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These Happy Golden Years

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Fifteen-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. 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. During school vacations Laura has fun with her singing lessons, going on sleigh rides, and best of all, helping Almanzo Wil Fifteen-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. 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. During school vacations Laura has fun with her singing lessons, going on sleigh rides, and best of all, helping Almanzo Wilder drive his new buggy. Friendship soon turns to love for Laura and Almanzo in the romantic conclusion of this Little House book. Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts

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Fifteen-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. 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. During school vacations Laura has fun with her singing lessons, going on sleigh rides, and best of all, helping Almanzo Wil Fifteen-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. 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. During school vacations Laura has fun with her singing lessons, going on sleigh rides, and best of all, helping Almanzo Wilder drive his new buggy. Friendship soon turns to love for Laura and Almanzo in the romantic conclusion of this Little House book. Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts

30 review for These Happy Golden Years

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    This is the book I read the night before I got married ten years ago. The reason for this? I think that "These Happy Golden Years" is the first book that I ever read in which a courtship and marriage was described in any detail - I was probably 8 or 9 on first reading of it. It seemed eminently suitable to read before my own marriage. The book makes me happy inside, the gentle way that Laura and Almanzo become a couple and go out on rides together. Almanzo's persistence in courting Laura, and the This is the book I read the night before I got married ten years ago. The reason for this? I think that "These Happy Golden Years" is the first book that I ever read in which a courtship and marriage was described in any detail - I was probably 8 or 9 on first reading of it. It seemed eminently suitable to read before my own marriage. The book makes me happy inside, the gentle way that Laura and Almanzo become a couple and go out on rides together. Almanzo's persistence in courting Laura, and the fact that he collected her every week in freezing winter weather from the first school she taught is beautiful. The times spent with friends and family, and happy teaching experiences for Laura are also lovely to read. She's a woman who knows she's loved and loves back wholeheartedly. But the book is also bittersweet. It's the last proper Little House book ("The First Four Years" doesn't count as far as I'm concerned!) and everyone is growing up or growing old and it's that moment of change from child/teen to adult, dependence to independence that makes it so poignant.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I read this after visiting De Smet, and it was so lovely to be able to fix this unabashedly romantic YA novel firmly in its real-life location. On our last day in South Dakota we drove all around the lakes – Spirit Lake and Lakes Thompson and Henry – and out to the former tree claim where Laura and Almanzo’s first home was, and so in reading this book I was able to take a little nostalgia trip of my own, following the paths of their buggy rides. I love Laura and Almanzo’s courtship (which is real I read this after visiting De Smet, and it was so lovely to be able to fix this unabashedly romantic YA novel firmly in its real-life location. On our last day in South Dakota we drove all around the lakes – Spirit Lake and Lakes Thompson and Henry – and out to the former tree claim where Laura and Almanzo’s first home was, and so in reading this book I was able to take a little nostalgia trip of my own, following the paths of their buggy rides. I love Laura and Almanzo’s courtship (which is really what this book is about). He is so patient and so determined, and in some way, though he’s the older and more worldly of the two of them, he’s more shy. And Laura really takes her time figuring out whether or not they are right for each other (Almanzo seems pretty sure all along). Late in the book when Mary asks her, “Do you really want to leave home to marry that Wilder boy?” Laura protests, “He isn’t that Wilder boy any more, Mary. He is Almanzo… I guess it’s because we just seem to belong together.” She means that. Other notes: -- I love Laura’s joy when she comes home from the Brewster School for the first time - I love appreciating her loving, cheerful, practical family in a way that even she herself has never appreciated it before, and her own sober realization about how lucky she is. -- Yeah, so, this book, along with Lloyd Alexander’s The High King , Alan Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamen , and JRR Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring are the books that taught me – before I hit my teens - all about the human body’s reactions to cold and the dangers and symptoms of freezing to death. -- OH! I forgot about Laura going to live with the McKees one summer to help them hold down their claim. They take the train to Manchester SD. It is seven miles to the west of De Smet. We went there, too, on our trip. The ENTIRE TOWN was destroyed by a tornado in 2003. There is literally nothing left but a mangled railway sign, a memorial, and “the fabled town pump” which miraculously survived. It is officially classified as a Ghost Town. (Wikipedia entry about Manchester SD) (Yeah, video footage of THAT TORNADO by seriously insane storm spotters. This thing is HALF A MILE WIDE and they are like 100 yards away from it.) -- Anyone born since about 1920 has SERIOUSLY MISSED OUT ON THE PLEASURES OF SLEIGH RIDING. Damn it. Best quotation in this book: The wind was blowing, but not too hard, and everyone was so happy and gay for it was only twenty degrees below zero and the sun shone.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    I am very bitter about the $100 organ Pa insisted Laura needed to buy for Mary to play during her visits home (for a couple of weeks every other year or something). This was the money nobody could afford to waste.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    These happy golden years are passing by, these happy golden years. Arguably the most recognizable quote from the eighth book in the series and rightly so. We transition from girlhood to adulthood by having Laura slowly, but surly, fall love. I distinctly remember that this was the first time that I mourned the loss of a character - I was in fifth grade and the book-Laura was still alive. Yet, I remember sadness and sorrow. The Laura we knew has grown into a woman. It's no longer Ma, Pa and La These happy golden years are passing by, these happy golden years. Arguably the most recognizable quote from the eighth book in the series and rightly so. We transition from girlhood to adulthood by having Laura slowly, but surly, fall love. I distinctly remember that this was the first time that I mourned the loss of a character - I was in fifth grade and the book-Laura was still alive. Yet, I remember sadness and sorrow. The Laura we knew has grown into a woman. It's no longer Ma, Pa and Laura. Gone are the days spent roasting the pig's tail and singing along to Pa's fiddle. This was the first time I had realized that I would someday leave my parents. I sincerely wish we could've had more books for this series prior to Laura marrying Almanzo. Or even more written by Laura as her daughter grew up. Audiobook Comments Read by Cherry Jones and accompanied by Paul Woodiel on the fiddle - together they really brought the audio alive. Loved it. Blog | Instagram | Twitter

