It has been such a joy reading this series of books as an adult. They are a reminder of simpler times both in my life and in the world.
By the Shores of Silver Lake was especially interesting because I had to remember that Charles Ingalls was not Michael Landon. Stay with me for a few minutes and I will explain. The Little House TV series is one of my mom’s favorites so I was always familiar with it. And, let’s just be honest, she had quite a crush on Mr. Landon. Because of his portrayal of this character, we have in many ways romanticized the ‘real’ Charles. And while he seems to have been a good man, he most definitely had faults.
One of my status updates while reading said “Charles had ants in his pants” and that sums up one of his biggest faults. The family is once again forced to move. According to him, too many people have settled near Plum Creek so when he’s offered a short term job in DeSmet / Silver Lake, he convinces Carolyn that it’s the right thing to do. They leave their nice home (where apparently they never had a good wheat crop and never made ends meet). The government is allowing people to claim land and if the fulfill the requirements (building, farming, etc.) then they will own said land.
Things go okay at first and the Ingalls do get some lucky breaks. Charles was slow to make his claim and almost lost their spot but an old friend helps him out. I guess all is well that ends well (for now) and Charles making the big decisions is a sign of those times. But, it was hard for me to read that Carolyn basically gives up everything she wants over and over so that Charles can chase this elusive dream of his.
One good thing – Laura finally sets eyes on her future husband, Almanzo Wilder, who is also in DeSmet to make a claim. It’s too bad that she seems more interested in his beautiful horses than him. (Actually, I love that.)