Wednesday, January 24, 2018
A Prairie Girl's Faith- Review
A Prairie Girl’s Faith provides the first extended, in depth discussion of the Christian faith of one of America’s most beloved pioneer women–Laura Ingalls Wilder. Although the faith of the Ingalls’ family pervades books in the Little House series, the more specific details of Laura’s faith have never been fully explored. It took extraordinary pluck for anyone to survive the harshness of frontier life–from the heartbreak of sudden crop losses to murderous storms to unrelenting loneliness. This book reveals how in surviving, the brave Laura drew not just on her character, but found encouragement, strength, and hope in her relationship with God.
A Prairie Girl's Faith by Stephen W. Hines is a beautiful look into the legacy of faith the Ingalls family instilled not only into their family, but their community. Ever since I was a child and my mom read aloud "Little House in the Big Woods" I have been a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder. When I saw this book I was fascinated and eager to learn more about this amazing lady's faith.
Mr. Hines did a great job of collecting what information he could on the topic of Mrs. Wilder's faith, but honestly there was not quite as much in depth information as I had expected. At the beginning of chapter seven Mr. Hines writes: "The reality is that Laura Ingalls Wilder was not a person who thought it necessary or appropriate to reveal her private thoughts on topics or people to the outside world. She certainly extended this attitude to her spirituality, which she definitely considered one of her most private of matters." With that said there truly wasn't as much information about Laura Ingalls Wilder's beliefs as I thought there would be. However this book was interesting and informative in many ways that I had not expected.
One chapter explores the songs mentioned in the "Little House" series and how those songs may have impacted the pioneers of that era. I was interested to learn favorite hymns of different members of the Ingalls family. In an earlier chapter the author recounts how the Ingalls family lived a great distance from town and that Sundays were spent in quiet worship at home. At that time Caroline Ingalls instructed her daughters in Scripture memorization. Throughout her life Laura always read her Bible and it was not far from her at the time of her death.
Another interesting topic covered in this books was the relationship and collaborative efforts of Laura and her daughter Rose. I had no idea that Rose had such an impact on her mother's writing career. The author also compared and contrasted the two women who shared so much in common, but were often extremely different in beliefs.
A chapter entitled "The Church Potluck" discussed the growth of the church the Ingalls were involved in starting and the tradition of potluck dinners. This chapter is filled with recipes from an old community cookbook. The recipes were submitted by notable "Little House" characters including Caroline Ingalls.
I appreciated the peek into Laura Ingalls Wilder's thoughts that her articles for "The Missouri Ruralist" provided. Excerpts from many of her articles are sprinkled throughout this book giving us a unique glimpse of her perspective on many relevant topics of her day.
Overall A Prairie Girl's Faith was not exactly what I had expected, but a very enjoyable and informative book. The author is very knowledgeable and presents the information in a conversational manner which makes it an easy, fun read. For those who have enjoyed the "Little House" series and are interested in learning a little bit more about the woman behind the series I would definitely recommend A Prairie Girl's Faith.
*I was given a copy of A Prairie Girl's Faith by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.