These Happy Golden Years (Little House #8)
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These Happy Golden Years (Little House #8)

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  32,040 ratings  ·  601 reviews
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...more
Hardcover, 289 pages
Published October 14th 1953 by Harper & Row, Publishers (first published 1943)
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Community Reviews

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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.
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...more
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...more
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...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Laura just wasn't as interesting to me once she grew up. Maybe if I'd have read it when I was a teen or young woman, rather than as a little girl, I'd've empathized more? Did any of you, who enjoyed the series, get much out of this one?

ETA: Otoh, West from Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915 and On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894 are now considered part of the series. I just read them last year and did enjoy them. I'm not...more
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....more
Siobhan
Mar 20, 2008 Siobhan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Particularly for girls and women
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...more
Chris
A nice, solid ending (essentially...'The First Four Years' has a lot of mystery in its origins, and whether it's valid as a completion of the Little House series) to a lovely series. At this point, a lot of people's enthusiasm starts to wane as relentless westward migration gives way to sleigh rides in town and Literaries. It's a natural part of the story, but certainly not as exciting as amok cows or Indian war dances or amok horses. The Literaries, however, offer a lot of head-scratching momen...more
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...more
Amy
The title of this book is fitting. This one is richly filled with romance and excitement. I'm glad my girls got to hear what a good courting experience is while they're young. I don't want to lecture them about proper dating when they're older so I love reading wholesome examples of what love really should be.
Jess
Feb 04, 2009 Jess rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who read it as a kid...
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tracy
I finished this book with a lump in my throat, feeling sad for the end of Laura's childhood as well as the end of my own. I find it impossible to critique these books objectively because they are part of my childhood; I'm too close to them. So, I give them all 5 stars (except Farmer Boy, because I don't have the nostalgia factor with that one and can be a bit more objective).

These Happy Golden Years starts immediately where Little Town on the Prairie ends. Fifteen-year-old Laura has a job as a s...more
Sara
Laura's now almost an adult, 18 years old when the book concludes. She's got her teaching certificate and teaches 3 terms of school throughout this book, attending school herself on breaks between teaching terms. On weekends, Almanzo Wilder takes her for rides in his buggy, and she soon becomes engaged to him.

The developing friendship between Laura and Almanzo was sweet, even though they didn't share a lot of conversation. They were both quieter, and he seemed to be okay even when she spoke her...more
Nina
This was the first series I ever remember really getting into. I was like, seven, and I thought that living in a cabin in the woods was the most exciting thing EVER. Most little girls played "House" or "Restaurant." My sister and I somehow merged the two into "Pioneer," only "Pioneer" had a healthy dash of imminent disaster, be it in the form of wildfire, panther, snowstorm, tornado, or general illness and famine. One of us had to play Laura and the other had to play Mary. We tried to be fair in...more
Audrey
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ruth
This is the book wherein we read of Laura and Almanzo and their growing romance. Almanzo drives Laura back and forth (12 miles each way) to a 2-month school in a small settlement, and Laura is miserable in the position of teacher and boarder at the home of a seriously mentally-unstable woman. Second only to the discomfort of that situation is the fact that she's uncomfortable with the idea that perhaps the whispers of her students are true and that Almanzo really IS trying to be Laura's "beau."...more
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...more
Richard Ward
The final Little House book published in Laura Ingalls Wilder's lifetime, it serves as a great ending to the series, even though more material has been published since her death. Like any good book, this one leaves you wanting more. I am an adult man and I enjoyed this book immensely, even though it felt to me like it was written specifically for girls. None of the earlier books gave me that kind of impression. This is not a flaw in the book, just part of its personality. It is both a wonderful...more
sabisteb
De Smet, South Dakota 1882 (- 1885). Weihnachten ist vorbei und Laura tritt mit ihrer frisch erworbenen Lehrerlaubnis ihre erste Stelle als Lehrerin in einer 12 Meilen entfernten kleinen Siedlung an. Gestern noch ein Schulmädchen, jetzt Lehrerin für zwei Monate. Laura kann es selber kaum glauben, dass sie morgen nicht mit ihrer Schwester zur Schule gehen wird, zumal sie es hasst zu unterrichten und nicht wirklich weiß, wie sie es anfangen soll. Sie hatte noch nie unterrichtet, und sie ist gerade...more
Alicia
My mum read these books as she was growing up, and encouraged me to do so. This is a classic book written before 1950, the last in the "Little House" series. I don't read classical fiction because while the plot is somewhat fascinating, I find that that isn't enough to keep me interested. I prefer modern books because they are written to please this generation of readers. Reading about Laura's travels is interesting, however the language structure of the novel is very simplified. I later found o...more
Matthew Hunter
Laura's all grown up! Well, she's 16 or so. By the end of the book and her wedding to Almanzo, she's 18 and a whole heck of a lot more mature than I was at her age. I didn't possess the self-confidence to stand in front of others and teach or speak until I was in my early 30s. I'm impressed with her!

