Saturday, March 31, 2007

Joyce Anthony's Virtual Book Tour Starts Here

Today I am welcoming Joyce Anthony, author of the spiritual fantasy novel Storm. This is Joyce's first book and it is already winning over reviewers with its real and vibrant characters and beautiful words.

This is the first stop on Joyce's month long tour. Please feel free to leave comments so she knows you stopped by. On April 2nd, Joyce will visit Brenda Jenkins Kleager's blog--
The tour will wrap up on April 30th, with Joyce's visit to the blog of Mary Emma Allen--

Cheryl: Joyce, thank you for joining me today. I am thrilled to be the one who starts off your book tour!

Joyce: I'm happy to be here, Cheryl. This promises to be a very exciting month.

Cheryl: While you’ve written numerous articles and short stories, Storm is your first novel. How does it feel to see your book on store shelves and at

Joyce: It feels incredible. I see my book and it is almost hard to believe I actually wrote the book. It is a feeling I don't think I will ever get used to.

Cheryl: Storm has received rave reviews. The Book Peddler called it “one incredible read” and Marvin D. Wilson, author of I Romanced the Stone, said it was “…a breath of fresh air.” Did you expect such an enthusiastic response to your novel?

Joyce: Not really. I spent so much time worrying that nobody would like it, that it didn't occur to me people might love Storm :-) Every incredible review I receive is so special to me!!

Cheryl: Your novel revolves around Storm, who is abandoned as an infant and raised by a lighthouse keeper. During Storm’s journey to discover his true identity, he meets a variety of people and changes their lives forever. How did you weave spirituality into your novel without coming across as preaching?

Joyce: The same way my spirituality is a part of my life, without me preaching. Just as people know where my faith is by how I live, by what I say and do, they are able to see Storm's spiritual beliefs, the faith of the other characters, simply by seeing how they relate to those around them. I'm a firm believer in example being the best teacher.

Cheryl: How long did it take you to complete Storm and what was your writing process like?

Joyce: Storm took two years to write once I started putting words on paper. I write everything longhand, and the experience was often like automatic writing--the words flowed so steadily. My biggest surprise was how strong I reacted emotionally as I wrote--I found myself laughing, crying, getting angry. It was a whole new experience for me.

Cheryl: A portion of your royalties from Storm will be donated to Stop It Now! an organization working to prevent the sexual abuse of children. How did you become involved with this organization?

Joyce: I was doing research one day and came across their website. I was very impressed by their approach to the subject--it is unique and I believe whole-heartedly in what they are trying to achieve.

Cheryl: If you could only give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?

Joyce: Don't give up and don't force it. Your characters will guide you if you allow them that freedom--and they know exactly where your story needs to go.

Cheryl: You are currently working on another project. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Joyce: Spirit of the Stallion is a non-fiction account of a bipolar child. In addition to his story, which is incredibly inspiring, there is practical advice for those with bipolar children in their lives. So often, existing books don't address the practical, everyday issues involved. This book will cover those issues.

Cheryl: Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

Joyce: I'd just like to invite readers to visit my site and to make a note of my tour stops and chats for the month. I'd love comments :-)

Once again, thanks for stopping by Joyce. We enjoyed learning more about you and Storm. I wish you great success in your future endeavors.
Joyce: Thank you, Cheryl!!!

For more information about Joyce and to view her entire virtual book tour schedule, check out her website at And don't forget to order your copy of Storm from Amazon today!

Labels: , , ,

Monday, March 26, 2007

Forever Liesl

A few months ago, I bought the book Forever Liesl A Memoir of the Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is my favorite family film and I've always loved Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Now that I am back into a regular reading schedule, I figured I would browse my bookshelves to find something interesting. And this certainly was it.

Forever Liesl is written by the actress who played the oldest daughter Liesl in The Sound of Music--Charmian Carr, with Jean A.S. Strauss. It talks about her experiences on the set of this famous musical--how she got the part, what the actors were like, how the role of Liesl changed her life--and had letters from fans all over the world who shared with Carr how The Sound of Music impacted their lives. It is also filled with over 25 photos from the movie and Carr's personal life.

From the back cover text, I had high hopes for this book.

"It's all here: from how she got the role (and why she almost didn't) to romances on the set and wild nights in Salzburg; from the near-disaster during the gazebo dance to her relationships--then and now--with her six celluloid siblings. Charmian also reveals why she left acting, what she learned when she met the real von Trapp children, and how The Sound of Music has helped her get through stormy times in her own life."

Carr shares a great deal about the people involved in The Sound of Music. And by that I don't mean she gossips about them. She talks about the actors, Robert Wise, Saul Chaplin, Ernest Lehman, Richard Rodgers, and Oscar Hammerstein with the respect due them for being a part of a wonderful film that has touched so many lives. But I think when you love a film like I do The Sound of Music, you tend to have greater expectations of how things were than what reality was. I didn't want to know that Christoper Plummer didn't really want to do the film but took it because he felt a musical would be good for another role he was interested in. I also didn't want to believe that Plummer didn't like acting with children or that he was just as stand-offish with the children on the set as Captain von Trapp was at the beginning of the movie. And then when I found out the songs which I thought Plummer had always sung in the movie were actually dubbed with someone else's voice, I was almost afraid to read any more.

But, let's face it, we have a more glamorous version of what acting is like than the people who act in these films do.

I liked the letters that Carr used from fans around the world as an opening for each new chapter. Some seemed better fitted to their chapters than others, but it was a nice transition into each new section. I have to admit, however, that the closest thing I read to a romance on the set was Nicholas (Friedrich) Hammond's infatuation with Carr. And while the back cover told me I could expect to hear of wild nights in Saltzburg, I didn't really think drinking in the lobby of the Bristol Hotel was very wild. But, I didn't buy the book to hear gossip. I bought it to learn more about my favorite film, so these things didn't take anything away from my enjoyment of the book.

What I can say ruined it a bit for me, was the way Carr's personal life was woven into the chapters. Perhaps it is because her personal life is so evident in the book that I am turned off by it. I expected to hear about how The Sound of Music helped Carr through the difficult times in her life, but I didn't expect so many things from the film to be related back to her life. I thought perhaps there would be one chapter dedicated to this topic, but it is present from beginning to end.

Sometimes you pick up a book and it entertains you, but you would probably never read it again. That's how I feel about this memoir. I liked learning more about The Sound of Music through all the behind the scenes information only someone from the film would be able to share; but I know it now, so why would ever pick it up off my book shelf again? The rest of the story just didn't pull me in enough, to make me want to dive into it a second time.


Labels: , , ,

Friday, March 23, 2007

Let me Tell You About the Birds and the Bees...

Last night, our daugthers were watching an old episode of Emergency on DVD. The five-year-old has become enamored with lots of the shows from the 70's--Wonder Woman, Emergency, and cartoons like Tom and Jerry, and The Superfriends.

In the Season 1 episode Brushfire, paramedics John Gage and Roy Desoto deliver a baby inside a house that is in the path of the brushfire. My daughter has watched this episode at least half a dozen times, but suddenly last night it peaked her curiosity about the origins of babies. She turned to her father and asked, "How do babies get in mommys' bellies?"

That was when I walked into the room with a handful of laundry and my anxious husband gave me a strange look. "What?" I asked. "I'm not ready for this," he replied. "Not ready for what?" I tucked my jeans into the dresser. "She just asked me where babies come from." I reminded him that our son was 5 or 6 when he first asked about the birds and the bees too. Then I chuckled and left the room.

I have no idea what he said to our daughter, though I know he explained that when babies are first created they are as small as a the point of a pin, because all she goes around talking about now is how tiny babies are when they first start out.

I followed up my husband's explanation with a bedtime story about a young prince and princess who got married and decided to have a baby. I gave as much detail as I thought her five-year-old mind could understand and answered any questions she had. For now, she seems satisfied.

We will go through this at least once more--when our youngest becomes curious enough about babies to ask the same questions. Maybe by then I'll have a better explanation than my prince and princess story. If not, I guess that one will have to do.


Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The end of the ghost, but just the start for me

I stayed up last night to read the final two chapters of The Ghost in the Little House. At the age of 78, Rose was contacted by the editor of Woman's Day and asked to make a trip to Vietnam. Chapter 20 of Holtz's book is dedicated to Rose's trip--what she discovered, her opinions on what was going on in Vietnam at the time, and the article she ended up writing. Rose told the story of "the Vietnamese people in their centuries-old effort to throw off a series of foreign oppressors." Rose was very concerned about the Communist threat in America and abroad, and it appears those concerns shaped her story on Vietnam. As a lover of history, I found this chapter particularly interesting.

Prior to her death in 1968, Rose planned another trip to Europe. She was to set sail from New York on November 9th. Some time earlier, Rose decided she was suffering from diabetes--as her mother had. Her fear of doctors caused her to create a new diet for the ailment which she had self-diagnosed. On October 29th, she died in her sleep in her Danbury, CT home. Roger Lea MacBride, who had been in Rose's life for some time by this point, brought Rose's ashes back to Mansfield and laid them beside the burial place of Almanzo and Laura.