  5. 4 out of 5

    Candychaser21

    Imagine life before cars,phones,recorded music,electricity,ect. A simpler time, before all the hustle and bustle of the modern day. All the little house books are the stories of Laura Ingalls life. Its very interesting reading about how life was back in the 1800s. I promise you will feel greatful for all modern day luxuries, after reading this. She gives alot of amazing details of how things were done, so you even learn alot about history with these books. I love this series,and no matter if you Imagine life before cars,phones,recorded music,electricity,ect. A simpler time, before all the hustle and bustle of the modern day. All the little house books are the stories of Laura Ingalls life. Its very interesting reading about how life was back in the 1800s. I promise you will feel greatful for all modern day luxuries, after reading this. She gives alot of amazing details of how things were done, so you even learn alot about history with these books. I love this series,and no matter if your 13 or 83 these books are a great read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kellyn Roth

    I think this is my favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder book. I really like Almanzo and his horses and ... it's just an amazing book. :)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Noelle

    Ok so how could I not put my favorite LHOTP book on my bookshelf? I can't. There just ain't better readin' than a little LHOTP. Especially with a little fiddle music in the background while wearing a bonnet.

  8. 4 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    What a lovely courtship; so simple and innocent, just two young people comfortable in each other's company. Laura comes into her own making money as a teacher and surprisingly she enjoys it. I actually had a hard time reading those parts; they reminded me so much of my first years teaching-the struggle to be firm yet fun. Always at this time of the year I yearn for those days when I decorated my classroom to some fanciful theme and watched the children's faces for their reaction. Mary goes off t What a lovely courtship; so simple and innocent, just two young people comfortable in each other's company. Laura comes into her own making money as a teacher and surprisingly she enjoys it. I actually had a hard time reading those parts; they reminded me so much of my first years teaching-the struggle to be firm yet fun. Always at this time of the year I yearn for those days when I decorated my classroom to some fanciful theme and watched the children's faces for their reaction. Mary goes off to college and is quite successful. She doesn't use blindness as an excuse to give up on life. Perseverance continues to be the theme of these books. No one in the Ingalls family gets discouraged. They all realize that they make their own luck and results depend upon the work you complete. Lots of songs in this book. Music is quite beloved to this family. I started of with Big Woods knowing all of the songs. By now I'm learning all sorts of new ones. I can't get over how quickly one can read these books. Within several hours the pages just fly by. I always finish feeling so happy.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    THE SERIES ENDS HERE, I CAN'T HEAR YOU.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bitchie

