The Little House series immediately comes to mind when I think of childhood favorites. I adored reading about the life of Laura and, later, reading about the life of her daughter, Rose. The series has been expanded since I was a little girl to include books about Laura’s great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother. I never read any of the books about Laura’s female ancestors, which means Wilkins’ book has sat on my bookshelf for years now.
This book is the sixth book in the Caroline Years, following Laura’s mother as she moves to Milwaukee to live with her aunt and uncle and attend Milwaukee Female College with plans to become a teacher. A thoroughly pleasant and enjoyable read, for sure. Wilkins does a great job copying the writing style of Wilder as she tells the story of Laura’s mother.
I am currently reading a nonfiction book about women moving voicing their thoughts and fighting for their rights as human beings. The book mentions how fighting for prohibition was really the first time (respectable) women moved from the home and into political realm. It was interesting how this was echoed in this particular juvenile, historical fiction book.
Caroline is against the so-called “demon rum” but she is conflicted on how acceptable it would be for her to join in the fight. Her Aunt Margaret is very vocal in her feelings but has been shunned by her grandmother when the elder woman spoke about her family and Caroline is worried about turning into her Aunt Margaret. There is also the part where Aunt Margaret informs Caroline that the groups meetings had to occur within the church in order to be respectable.
“Many men think that the temperance league is about women’s rights, not about temperance. When we meet in churches, it shows that we have the approval of our ministers and our community.” (pg. 106)
Would I have noticed this if I read the book was a young girl? Sure, but I would have seen it as a part of the story rather than placed it in the context of the time period. So maybe it was good that I waited to read this book until now. I certainly am intrigued to see what interesting tidbits I glossed over in the subsequent books I did read.
- Wilkins, Celia. Little City by the Lake. New York: HarperTrophy, 2003. Print. 309 pgs. ISBN: 0064407357. Source: Purchased.