I've heard it said that most readers do not bother to look at prologues and epilogues, but to not read Holtz's epilogue would be to miss out on what happened after the deaths of the Wilders and their daughter. Laura's books continued to sell. MacBride found Laura's manuscript "The First Three Years and a Year of Grace" and her letters to Almanzo in 1915 when she went to visit Rose in San Francisco and to see the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The first was published as The First Four Years by Harper and Row in 1971; and three years later, West from Home would be published. Then came Landon's televsion show Little House on the Prairie and a TV dramatization of Let the Hurricane Roar titled Young Pioneers.

Holtz goes on to discuss how he became involved in writing his biography of Rose and he claims that even at the time he was writing this book, "Rose is regarded with suspicion in Mansfield, where people tend to be protective of her mother's reputation." He talked about three other people--Rose Ann Moore, William Anderson, and Donald Zochert--who also investigated Rose's involvement in the writing of Laura's books. He goes so far as to claim that Zochert, "guessed privately at more than he could prove regarding Rose's hand in the books." Holtz says there is a "spell of the mythical Laura Ingalls Wilder, frontier heroine and untutored genuis of the Ozarks, which prevented an adequate assessment of the daughter's hand in the mother's work," further claiming that Rose had created a shield that no one could penetrate.

The author sums up his book with what he hopes to have accomplished and that it was a "happy task to set the record straight."

I have experienced many emotions while reading this biography of Rose Wilder Lane. I have at times been excited to learn more about Laura and Almanzo's only surviving child. But a sadness fills my heart to think of who Rose was, as portrayed in this book. She is someone who seems to have been ruled by her own emotions--taken over by bouts of depression and harboring a resentment towards her parents. Rose always desired to write something more substantial than the meaningless articles she penned to pay her bills.

I wish I could say I came to a conclusion now that the book is over, but I haven't. I know what it is like to have a good editor, but just because I accept her suggestions does that mean I should share the byline with her? Holtz seems to make a big deal out of the fact that Rose typed all the manuscripts up for Laura. Perhaps Laura felt she did not need a typewriter if Rose had one; especially if Rose was going to review her manuscripts anyway. And as I have said before, Holtz never bothers to mention all the other writing Laura did for the newspaper or her poetry.

While it has been my experience that being prolific in one aspect of writing does not mean you will do as well in other areas, it still shows that Laura had some skill with a pen and paper. And while Holtz paints Laura as being a dunce when it comes to fiction writing-- so ignorant that she couldn't even take instructions from Rose on how to edit her own manuscripts--he can't possibly explain away her ability to write thought provoking articles for the Missouri Ruralist.

I am disappointed that Holtz took the road of discrediting Laura to prove his theories. If his theories are correct, they should have been proven without attempting to destroy Laura's reputation. It appears he feels there is some big secret that he has been smart enough to uncover, which couldn't have been unearthed while Laura and Rose were alive.

Maybe he's right. Maybe Laura and Rose did work hard to keep the public in the dark about how much Rose contributed to Mama Bess's books. But I find it hard to believe that a child who wouldn't even help her elderly mother up when she fell down in public would feel obligated to keep such a secret, even after her mother's death.

So, while this book is ended, I still have lots more to do. As I mentioned earlier this week, I am going to review the Appendix at the end of Holtz's book which includes copies of passages from Laura's manuscripts and a version revised by Rose. I will compare these to my 1971 copies of the Little House books. And then I will see if I can get my hands on a copy of Free Land to see if the writing style is similiar. This might just serve to confuse me, however, because Holtz contends in his epilogue that, "Any acknowledgement of the mother-daughter relationship as writers [in Mansfield] casts Rose in the role of borrowing from her mother's work."

I hope you have enjoyed journeying through The Ghost in the Little House with me. I really liked reading this biography of Rose Wilder Lane when it spoke solely about Rose. She was an interesting but complex person. She got to travel to places I could only dream of seeing. And she made a name for herself in the world of writing, that seems after reading this biography, to be underrated.

I don't know if I will ever find the answers to my questions. I might never know what I feel about Rose's contributions to Laura's books. At some point, I might even enjoy living in blissful ignorance on what the truth really is. But I am glad I stuck with Holtz's book to the end, as it has renewed for me a desire to move forward with Laura Ingalls Wilder projects of my own.


Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Ghost in the Little House--it's Getting Better

If I sat down to write this entry a few days ago then the title and this message would have had a very different tone. I came across some of Holtz's comments that infuriated me. I almost abandoned the book on the spot, after spending numerous hours on it and being less than one hundred pages away from the end.

It started around page 292 when Holtz said it took Rose "more than a year of intermittent work to bring By the Shores of Silver Lake to publishable form." He claims that Laura's letters to her agent George Bye were written with instructions from Rose and that the two women were in cahoots to keep Bye in the dark about them working on the books together.

Then we move to the discussion of "The Hard Winter" manuscript which starts on page 302. Holtz says we can find, "mammoth and defining evidence of Rose's hand in converting her mother's primitive narrative into a lively and publishable manuscript" and he claims she rewrote the entire thing. He goes on to say that Rose did similiar work to all the other books too, but at this point Rose "seems to have abandoned any pretense at instructing her mother." The word "primitive" above is bolded by me because it really irked me when I read it, just like the next passage I will mention.

On page 306, Holtz has moved on to Wilder's next manuscript Little House on the Prairie which he once again says is mostly written by Rose. He cites as an example the chapter entitled "Fourth of July". This is what he had to say: "Nowhere does the story leap more clearly to the eye with Rose's ideological imprimatur than in what she accomplished with Mama Bess's rudimentary chapter "Fourth of July"...the passage (where Pa begins to sing My Country 'tis of Thee and the entire town joins in) is wholly Rose's creation, and in it she has made her mother not merely a romantic but also an ideological heroine." Once again, I have bolded the one word that stuck in my craw.

By this time in Rose's personal life, she was against big government and was more into the writing and sharing of political theory than fiction writing. Holtz says during this time, Rose barely worked on anything of her own, but instead concentrated on rewriting her mother's books. The passage he mentions from "Fourth of July", as well as other passages in Mama Bess's books, he claims shows Rose trying to weave her ideological beliefs into her mother's stories.

Rose's work on Laura's books then takes a back seat to Rose's life--being investigated by the FBI because of a postcard she sent to radio commentator Samuel Grafton which they thought was subversive, her refusals of rationing cards during the WWII, her attempts to avoid income tax by making as little money as possible, and how her ideological beliefs further developed after WWII and into the Cold War.

The most interesting chapter so far is the one entitled "Mother Remembered." Mama Bess has died and Rose finds herself more prosperous than she had been in years thanks to the royalties from her mother's books. Holtz has copied a letter from Laura to Rose which was written five years before her death which Laura signed as Mama Bess with Laura Ingalls Wilder in parenthesis. Holtz claims this is Wilder's last assertion of her independent status as a writer.

The chapter makes a mention of how Rose had to adjust to life without her mother, which seemed very odd to me, unless it was meant to say Rose was finally free of the burden of caring for her elderly parents (Almanzo had died in October of 1949 at the age of 92.)

But the one thing that really sticks out to me is that Rose seems to want to continue the supposed ruse that Laura wrote her famous books all by herself. On pages 349 and 350 we learn that Rose now possessed her mother's manuscripts that had been left at Rocky Ridge Farm. They were discovered by Mr. and Mrs. Litchy who were working to make Rocky Ridge a memorial to their most famous resident. Rose returns the published manuscripts to the Litchys for use at the museum with a letter "cautioning them with the old fiction that they were early drafts not representing her mother's final intentions." Rose even went on to defend her mother when an article sought to claim that Laura "knew she could achieve a more artistic effect by altering the true facts occasionally." She wrote a letter to the author, Louise H. Mortenson in which Rose insists that Laura wrote the literal truth. Rose supposedly even took William T. Anderson to task when a copy of his booklet about the Ingalls family suggested that the Ingalls family had neighbors their first year in De Smet. She wrote, "This is a formal protest against your proposal to publish a statement that my mother was a liar." Holtz claims that Anderson corrected his copy to make it agree with Laura's books.

One has to wonder why Rose would go through all the trouble to protect the memory of a woman she seemed to dislike. If she and her mother battled so much, why would Rose insist on keeping their lie alive? Wouldn't it have made Rose even more famous if she came clean about all the work she did on her mother's books? Could revealing this hidden fact not have been Rose's chance to exact justice for her years of mistreatment?

I have only two chapters left to go and my mind is awash in suppostions. At the end of the book I found an appendix which shows samples of Laura's manuscripts versus what Rose wrote, so I know my research isn't done. I will pull out my 1971 Harper and Row Little House books and maybe even purchase Rose's Let the Hurricane Roar and Free Land to compare them.