    I finished up my reread of this series today. It's just comforting, to read those old childhood favorites with new eyes. My heart still skips a beat when Almanzo asks Laura if he can see her home that first time! I still get scared with Laura during her first teaching job (how awful was that Mrs Brewster?!) I chalk a lot of how good I did in certain classes in school to stories like these, and wish more kids today were still reading them. ETA 2017: I think that, in spite of this series not being I finished up my reread of this series today. It's just comforting, to read those old childhood favorites with new eyes. My heart still skips a beat when Almanzo asks Laura if he can see her home that first time! I still get scared with Laura during her first teaching job (how awful was that Mrs Brewster?!) I chalk a lot of how good I did in certain classes in school to stories like these, and wish more kids today were still reading them. ETA 2017: I think that, in spite of this series not being romance, that Almanzo Wilder is one of my top most romantic males. He's sweet and caring, and he lets Laura be Laura. He keeps fetching her from school, even after she tells him she's not interested, and then keeps on trying after the school thing is all done! And he lets Laura drive his crazy, half broken horses!

  11. 5 out of 5

    E.F.B.

    Such a sweet ending to sweet book and a sweet series. (Yes, I know there’s technically another one. I’ll list the reasons I’m skipping it, momentarily. :p ) It had all the things I’ve loved about this series: The Ingalls family, the setting, seeing how things were in that area during that historical time period, Almanzo, and a very sweet, innocent romance. The familial love and support of the Ingalls family for each other was especially wonderful. I shed a tear of happiness at Laura and Almanzo’ Such a sweet ending to sweet book and a sweet series. (Yes, I know there’s technically another one. I’ll list the reasons I’m skipping it, momentarily. :p ) It had all the things I’ve loved about this series: The Ingalls family, the setting, seeing how things were in that area during that historical time period, Almanzo, and a very sweet, innocent romance. The familial love and support of the Ingalls family for each other was especially wonderful. I shed a tear of happiness at Laura and Almanzo’s wedding, especially when Pa played all the old songs on his fiddle, and everything else, and just… gah. <3 It made me so happy. I am truly content with this being the end of the series, which is why I currently have no intention of reading the last book, “The First Four Years”. Having researched it and read a synopsis as well as the actual historical account of Laura and Almanzo’s married life, I guess I just feel like the fact that I already know what happens, the fact that it’s a bit of a downer (in spite of still having a hopeful note to it), plus the fact that it’s less polished and questionable as to whether Laura Ingalls Wilder actually intended it to be published at all (the thing I read said she abandoned it) all works together to make me not really that interested in it. Maybe someday I’ll take a look, but honestly, I feel like I already read it, figuratively speaking, and I’m just wanting to leave things on a happy note instead of being made kind of sad. So…yeah. I think I’m just going to call “These Happy Golden Years” the end. This has been such a wonderful series. On one hand, I almost wish I had discovered it when I was younger so I could have enjoyed it sooner. On the other hand, I’m happy I discovered it as an adult so I could truly appreciate the history and the deeper themes being presented. I’m sure that if I ever have kids, I’ll be reading these books to them and will revisit them myself many, many times. Content advisory for those who want to know: As the series progresses and as Laura matures, the stories matured a little with her. Parents may want to be aware of certain story elements before reading the later books to particularly young children. In this book, while Laura is teaching at the school she stays with a married couple who are very unpleasant to be around. They argue constantly and outright seem to hate each other. The wife at one point slaps her toddler’s hands for throwing a plate once. Later, Laura wakes up one night to hear the couple arguing and sees the wife threatening her husband with a butcher knife because she thought he kicked her in his sleep. It seems that something like this may have happened before because the husband doesn’t seem too afraid and simply talks his wife down until she puts the knife away. The incident scares Laura badly, but nothing like it happens again. Near the end of the book, one of Laura’s sisters reminds Laura to keep her bonnet on in the sun or she’ll turn “brown as an Indian”. This is an inside joke and a reference to their Ma telling them the very same thing when they were younger.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jen from Quebec :0)

