way that helps readers better understand [the past]. . . She reopens the controversy over who deserves primary credit for the Little House series while at the same time engagingly and persuasively reimagines the conflicted mother-daughter relationship, the challenges posed by the Depression, and the heated political atmosphere of the 1930s.—John E. Miller, Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder
Rose Wilder Lane deserves recognition for her coauthorship of the Little House books. . . A revealing behind-the-scenes look into a literary deception that has persisted for decades.—William Holtz, The Ghost in the Little House: A Life of Rose Wilder Lane
A compelling depiction of one of the most significant literary collaborations of the 20th century. That the two people involved were mother and daughter adds to its complexity and human interest.—Anita Claire Fellman, Little House, Long Shadow: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Impact on American Culture
A beautifully written, vivid story . . . a splendid novel for everyone who has loved the Little House books, for all mothers and daughters, and for writers who will see their craft lovingly displayed.—Carolyn Hart, Ghost Gone Wild
Susan Wittig Albert is the bestselling author of more than a hundred books for adults and young readers. Her work includes four mystery series--China Bayles, Darling Dahlias, The Cottage Tales, and (with her husband, Bill Albert), the Robin Paige Victorians—as well as short stories, memoirs, nonfiction, and edited anthologies. A former English professor, Susan lives in the Texas Hill Country.
For more information, please visit www.susanalbert.com and www.AWilderRoseTheNovel.com.
A fictionalized account of the very strained mother daughter relationship.
I grew up reading the "Little House" books, then watching the TV show. I admit, it was difficult to separate the Laura of this book from the Laura in the Little House books.I understand this is fiction, I understand Rose was a ghost writer. I did not understand, nor admire Rose's attitude toward her mother. Her loathing of "rewriting" Laura's books. Rose may very well deserve much of the credit for the success of the series, but enough. Enough about reading page after page about how Laura's awful writing and how much Rose had to support the books as well as the family.
As you may have guessed, I do not like Rose Wilder. I found even Nellie Olson a better character. I'm certain Rose has her good points, for example, her taking on John and his brother as her 'sons'. She appears to be a very generous person.
Despite my lack of enjoyment with Rose's character, or the direction of Laura's character in this book, I did like this book. The writing was great, the book flowed very nicely. I learned a great deal about the depression, living through the depression and the years following. My disappointment stems from my crushed idea of Laura Ingalls Wilder as a sweet natured prairie child. According to this fictional account Laura was quite the manipulator, resorting to tears to get what she wanted. Rose, through her guilt, allowed herself to be manipulated by her mother's actions. This is most likely more in line with the actual truth, and not the fictionalized tv series.
Regardless of how you feel about Laura and Rose, this book will elicit emotion.