Should I do this? Will it further confuse me? Or will it make things crystal clear and leave me wishing I left the whole thing alone? I don't know. I guess I'll have to think on it while. One thing is certain, that Holtz's book when he sticks solely to Rose's life and not to discrediting Laura, is a real page turner. I should know, I've been staying up too late every night to read it.


Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Just what I needed

Well, I finished The Long Winter last night. It was just what I needed to get me back into the swing of things. Laura and her family struggle to survive on the open prairie, cut off from supplies until the train begins running in the spring. Makes one feel lucky they didn't live back then.

Her future husband, Almanzo, along with another young man, Cap Garland risk their lives to search for some seed wheat which will save the little town from starvation. Through frigid cold, having to walk or run alongside their sleds to keep warm, Cap and Almanzo travel to find the man who might have wheat to spare.

The descriptions of the storms, once again, make me feel like I am right alongside Cap and Almanzo. At one point, they see a dark cloud far away and Laura describes how it creeps along shutting off the stars one by one. She repeats the details of the sky as Almanzo and Cap rush to try and out run the impending storm.

You feel joy along with the Ingalls family when spring finally arrives and the trains bring in the long awaited supplies. Now they will have meat, coal, and kerosene. No more grinding brown wheat in the coffee mill and twisting hay with rough, cut up hands to keep the fire lit. And you are glad when the Christmas barrel Reverend Alden's church sent along to the Ingalls family finally arrives. For then they get to celebrate Christmas in May, and are reunited with their friends the Boasts who they have not seen through the long, hard winter because the Boasts had stayed out on their claim to care for their livestock.

Laura Ingalls Wilder once said, "I had no idea I was writing history." It is the truth, that Wilder's books are more than mere fiction. They tell us what it was like during the era of the pioneers--where families moved farther away from the east coast to settle the untamed west. They battled illness, starvation, Indian attacks, and lost many of their loved ones. They lived in a time of uncertainty, but also one of great hope and faith.

No matter what happens as I wrap up my reading of The Ghost in the Little House, my respect for Laura remains. Her stories and articles about farming life drag me into a time long ago, which I can now only experience through history books. They make me feel what she feels and want what she wants. And most of all, they entertain me. They make me want to keep reading until my eyes will no longer stay open.


Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, March 12, 2007

Switching Reading Gears

I had to take a break from The Ghost in the Little House and I figured what better way to do that than to curl up with my favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder title, The Long Winter. I'm already over halfway through it.

Wilder has a keen eye for detail, talking about the sounds of the raging blizzards and the frost on the nails in the roof of the store in town where they lived during that terrible winter. She paints an interesting picture of her future husband in this book too. Almanzo and Royal Wilder have a feed store in town and they are baching together. Almanzo, while only nineteen years old according to the book, is already on his way to being a smart farmer, having hauled his seed wheat all the way from home with him so that he can start off his future farm right.

I already know that Almanzo, along with Cap Garland will be the future heroes in this book, but I also know that I have to keep turning the pages. No matter how many times I read this book, I want to read it again as soon as it's over.


Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

More thoughts on "The Ghost in the Little House"

Since my last post about approaching this book with an open mind I have gone from loving the book to being disappointed. I have never experienced such joy and sorrow over learning something new.

This is the only biography of Rose Wilder Lane that I am aware of. From what I've read she certainly had an interesting life full of travels and writing. While I had heard about Let the Hurricane Roar and Free Land, I did not know they were written with her Ingalls grandparents and her father respectively as the inspiration behind these two stories. I am overjoyed to learn this much about my favorite family.

I am at a point where Laura's writing career is well underway. She has written and published Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, Farmer Boy, and On the Banks of Plum Creek. But the success of these novels is all attributed to Rose in Holtz's book. He gives Laura little, if no credit, in the writing of them. Where earlier Rose complained over the clogging details her mother included, now she says Laura has not included enough details. And nowhere does Holtz mention Laura's work for the local newspaper.

It would be difficult to prove his point--Rose is the co-author of the Little House series--if he did not discredit Wilder in some way, but there is one comment that turned me off entirely.

Free Land, which was a great success for Rose, gained her fame and fortune like she had never known. It was an eight-installment series which ran in the Saturday Evening Post over a two-month period. The hero of this series, David Beaton, "pits his courage, skill, and endurance against the Dakota plains in the effort to make a farm for his wife and children." We already know that this story is based upon her father's life. During the writing of Free Land, Rose--who now lived in New York City-- corresponded with her father, asking him all types of questions so that she could authenticate the narrative.