    I always like to read THIS book after reading 'The Long Winter', even if it does not keep the correct order- this just seems like the proper continuation of where 'Winter' leaves off. I like this one because it tells the story of Laura and Almanzo's courtship, beginning when she is 15 and ending with their marriage when she is 18. As a kid, it always blew my mind that they had never ever even kissed until they were ENGAGED! Hell, I was reading this at 10 or 11, and *I* had kissed boys by then! T I always like to read THIS book after reading 'The Long Winter', even if it does not keep the correct order- this just seems like the proper continuation of where 'Winter' leaves off. I like this one because it tells the story of Laura and Almanzo's courtship, beginning when she is 15 and ending with their marriage when she is 18. As a kid, it always blew my mind that they had never ever even kissed until they were ENGAGED! Hell, I was reading this at 10 or 11, and *I* had kissed boys by then! This is a more 'grown up' book compared to some of the others, dealing with finances, laws of settler's claims and things such as that. I always loved that Laura became a teacher (I had always wanted to be a teacher, and so I am) but she taught at the age of 15!! Crazy. It is a great read, and a great continuation of the series. I like it 3rd best overall, I would say, of the original 9 books. --Jen from Quebec :0)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Trish at Between My Lines

    Such a lovely happy book. I felt quite emotional finishing it. Especially knowing sorrows that lay ahead. I loved that Laura appreciated her happy moments at this time in her life though, and knew that they really were happy golden years.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    *Some possible spoilers... of course, if you looked at the cover of the book, you're probably already aware of where this is going. Eleanor: I know what my favorite part is already: WHEN LAURA GOT MARRIED!!! I want to give it FIVE STARS!!! You know why it's amazing? Because how can a piece of wedding cake taste like sawdust in your mouth? Dad: Why do you think Laura thought it tasted like sawdust? El: Because she's leaving home forever. Dad: But why would that make it taste like sawdust? El: Well, in *Some possible spoilers... of course, if you looked at the cover of the book, you're probably already aware of where this is going. Eleanor: I know what my favorite part is already: WHEN LAURA GOT MARRIED!!! I want to give it FIVE STARS!!! You know why it's amazing? Because how can a piece of wedding cake taste like sawdust in your mouth? Dad: Why do you think Laura thought it tasted like sawdust? El: Because she's leaving home forever. Dad: But why would that make it taste like sawdust? El: Well, in the book... it said, usually mom's cake tastes good, but Laura said the cake tasted like sawdust in her mouth. So she couldn't enjoy the cake, because she had to leave. ...Talking about wedding cake makes me hungry for cake... I guess I'm going to have to wait until after dinner to get some banana bread. Dad: Do you think the banana bread mom made is going to taste like sawdust? El: NOOOOOooooo! I'm not going to leave home and not come back for keeps. You're silly daddy. ...Mom said not to make the review really silly. I guess I'll have to explain to her that dad made the review silly. Dad: I guess you will. Will it taste like sawdust when you're getting married and leaving home for keeps? El: I don't think so. I guess I'll have to find out when I get married. Dad: What'd you think about the Brewsters? El: They're MEEEaaaaaannnnn. Dad: No kidding. I'm glad I didn't have to live with them. El: I'm glad I didn't either. I'm glad I live with a mom who's a good cook! I can taste her cake already. Dad: What did you think about Laura's school? El: It was cool that she earned $27! Dad: What's one thing you learned from this book? About life, or about yourself, or about anything? El: I learned that sometimes in life you meet mean people. Dad: Anything else? El: You should love them anyway - like Laura loved Mrs. and Mr. Brewster. Dad: Ok. Was Laura ever mean? El: ...Uhhhh... I don't think so... Dad: I think she was a couple of times. El: When was she mean, daddy? She wasn't mean to Almanzo, that's for sure. Eh! And you know what my next favorite part was? When Nellie was afraid of horses. Dad: So, you remember a part about Laura being mean then, huh? El: Actually, I think it was Nellie that was being mean. Laura held her tongue, and Nellie's tongue was going flippity-flop. And Almanzo was Laura's friend, and Nellie was taking him away from her. Dad: You make some good points. I'm not saying Nellie wasn't mean. I just think it was a little bit mean (but still kind of funny) for Laura to spook the horses when she knew Nellie was afraid of them. El: It was kind of funny. ...Laura's a funny girl.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I love the Little House series. Saying this book wasn't my favorite is like ranking the Harry Potter books. Even a four star here is more beloved than most other novels. That said, this book had a bit too much Mrs Brewster (sad and scary!) and too many buggy rides (redundant) for me to really relish it like I did the others. That said I think Laura does a masterful job conveying the joys and pangs of growing up and moving on from the nest. And I love what Almanzo had to say about not wanting a w I love the Little House series. Saying this book wasn't my favorite is like ranking the Harry Potter books. Even a four star here is more beloved than most other novels. That said, this book had a bit too much Mrs Brewster (sad and scary!) and too many buggy rides (redundant) for me to really relish it like I did the others. That said I think Laura does a masterful job conveying the joys and pangs of growing up and moving on from the nest. And I love what Almanzo had to say about not wanting a wife who just obeys him ;-)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This is so bittersweet. Laura's parents saying goodbye and watching their children leave them might be the defining emotional moments of this series for me. The last few pages have always hit me harder than I expected, and not even Almanzo's painstaking shelves and drawers quite take the sting out of that. And then there's that earlier moment with Mrs. Brewster and the knife, and really appreciating home just before leaving it. That's always quite something. I skimmed the next book, and it's jus This is so bittersweet. Laura's parents saying goodbye and watching their children leave them might be the defining emotional moments of this series for me. The last few pages have always hit me harder than I expected, and not even Almanzo's painstaking shelves and drawers quite take the sting out of that. And then there's that earlier moment with Mrs. Brewster and the knife, and really appreciating home just before leaving it. That's always quite something. I skimmed the next book, and it's just the disaster I remember (though I'd forgotten about the Boasts - ouch) so like Jess, I'll pretend the series ends here. Even though I think it's a darker place to end than the previous books; even if I think "these happy golden years" are more ominous than anything else. I'm glad they're happy - I hope they're happy - and wow, they lived really difficult lives. I should end on a positive note, I suppose, even if this book doesn't leave me feeling all that positive: Almanzo is so great in these books that they almost read like a love letter to him. It's so, so sweet.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Siobhan

