Author Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams
Series: Little House #8
Publication Date October 14th 1953
Fifteen-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. She is very homesick, but keeps at it so that she can help pay for her sister Mary's tuition at the college for the blind. During school vacations Laura has fun with her singing lessons, going on sleigh rides, and best of all, helping Almanzo Wilder drive his new buggy. Friendship soon turns to love for Laura and Almanzo in the romantic conclusion of this Little House book.
These Happy Golden Years is the perfect ending to Laura Ingalls’ childhood. It really shows how much she has grown and developed. I enjoyed seeing her as an adult and pained for Laura when she expressed her fears and homesickness. Another aspect of the novel was Laura’s courtship to Almanzo Wilder. I appreciated her naiveté to Almanzo’s intentions. It showed the last bit of innocence to an impending end to her childhood.
Impressions While Reading
Besides the lovely sleigh rides shared between Laura and her beau, my favorite part in the book was a simple walk between Mary and Laura. First, I always liked that Mary was able to go to college and grow as a person herself. Secondly, the conversation between the two sisters before Laura becomes Mrs. Wilder was the most poignant in the entire series. They discuss how things change and while it may be scary, new or different can be for the better. It was so insightful and brought a new meaning and moral to the series.
Growing up my favorite books in the series was Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie, probably because I was closest to Laura’s age at the time. As an adult, my opinion has changed and would now list These Happy Golden Years as the stand out in the series. It is mature, yet simply told and a wonderful conclusion to the series and the beginning of Laura’s adulthood.