One page 281 of Holtz's book it states, "...Rose had gone to some lengths to avoid a facile optimism. Young David's early marriage, a cliche of romance, turns out to be a mistake of the heart, but one he resigns himself to live with." As a reader who already knows this if the life of Almanzo Wilder, this portion of the text infers Almanzo saw marrying Laura as a mistake.

If I had no prior knowledge of the Wilders this comment would have elicited no response--except perhaps pity. But I have been studying the Wilders and their families for years. Through Laura's own books as well as those written about her, I have learned that while life was never easy for the Wilders, they stuck it out and eventually lived more comfortably. Farming life was hard, especially after Almanzo's stroke; and they suffered the loss of a child, a home, and most of their personal belongings in the early years of their marriage. But this comment seems to add one more loss to all the hardships they endured together.

Perhaps it is the hopeless romantic in me which sees them as madly in love with each other or the glossed over version of their life which I watched as a child every Monday night on Michael Landon's Little House on the Prairie which clouds my judgment. All marriages weren't happy--even back then.

I've tossed it around in my head several times since reading this passage the other night and I can't get away from the feeling that this comment is only there to further substantiate the claims that Laura was not a very nice person. I felt it an unneccessary dig at an icon of children's literature whose abilities have continually been called into question by the author.

Yet still, I have to admire a piece of work which challenges me to think differently about a topic which I am familiar with. Not that I am ready to say I believe Holtz's claims that Rose should be credited as co-author of the Little House books. I am no closer to thinking that than I was when I first started. But I still have over 180 pages left to convince me. I have to admit I can't wait to sit down and read it every night so I can learn more about Rose and her writing career. I can relate to her bouts of insecurity and desire to write something more of substance than articles for Country Gentleman or editing her "mother's damn juvenille" as she often called it. And isn't that what all writers strive for--to keep their readers interested and get them to relate to their characters? I am willing to call Holtz's book a success from that perspective.


Labels: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Still Trying to Keep an Open Mind, but it's Getting Harder

Last spring I started a book titled A Ghost in the Little House by William Holtz. It is a biography of Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder. As many of you know, I deeply admire Wilder's writing and my bookshelves are lined with numerous titles by and about Wilder and her family.

This book is controversial in that Holtz claims that Rose was the co-author of the now famous Little House series. I've forced myself to keep an open mind while reading it, because I doubt Holtz's claims. Being an editor, doesn't make you a co-author, in my mind.

The beginning was rough for me to get through because it painted a very different picture of Rose's parents than I was used to hearing. Everything I read up to that point spoke of how well liked Laura and Almanzo were. But these were the recollections of friends and neighbors, not the child who lived with them and who spent her adult life feeling like she was committed to taking care of her elderly parents.

I did manage to make it past that part of the timeline and move into Rose's travels, which I found very interesting. She had an amazing life from that perspective. But even in this, she was unhappy according to Holtz because she was forced to write articles to get cash, instead of working on something of substance. And, she always felt she must return to Mansfield, MO upon occasion to check on her parents.

I've now reached the point where Rose is living with friends in the old house at Rocky Ridge Farm. She had a new stone house built for her parents to live in and then she redecorated the old one to her tastes. By this time, Rose was in her early forties. The criticism of Laura begins again. Rose feels interrupted by her mother constantly. References to how harsh and selfish Laura was flow into the text. And once again, I find myself having a difficult time reading about my beloved author in this context.

I am a little over halfway through the book and I know I must read it until the end because I need to know how Holtz supports his idea that Rose should be credited as co-author. In the end, perhaps I will believe as he does. And I wonder what, if any, affect this will have on my opinion of Wilder's books and her abilities as an author. Will I end up regretting reading this book? Will I be thankful my eyes were opened?

I really can't say right now. But as I make it through to the end, I am determined to keep an open mind to the possibilites within.


Note: My first comments on The Ghost in the Little House appear in the May 2006 archives.

Labels: , , , ,

Getting Back to Reading

You hear it all the time--published authors read often. I used to once; but with three children, a husband, and a writing career, my reading days have been next to none--unless you count my trade journals (which I don't).

As I was working on revising my goals this month, I decided to add reading to them. I will read about writing. I will read the genres I am interested in being published in. Maybe I'll pick up books that are outside of my usual genre just to expand my horizons. All I know, is that a book will join me in the tub at least once a week. And I'll be a better writer because of it.