    This book was the first of the Little House books that I read. The last shall be first. I liked it, and all the Little House books (my favorites are Little Town on the Prairie and The Long Winter). While I have to say that I enjoyed them as a child, that's nothing to what I thought of them when I reread them as an adult. As a child, I loved the innocence of Laura's existence and her rebellious nature. Now, what comes through much more strongly is the constant danger that the Ingalls Family lived This book was the first of the Little House books that I read. The last shall be first. I liked it, and all the Little House books (my favorites are Little Town on the Prairie and The Long Winter). While I have to say that I enjoyed them as a child, that's nothing to what I thought of them when I reread them as an adult. As a child, I loved the innocence of Laura's existence and her rebellious nature. Now, what comes through much more strongly is the constant danger that the Ingalls Family lived with. Living through a brutal South Dakota winter with no central heat, in a house made of flimsy boards? Um, no thank you. I am not now, nor have I ever been, particularly wild about Laura's style of writing (or Rose's, if you will, but more about that later). However, what Laura conveys very well is the hard work that went into western settlement, the difficulties that were part and parcel of that effort, and the confident attitude that made it all possible. Reading these books also reveals that human nature never changes. Laura, despite what we would now see as poverty, wanted always to look good and the books devote much attention to buying material, designing clothes and making them. And her feelings for Nellie Oleson? Well, don't we all want to be popular and resent people who lord their wealth over us? She also has a great ability to evoke mind-numbing cold, as happens a few times in These Happy Golden Years and on just about ever page of The Long Winter. A few years ago, while on vacation, I stayed overnight in DeSmet. For anyone who has an interest in the Little House books, this is a great experience. I came away feeling that I had gotten to know the Ingalls family in a way I wouldn't have otherwise. Reading these books as a child, and knowing they were based on actual events, was a wonderful experience. Going to DeSmet as an adult helped put flesh on the bones of people whose lives jump off the pages of Laura's books.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Empress5150

