It's a different tone, an adult story, after the transition for Laura from pioneer girl to pioneer wife. I remember reading it as a child, and then again as a young woman; what I didn't quite remember is how sadness it contains. I hope that more recently-published editions have fixed the error on page 70 of my Harper & Row copy: Laura powers through labor by remembering one of the hymns Pa used to sing, but it's "Angel Band", NOT "Angel Bank"! Laura keeps house and Manly tends the land and the stock, and they go on frequent pony rides together. Be warned! This book reads differently than the previous Little House books. Laura accidentally burns the house down. She did not want to be a farmer, but decided to try farming for three years. It is filled with successes as well as trials just as life is. The rest of the books, for those who have no read them, detailed Laura Ingalls Wilder's childhood growing up and being a pioneer girl with her Ma, Pa, and three sisters. If we can just make home a happy place in the little things, we don't need big gifts or lots of money to make us happy. The tone is different, harder, more grown-up, with many details that ended 'These Happy Golden Years' changed here, and not for the better. The wool repays her initial investment, leaving only enough to pay the interest on their debts. Almanzo and Laura strike a bargain: she … If we can just make home a happy place in the little things, we don't need big gifts or lots of money to make us happy. , See 1 question about The First Four Years…, (Poll Ballot Tally) The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder - 3 stars, Trea, Erica, & Cindy - Little House Series, The First Four Years - Laura Ingalls Wilder 4 stars. The Little House books were the first thing I ever bought when I found out I was having a baby. Evaluation Overview. After "These Happy Golden Years", this book seems like a standalone. Now that I've completed my reread I'm looking forward to reading Caroline (a book from Ma's perspective) and Prairie Fires (pulitzer prize winning nonfiction)! Each initially leaves by boat, struggles between visibility and invisibility, copes with repeated obstacles and heart-wrenching loss, and gains resilience in the process. The spirit as well as the format is that of the Little House[a] (though the format will mislead those who expect a functional resemblance). The renter decides to keave, and as Almanzo is unable to work both pieces of land, so they sell the homestead claim and move back to their first house. Their daughter, Rose, is born in December. This book is based on the real life story of Laura Wilder and her little family. It made me sad. Faced with mounting debt, Almanzo mortgages the homestead claim. Almanzo asks Laura for three years - in order to prove that farming in South Dakota can be a viable way to make a living - and they drag it out for seven before finally abandoning their homestead and trying their luck in Missouri. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. There is drought, hail, windstorms, blizzards and other bad luck. The novel gets its title from a promise Laura made to Almanzo when they became engaged. 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. I knew what I was getting into, so it wasn't so shocking and disappointing this time around. This life was lived at a slower pace and was seen through the eyes of an ambitious, loving, young couple. This book is very, very different from all the other books in the Little House on the Prairie series. With Josiah Blount, Sara Kapner, Thomas Garner, Marisa Mendelson. Compared to its predecessors this is telegraphic, with little dialogue or development of incident; one might also say less fictionalized. This book tells of the ups and downs they face as pioneer farmers: good crops, bad crops, weather problems, debts, neighbors, sickness, horses, cattle, sheep, and baby Rose. At the end of the third year, though farming has not yet been a success, Laura and Almanzo agree to continue for one more year, a "year of grace", in Laura's words, since they have no other prospects and Almanzo believes they just need one good year to turn things around. I expect this one will be quite different in contrast. And what a ride through droughts, blizzards, a lot of baked beans and salt pork, failing wheat crops, twelve different types of buggies, hay stacks galore, and mean, terrible Nellie Olson. 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