Friday, December 6, 2013
Friday Flowers: Another Type of Rose
I'm going to take a wild guess and say that a lot of you stitchers out there are also readers. If so, did you grow up reading and loving the LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE books? I know I did.
This summer I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of a book by Susan Wittig Albert called A WILDER ROSE, that tells the fascinating story of HOW those wonderful Little House books actually got written and published. You may think you know all about Laura Ingalls Wilder and how, as an older woman, she sat down and wrote all those charming books about her early pioneer life. Well, come to find out, there's an entirely different story about the writing of those books that has been hidden from readers all these years.
In A WILDER ROSE, Susan Albert has meticulously researched and written about Laura's daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, the behind-the-scenes author and editor of all her mother's famous books. Rose Wilder Lane was a well-known writer whose books and stories were widely published during the 1930s and '40s and on into the 1960s. [And here's an interesting fact for us stitchers: being an accomplished needlewoman herself, Rose Wilder wrote the Woman's Day Book of American Needlework in 1963. Who Knew?!?]
But back to the Little House books.... Throughout the 1930s and '40s, Rose took on the challenge of editing and shaping her mother's stories so that they could get published, and never asked for or received any public recognition of her work. A WILDER ROSE reads like a fictional novel, with lots of wonderful details about life in those Depression years; yet there's also the building drama of Rose's struggle to shape her mother's books and still be true to her own needs and visions as an artist and writer. I found the book to be an absolutely riveting story of a relationship between a strong-willed mother and an independent but dutiful daughter.
I have to tell you, I am a great fan of all of Susan Albert's books; I love her Beatrix Potter Cottage series, her Darling Dahlia series, her China Bayles mysteries.... the list goes on and on. But what really impresses me in ALL of her books is how respectfully she treats her characters. The same thing applies in A WILDER ROSE; she treats mother Laura and daughter Rose with the greatest respect and dignity, and above all, truthfulness. Reading about Rose Wilder Lane made me a little sad, to realize how her contributions to the Little House books were unknown for so many years. Yet now that I've read Susan's book, I'm glad to know the real story behind the Little House books, and happy that Rose's part in those classic books has finally being revealed. I'm exceedingly grateful to Susan for telling us this very important story.
So, if you're a fan of those Little House books, or just love a good true story about an independent woman trying to make her way during those hard Depression years, you really must read this book...
And psssssst: following in the footsteps of all her independent women characters, Susan Albert is herself traveling into uncharted territory by self-publishing this book. You can find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or better yet, go visit Susan's website dedicated to Rose Wilder Lane, called www.awilderrosethenovel.com.