    By far my favorite of the series! Laura embarks in her profession of teacher (at the ripe old age of 16). She experiences life away from home (and is fairly miserable but keeps a stiff upper lip) and learns how to deal with unruly students. She relishes in her weekends home and begins to appreciate Almanzo Wilder (who drives her home every weekend, even in terrible weather conditions). Throughout the book (and after Laura has moved back home for closer teaching positions), their romance blooms. By far my favorite of the series! Laura embarks in her profession of teacher (at the ripe old age of 16). She experiences life away from home (and is fairly miserable but keeps a stiff upper lip) and learns how to deal with unruly students. She relishes in her weekends home and begins to appreciate Almanzo Wilder (who drives her home every weekend, even in terrible weather conditions). Throughout the book (and after Laura has moved back home for closer teaching positions), their romance blooms. Since this is a children's book, there is obviously nothing torrid about it, but, it's no less thrilling when he finally gets around to proposing. Laura's other friends are also getting engaged/married; Mary is doing well at college, Laura's little sisters are fascinated by the grown up Laura, and Pa and Ma remain the calm, serene and loving influences that they've always been. At the end of the book, Laura moves with husband Almanzo to their own claim. The last few pages describing her entering her new house (he'd kept it a surprise) and exploring are my favorites.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Aranda

    I was so excited when I got to read about Almanzo and Laura being able to date and get engaged. I have never forgotten my first time reading this book as it was the first time I wanted to marry and hold out for the man of my dreams like Laura did. I'm lucky in the fact that I got my wish.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Strap in, folks. This might be a long one, since it's my favorite book in the series. We begin our story once again in the cold winter of the Dakota Territories. Laura has received her teaching certificate and begins teaching school to keep Mary in college. She dreads teaching, she doesn't want to leave home, but she pulls herself up by her bootstraps and puts on a brave face. The school is 12 long, cold miles from home. She's staying with the school board president's family, run by his awful wif Strap in, folks. This might be a long one, since it's my favorite book in the series. We begin our story once again in the cold winter of the Dakota Territories. Laura has received her teaching certificate and begins teaching school to keep Mary in college. She dreads teaching, she doesn't want to leave home, but she pulls herself up by her bootstraps and puts on a brave face. The school is 12 long, cold miles from home. She's staying with the school board president's family, run by his awful wife who hates it out West. It's a long two months in the freezing cold, and the only way she stays sane is because of the wonderful Almanzo Wilder. He drives out there, regardless of the weather, and brings her home to her family. Every. Single. Weekend. Through blizzards and awkward conversations. Almanzo must have really loved her, because she is ridiculous sometimes and tells him she won't ride with him after she is back home. What? Girl, you are crazy. But he's the best, and continues to make sure she gets home safely. I have a real thing for strapping young farm boys who are good with horses and very kind and brave. Almanzo is my jam. And then she is home, and she conveniently forgets that she wasn't going to go around with him anymore. Apparently strapping young farm boys are her jam, too. Laura, no judgment. He's rad. And he apparently gets you, big time. Secret Christmas gifts, buggy rides, and appears to be a strong partner in crime. You get to drive the horses and race across the prairie together. You break wild horses and go to singing school together. And at the end, a sweet proposal and a kiss, leading to a quick marriage. Well, I say quick, but he courted her for three patient years, so nothing quick about that, folks. I mean, she was eighteen when they got hitched. And he builds her a kick-ass pantry so you know he loves her. I'm 99% sure my husband is Almanzo Wilder reincarnated, and this book directly shaped the kind of man I am find attractive. 5 stars. Love this series!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Boy a lot of things happen in this slim volume. If there's anything worth noting about reading this series as a whole as an adult, it's that pacing is a real detail here. We get a whole book about a single long winter and then books like this one where Laura goes from 15 and starting as a teacher to 18 and married with her own home...in fewer pages. Takeaways from book eight: Laura hates teaching, Laura wants to get married sooner so she can stop teaching, Pa really likes taking Laura's money fo Boy a lot of things happen in this slim volume. If there's anything worth noting about reading this series as a whole as an adult, it's that pacing is a real detail here. We get a whole book about a single long winter and then books like this one where Laura goes from 15 and starting as a teacher to 18 and married with her own home...in fewer pages. Takeaways from book eight: Laura hates teaching, Laura wants to get married sooner so she can stop teaching, Pa really likes taking Laura's money for things he doesn't need, and Laura doesn't want to have to have a traditional wedding. She gets married in black cashmere at home and won't say the "obey" part of the vows. But she doesn't believe in women's rights or needing the vote. That was laid clear.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    No matter how many times I re-read this book I never get tired of it, and I'm constantly finding new things in it! This has got to be the best book in the whole of the 'Little House' series! It's absolutely wonderful. Five stars just doesn't seem to be enough for it!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Lavanchy

