While I enjoy almost all of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, I must admit that The Long Winter is probably my favorite and best. (I still have never read Farmer Boy.) I think one of the reasons why I love it so much is that it's one of the books that you experience. When Pa, Ma, Mary, Laura, Carrie, and Grace are hungry and cold, YOU feel hungry and cold alongside them. This is also the novel that introduces Almanzo.
The Long Winter is set in 1880/1881. It is a fictional account of one of the hardest (longest) winters. It is definitely a book about hardship and survival and the human spirit. It's very intense in places.
I first reviewed it in February 2008.
The Ingalls family is living in their claim shanty. This would be the first fall/winter they've been there. And they know it will be tough, but when the first blizzard comes in October, they know that it wouldn't only be tough to survive but impossible to survive if they were to try to stay on their homestead. Fortunately, Pa owns property in town. A place where they can be nice and warm and cozy for the winter. Or so they think.
What no one could know is just how hard, how long, how tough this winter was going to be. Some folks are prepared--the Wilder boys for instance--but most are not. Most are relying on the train making regular stops in town. The trains are essential for stocking the stores of supplies. But when almost every day brings a blizzard--with clear days coming only one at a time and never on a predictable schedule--it soon becomes clear that the trains will not be saving the day. Not til spring. The town's survival, the Ingalls' family survival, is a big if at this point.
Cold. Hunger. Starvation. No supplies. What's not to love?
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews