Tag Archives: Missouri local novels historical

A Wilder Rose by Susan Albert Shows Us Another Side of the Little House on the Prairie Legacy

The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder is still a household name for many!  Laura’s literary novels on her 1800s childhood in the barren American West gave readers a glimpse of what life was like for pioneer families.  Any list of classic children’s literature would not be complete without these treasures.

A Wilder Rose

Now, A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert takes on the viewpoint of the author and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, in a biographical fiction format and truly opens our eyes to the real brand creator and records historically the possible relationship between Laura and Rose.  Told through the eyes of Rose, Albert used historical letters and diaries in order to complete the account and seems to give an authentic portrayal of their strained and true relationship.

I really have an affinity for books that take famous authors or artists and weave their true tales into fictional novels, giving us a greater appreciation for their famous works.  Sometimes to know in-depth the person behind the art or novel can give us a further connection with the piece. In this case, Albert gives us the view that it was truly Rose who is fully responsible for the success of the Little House series.

Historically, Rose had left her family at a young age to aspire to greater things and ended up becoming a very successful journalist and author. After coming home for a visit, The Great Depression hit. Her parents, with Laura in her sixties, were unsure about caring for themselves on the farm.  Rose had to stay, essentially crushing some of her own creative and adventurous spirit. Though she loved her parents, she loved to travel and write and her relationship with her mother was strained because she no longer had this outlet. I can totally relate to the feeling that Rose had of wanting to continue to spread her wings with her writing and in her career.  However, when Laura presented Rose with her memoirs of her childhood days, Rose saw them for their potential and painstakingly edited and revised in order to turn them into a goldmine, ultimately selling them during one of the most UN-lucrative times in history, The Great Depression.

A Wilder Rose describes their mother-daughter relationship, book branding and publishing at the start of the Century, farm life during The Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and The New Deal. This makes it not only an endearing tribute to the strength of the mother-daughter relationship even through hardships, but also a great historical lesson of life in the West and during one of the hardest decades in American history.

Albert is an amazing writer who gently and yet candidly presents us with a story behind one of the most loved children’s book sets of all time. To imagine the work that actually went into creating and marketing these amazing books and ultimately, the brand, was something I had thought little of until reading that this book was publishing. What an amazing story behind-the-scenes of it all! Albert captures Rose’s determination, energy, and motivation and throws them onto the page, along with her anguish and angst over her home situation and her stressful collaboration with her mother, Laura.  Albert does a great job of showcasing both sides of the story so that each has their honorable memories intact and embellished.

The amount of research and development that went into this novel by Albert is commendable.  I can imagine that Rose would be very proud to be recognized for her efforts in presenting her mother not just as a homemaker from the Ozarks, but as a literary legend who gives us our best glimpse into the American frontier.

I highly recommend this book not only to lovers of the Little House series, but also to those readers interested in the art of novel-writing, those interested in historical author accounts, readers interested in life during The Great Depression, or for those looking for an amazing read about an endearing mother-daughter relationship.

It’s a touching story of a woman who was so wild with the need for success as a writer, but ended up barely being remembered at all for her most pivotal work. Now, she can rest with a little piece of the legacy due to Albert’s recognition. Read this book, it will grow your appreciation for the Little House series in a way you wouldn’t have thought possible!

A WILDER ROSE, Snyopsis~
A Wilder RosePublication Date: October 1, 2013
Persevero Press
ISBN: 978-0-9892035-0-0

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

Author Susan Wittig Albert, Biography~

Susan AlbertSusan 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

Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/awilderrosetour
Twitter Hashtag: #WilderRoseTour

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A White Room, debut historical novel by Stephanie Carroll, Takes on Secrets, Madness, Gender, and Human Rights in 1900s America

Oh, for the Hook of a Book! is pleased to review A White Room by Stephanie Carroll today as the launching point on the start of her summer virtual tour!  After the review and details, please take part in a chance to win her debut novel as well as check out all the other tour dates in which she’ll be interviewed and also have some interesting guest articles. And if you’d comment at the end of the post by clicking “comment” by the bottom footer, Stephanie will be availabe to answer any questions or comments you have! Enjoy!

A White Room 350x525Emma is terrified of her house. It moves, creaks, and seems alive. Is the terror truly there or is it in her own head? Is her isolation driving her mad or is her madness making her isolated?