    Although I have read this book many times, I chose it to be the last book I read in 2018. I love all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books but this one is my choice because she really conveys how it felt to come into adulthood and the next phase and all the fear that accompanies change. Since I’m hoping 2019 will be a year for change, this seemed appropriate. ❤ Although I have read this book many times, I chose it to be the last book I read in 2018. I love all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books but this one is my choice because she really conveys how it felt to come into adulthood and the next phase and all the fear that accompanies change. Since I’m hoping 2019 will be a year for change, this seemed appropriate. ❤️

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sally906

    I love this series - have read it so many times and I always get swept up in the story.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. SO MUCH happens in this book! And I loved it all. After spending eight books with this family, I feel like I really know them. It's so great to see how Mary gained such confidence and ability from going to college, Carrie is such a dear, and Laura…Laura fascinates me! I love her shyness and her spirit of adventure; I admire her strength (how on earth did she endure the Brewsters!) and honesty. She doesn’t let any one walk over her, but she’s every inch a lady. Almanzo and Laura's courtship is so SO MUCH happens in this book! And I loved it all. After spending eight books with this family, I feel like I really know them. It's so great to see how Mary gained such confidence and ability from going to college, Carrie is such a dear, and Laura…Laura fascinates me! I love her shyness and her spirit of adventure; I admire her strength (how on earth did she endure the Brewsters!) and honesty. She doesn’t let any one walk over her, but she’s every inch a lady. Almanzo and Laura's courtship is so lovely. LIW writes with a lot of restraint, but there is so much between the lines! In many ways, it makes the story that much more captivating. I pretty much love everything about their story--how Laura doesn't know how to make conversation at first, how Almanzo continues to come for her even if there's nothing in it for him (persistence!), how they tame Barnum and Skip, the buggy rides out to the lake, Laura's songs…*sigh* He really respects her and she respects him. They are upfront and honest and genuine with each other. It's all so entirely sweet and subtle. And…I think I'm getting a little sappy here (I just love this story that much!). As a side note, I always wonder what it is about Laura that initially attracted Almanzo to her. Perhaps because she was always described as being “as strong as a little French horse”…and we all know Almanzo loves horses! :) That part with Nellie is absolutely hilarious. I was laughing out loud—that’s just “utterly too-too!” I can't help feeling a teeny bit sorry for Nellie, but I do love how Laura handles the situation. ;) Laura's descriptions of all the dresses are so fun to read. They sound so pretty (and uncomfortable, but I suppose they got used to it). My favorite is the pink lawn; I think I want one exactly like it...and a poke bonnet, of course. Also, I think we can credit Ma with being the original creator of the LBD (Little Black Dress), right? After all, she insists to Laura that every woman should have one nice black dress (in this case it might be more of a Long Black Dress, though). I’m not sure how I feel about Laura asking that the "obey" to be omitted from their marriage vows. Part of me really likes it—she knew it was a promise she couldn’t keep and that her reason and conscience should always guide her. I also like how Almanzo realizes they are partners and that he loves her for the independent person she is. However, I don’t know… “tradition” and all that, I guess? I do love how Laura doesn’t want to agree to a vow that she can’t keep. It shows honesty and integrity, I think. Plus, the whole "obey" phrase in that context is commonly misunderstood. It’s just confusing and it does make it sound like the man is to be lord and master over his submissive wife, or something. Eh. I am interested in why Rev. Brown opposes it being used…? He doesn't exactly seem like the 'type.' Oh, I just love Laura and this series! It's bittersweet to see everyone grow up, and it just leaves me wanting more. Will someone publish Pioneer Girl already? {Listened on audio book narrated by Cherry Jones.}