I've heard that Rose - Laura's daughter and queen of the American Libertarian movement - played a significant role in transforming Laura's journals into the historical fiction accounts of her pioneer...more
Melody
A lovely warm fuzzy end to the series. (Yeah, I know there are more now, but this feels like the ride-off-into-the-sunset book- The First Four Years (Little House, #9) has always struck me as coda.)

Deliciously scary buggy rides. Buttoned-up romance. The huge cultural divide from them to me is easier and more interesting to explore in this book because there is little overtly obnoxious (no minstrel shows, no harsh comments from Ma) and much that has changed completely. There's a lot of preaching,...more
Jrobertus
I loved this book. In it Laura teaches school, while still in school. Initially she teaches in a small school several hours from home, and is boarded with the Brewsters. Mrs. Brewster resents her and is also going prarie crazy, ala "Giants in the Earth". All the time, Almonzo Wilder attends to her, driving her through snow and cold on weekends as she teaches. It is lear he loves her, but she is very standoffish; still she can't stand to see Nellie Oleson flirt with him. Almonzo perservers and ev...more
Michelle
Oh, Almanzo. And Laura, you lucky girl.

This and the first Little House book are probably tied for being my favorites.

I loved seeing Laura grown-up--taking a few teaching jobs, working various jobs in between, giving her earnings to her parents for Mary's college tuition (sometimes I felt like, Laura, we GET IT, you're a good daughter, the BEST daughter). But what I really loved was seeing Almanzo courting Laura--being ever the gentleman as he drove her home every weekend from her teaching job (...more
Robert
Wow-wee. I haven't read this much about dress patterns and sewing styles since that horrible day in my grandmothers bathroom after some bad lunch meat. While reading this aloud to the kids on the car I couldn't help but continually lapse into a Swedish Chef voice for Pa, An antebellum southern mistress for Ma, An earnest lisp-y twit for Laura and Lenny impression for her sisters (Tell us about the rabbits, George) to keep it the least bit interesting.

On a side note, Laura Ingalls Wilder is a fi...more
Victoria
I'm a sap for romantic stories. I really loved this book as it told of Laura's time teaching school terms and spending time with Almanzo. I love that they went riding all the time together. They would ride for 40-60 miles in a night which means a long time of talking together, so that is sweet to me. It's as if they dated without even talking about it for three years. It was really also nice to see how hard working Laura was, willing to do things for others instead of herself. It is a quality yo...more
Maria
To read about a courtship that is not filled with grabbing and groping and more is refreshing. Laura and Almanzo get to know each other slowly over a three-year period, which has a lot to do with the difficulty of the distances involved but also with the times they lived in. We have lost something important with the advent of birth control, but if what Ma says about there being no loss without some gain is true, then perhaps the inverse is also true - that there is no gain without some loss.
Sally
This legit made me go "awww" by the end... I love watching Almanzo's slow courtship of Laura :) all the rides in the cutter and the sleigh and the buggy and it all just HAPPENS without her really realising!

How bleak some of the rest of this was though. Going off to teach the Brewster school and being stuck in the house with horrid Mrs. Brewster, ugh! And Laura herself so young too, teaching kids who are older than she is and then going back to school herself the next term!
Christy
This is my favorite book of the series. I loved it for all the same reasons I loved Little Town on the Prarie. Laura's love and service for her sister was moving. I was highly dissapointed in the total lack of emotion in Laura and Almonzo's courtship. Definitely no Jane Austin, romance could only be supposed. Larua gave no clue to her feelings except that she thoroughly enjoyed and looked forward to the buggy and sleigh rides. Good story, nonetheless.
Bitchie (M/M addict)
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.
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Mary 6 118 Apr 30, 2014 02:22PM  
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Ingalls wrote a series of historical fiction books for children based on her childhood growing up in a pioneer family. She also wrote a regular newspaper column and kept a diary as an adult moving from South Dakota to Missouri, the latter of which has been published as a book.
More about Laura Ingalls Wilder...
Little House on the Prairie (Little House, #2) The Little House Collection (Little House, #1-9) Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, #1) On the Banks of Plum Creek  (Little House, #4) Little Town on the Prairie  (Little House, #7)

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“These happy golden years are passing by, these happy golden years.” 12 likes
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