Book Review: A Wilder Rose: Rose Wilder Lane, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Their Little Houses by Susan Wittig Albert


A Wilder Rose

Rose Wilder Lane, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Their Little Houses

Susan Wittig Albert
Persevero Press

Pub Date   

  • ISBN9780989203517
  • Price $23.95
  • Also available in trade paper, $14.95 (978-0-9892035-0-0) and ebook formats.


From bestselling, award-winning author Susan Wittig Albert comes the true story of Rose Wilder Lane, who transformed her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, from a farmer’s wife and occasional writer into the world-famous author of the Little House books. A Wilder Rose is a novel about of two exceptional women: a mother who has a fascinating pioneer story to tell but lacks the skill to write for publication; and a daughter, a much-published author with the skill to turn her mother’s drafts into memorable books and the publishing connections to get them into print. Set in the Depression, their story is one of painful family conflict and eventual triumph over difficult odds.
But why did they conceal their collaboration? And why did Rose not seek
recognition for her contributions? Based on Rose’s diaries and letters, A Wilder Rose is a fact-based fiction describing the real events that led to a literary deception that has continued for decades.

Book Website

About the author:
Susan Wittig Albert’s award-winning, bestselling fiction includes mysteries in the China Bayles series, the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries she has written with her husband, Bill Albert, under the pseudonym of Robin Paige. She is the author of two memoirs: An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days and Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place, published by the University of Texas Press. Her nonfiction titles include What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest (winner of the 2009 Willa Award for Creative Nonfiction); With Courage and Common Sense; Writing from Life: Telling the Soul’s Story; and Work of Her Own: A Woman’s Guide to Success Off the Career Track.
Reader review . . .
Thousands (no, make that millions) of children have read the “Little House on the Prairie” books over the decades, and millions of people have watched the television series based on the books.  To those of us who grew up with those stories, the name Laura Ingalls Wilder is synonymous with pioneers and prairies.  But did Mrs. Wilder really write those beloved books?
In this fictionalized  account  of  their  relationship,  Susan  Wittig  Albert  uses  Lane’s unpublished diaries, journals, and correspondence as the basis for her novel about the relationship  between  mother  and  daughter.   Although  most  modern  readers   are unfamiliar with Lane, she  was  a  respected   and  published  author/journalist  by the beginning of the Great Depression.  Told  in flashback  form,  Rose  tells  her  story  to Norma Lee Browning, who,  along  with  her  husband,  was  a  houseguest  at  Rose’s Danbury, CT home.
Along with the question of authorship, the novel is a fascinating study of the conflicted mother-daughter relationship shared by Rose and Laura.  Although the most devout of Little House fans may rebel at the possibility of  Rose’s  co-authorship,  most  fans  will enjoy a fresh look at Laura Ingalls Wilder.
5 stars
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