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mymymble

    So great. It even has a Mrs Rochester scene.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    These Happy Golden Years is the last "real" book in the Little House series. There is another, much shorter, book afterward (The First Four Years) that was published from Laura Ingalls Wilder's notes and outlines, but this is the last she wrote. It ranks a very close second in my most favorite books ever. It's interesting that my favorite two books are the first and the last in the series. In the first, Laura is a child. 6 or 7 years old. In the last, she's a "grown up," around 18 years old. Ther These Happy Golden Years is the last "real" book in the Little House series. There is another, much shorter, book afterward (The First Four Years) that was published from Laura Ingalls Wilder's notes and outlines, but this is the last she wrote. It ranks a very close second in my most favorite books ever. It's interesting that my favorite two books are the first and the last in the series. In the first, Laura is a child. 6 or 7 years old. In the last, she's a "grown up," around 18 years old. There is quite a difference in the girl Laura and the woman Laura, and part of what I like about the book is looking back on how she used to be and comparing what she is in this book. I suppose that's what parents probably feel, but, whatever. This is also the book where Laura falls in love, and probably why I love it so much. Almanzo is such a gentleman to her, and I love that this plain, brunette, stocky girl isn't destined to be a spinster (again,identification!) She may not be rich, or know how to flirt, or really even acknowledge their courtship, but Almanzo (who comes across to me as handsome and COOL) is still in love with her, and still asks her to marry him. Gah. As a 9 year old girl, this was the height of romance. The sleigh rides, and buggy rides, and Almanzo slipping her ring on her finger (not a diamond, since this is pre- Victorian engagement) during a buggy ride, and then the combs at christmas and showing up Christmas Eve! Gah! Old fashioned romance, I'm telling you. I prefer to pretend their story ends at the end of These Happy Golden Years. I've since learned about the hardships Laura and Almanzo faced in their life together, and it really depresses me. They did not have an easy life. But if I pretend that this is the end, it's such a hopeful story. The wedding is over, they go back to their very own Little House that Almanzo built by himself, with a sheepdog, and the horses that started the whole courtship pulling the buggy. They have left over wedding food, and wedding cake, and sit on the front porch watching the twilight. Magic. Anything could happen.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cari

    And finally in the course of my rereading the entire series, I come to my very favorite! *bounces about and giggles* Yes, I'm damn near 30 years old and These Happy Golden Years still makes me bounce and giggle and grin and flail like the wee lass I once was, it just makes me happy inside and I can't help smiling. The story where Laura really grows up and eventually leaves the nest, the story of Almanzo and Laura's courtship that forever ruined me when it comes to real life romantic relationship And finally in the course of my rereading the entire series, I come to my very favorite! *bounces about and giggles* Yes, I'm damn near 30 years old and These Happy Golden Years still makes me bounce and giggle and grin and flail like the wee lass I once was, it just makes me happy inside and I can't help smiling. The story where Laura really grows up and eventually leaves the nest, the story of Almanzo and Laura's courtship that forever ruined me when it comes to real life romantic relationships (no young man has ever taken me out on a buggy ride! Not even a sleigh ride!), and the story that really wraps everything up. (Because depending on who you ask, The First Four Years doesn't "count" as a proper part of the series. I don't have an opinion one way or another, although I don't plan on rereading that one myself.) I just...I just love this so much I could burst. I think I actually like it even better as an adult than I did when I first read These Happy Golden Years as a kid. <3

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

    Secretly, I'm jealous of the simplicity of the times. Buggy rides, just getting married & setting up house without a big charade, the sunsets and the sights of the rolling hills... I didn't think this book was as exciting as a child. Laura was older and growing up. I didn't understand it. But now I'm in the same time of life, it seems, as Laura is in this book and I enjoy her stories. Maybe my life has stories too.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    This is my favorite Little House book. I think that pretty much says it all.

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