A White Room by Stephanie Carroll is a historical novel showcasing the plight of women in the early 20th Century, where desperation for women with dreams and desires outside of working in the home could blur the lines between sanity and insanity.  Where men ruled the towns, the families, and the plight of every woman. Where high society women betrayed, humiliated, and bullied other women for wanting more than to launder, cook, and clean.

Emeline (Emma) Evans’ beloved father, who encouraged her dreams of helping people through nursing and had the funds to send her for an education, dies leaving her mother, her siblings, and her in sudden poverty.  Not knowing how else to help her family, she pleads to a family once helped by her father to let her marry their son. Once they agree, she is thrown into an undesirable situation by the new husband, John Dorr, who moves her far away from any family to start a new isolated life in a gothic home that reeks of sorrow and desires unmet.

Coupled with the fact that the only human contact, besides their a few-days-a-week maid who helped her with the incessant chores, were the high society women in the church who ran committees for profit or invited her low rung young husband lawyer to dine at their homes where she inevitably made mistakes.

Society in the early 1900s didn’t approve of women working outside of the home…their duty was to lug and hand wash dishes, launder clothing by hand, starch, iron, cook, scrub floors on hands and knees, be a dutiful wife and have sons…even if they had an education.  Emma knows some of these chores are important for daily life, but yet it seems she cleans for them to be dirty again, cooks what is consumed, and none feel meaningful and have a lasting effect on change or the world or community. She wants to do something important.

And here is where her dedication to herself, her desire to assist those in need, her intelligence and independence, almost drive her mad. Her intimidating eerie home starts messing with her mind. The furniture moves, reflections are odd, yellow eyes glow from the bushes. All this leads to her getting a straight ticket to a diagnosis of hysteria, which means she is confined even further to a bedroom with stark white walls in contrast to the dreary decor of the rest of the house. As the terrors of the home and her thoughts bring her to more paranoia, she flees the home and begins to defy her plight. She starts practicing her nursing, unlicensed and in secret, even as her husband’s law firm boss is hunting down these types of medical practitioners.

Will Emma’s rebellion cause her more pain and confine her further or redeem her from her life of madness and isolation? I highly recommend you read this book to find out. It’s an amazing story of a woman’s determination to use her intelligence and heart to help others, even at cost or danger to herself.

Carroll does a superb job of pulling the reader in from the start. We feel as if we are Emma, her thoughts and actions and worries so pervasive to our own minds.  Just as the house seeps in to our bones and we feel it closing around us as Emma does, as we feel the creepiness making the hair on our arms raise, just as we ourselves might go mad out of anger for Emma’s life, a redeeming break happens. The light enters in and Emma shines.

I totally loved this book. It’s been described as being similar to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper (where a woman becomes obsessed with the wallpaper bedroom), Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Though I concur that all that is true, I go further by being reminded of why the gothic writing work and home remind me of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s House of the Seven Gables (he and I are descended from the same family tree and his work is a favorite of mine) and some of the works of V.C. Andrews, such as Flowers in the Attic. She gives us a gothic feel reminiscent of Daphne de Maurier’s works.

If you have an open mind, or want your eyes to be opened, especially in terms of women’s servitude of the mind that has been happening for ages, this book is a must read. Women’s rights activists like me will highly covet this book as it brings about the secrets of the Gilded Age and also shows how it still transcends into society today.

The content and intricacies of this book are excellent.  I can’t give this book enough great accolades, so don’t hesitate, just read it! If you’re a fan of 20th Century culture, women’s issues, or eerie, haunting work, add this one to your list. Carroll is definitely an author not to be missed and I look forward to more permeating work from her in the future.

A White Room, Synopsis~

A White Room 350x525At the close of the Victorian Era, society still expected middle-class women to be “the angels of the house,” even as a select few strived to become something more. In this time of change, Emeline Evans dreamed of becoming a nurse. But when her father dies unexpectedly, Emeline sacrifices her ambitions and rescues her family from destitution by marrying John Dorr, a reserved lawyer who can provide for her family.

John moves Emeline to the remote Missouri town of Labellum and into an unusual house where her sorrow and uneasiness edge toward madness. Furniture twists and turns before her eyes, people stare out at her from empty rooms, and the house itself conspires against her. The doctor diagnoses hysteria, but the treatment merely reinforces the house’s grip on her mind.

Emeline only finds solace after pursuing an opportunity to serve the poor as an unlicensed nurse. Yet in order to bring comfort to the needy she must secretly defy her husband, whose employer viciously hunts down and prosecutes unlicensed practitioners. Although women are no longer burned at the stake in 1900, disobedience is a symptom of psychological defect, and hysterical women must be controlled.

A novel of madness and secrets, A White Room presents a fantastical glimpse into the forgotten cult of domesticity, where one’s own home could become a prison and a woman has to be willing to risk everything to be free.



Want a chance to WIN a copy of Stephanie Carroll’s A White Room? Sign-up for her Rafflecopter giveaway for an e-book version of this exceptional book! Good luck!

Win a copy of A White Room! Click Link Below~

A Rafflecopter giveaway


Stephanie Carroll, Biography~

Author Photo at Irwin Street Inn - CopyAs a reporter and community editor, Stephanie Carroll earned first place awards from the National Newspaper Association and from the Nevada Press Association. Stephanie holds degrees in history and social science. She graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Fresno.

Her dark and magical writing is inspired by the classic authors Charlotte Perkins Gilman (The Yellow Wallpaper), Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden), and Emily Bronte (Wuthering Heights). A White Room is her debut novel.

Stephanie blogs and writes fiction in California, where her husband is stationed with the U.S. Navy. Her website is www.stephaniecarroll.net.

Connect with Stephanie Carroll~



“A novel of grit, independence, and determination … An intelligent story, well told.”

—Renée Thompson, author of The Plume Hunter and The Bridge at Valentine

“The best historical fiction makes you forget it’s fiction and forget it’s historical. Reminiscent of The Yellow Wallpaper … the thoughtful, intricate story Carroll relates is absolutely mesmerizing.”

—Eileen Walsh, Ph.D. U.S. Women’s History, University of San Diego

A White Room, Details~

A White Room 350x525

by Stephanie Carroll

June 2013

408 Pages

Soft Cover: $14.99

eBook: $3.99

Publisher: Unhinged Books

ISBN: 978-0-9888674-0-6

eBook ISBN:


LCCN: 2013930913

The author photo was taken by Corey Ralston Photography and the cover was designed by Jenny Q of Historical Editorial and the original painting is Lady Astor by John Singer Sargent, 1909.

Available in Print and eBook

AmazonBarnes & NobleSonyKoboInkteraSmashwords

Soon to be available on Apple’s iBooks and Baker & Taylor’s Blio

A White Room Blog Tour Dates

A White Room 350x525Weds, June 19 – Oh, For the Hook of a Book:  Tour Kick-off!!  Book Review and Giveaway

Thurs, June 20 – Hazel the Witch:  Interview

Sat, June 22 – Reading in Ecuador:  

Guest Post: How to Write Characters You Hate and Characters You Love to Hate

Mon, June 24 – The Bookish Dame:  Interview

Thurs, June 27 – Momma Bears Book Blog:  

Guest Post: The Story Behind Emeline’s Mental Distress

Tues, July 2 – I am Indeed:  Guest Post: Historical Accuracy in Historical Fiction

Mon, July 8 – Bookfari:  Interview and Giveaway

Tues, July 9 – Hazel the Witch

Guest Post – How to Write the Inner Thoughts of a Crazy Person – Finding Meaning in Insanity?

Weds, July 10 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers: Review 

Fri, July 12 – Lost to Books:  Guest Post TBA and Giveaway

Mon, July 15 – A Writer of History:  Guest Post: Writing an Era – Where to Begin?

Weds, July 17 – Michelle’s Romantic Tangle:  Interview

Thurs, July 18 – Oh, For the Hook of a Book:  Interview

Tues, July 23 – Unabridged Chick:  Review and Giveaway

Thurs July 25 – Ravings and Ramblings:  Review and Interview

Tues July 30 – Reading the Past:  Giveaway and Guest Post:

Writing and Historical Thought – They Didn’t Think Like We Did 100 Years Ago

 Sat, Aug. 3 – History and Women:  Guest Post: Victorian Women and the Mystery of Sex 

Be sure to check out all her interviews and guest articles throughout the summer. And stop back by Oh, for the Hook of a Book! for our interview with Stephanie!


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