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These Happy Golden Years

(Little House #8)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  60,516 ratings  ·  1,195 reviews
For the first time in the history of the Little House books, this new edition features Garth Williams’ interior art in vibrant full color.

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
Paperback, Full Color Collector's Edition, 289 pages
Published May 11th 2004 by HarperCollins (first published 1943)
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Majenta Clarence Brewster, nephew of the couple Laura boards with while teaching at the school. Not the same troublemaking Clarence from LITTLE TOWN ON THE…moreClarence Brewster, nephew of the couple Laura boards with while teaching at the school. Not the same troublemaking Clarence from LITTLE TOWN ON THE PRAIRIE, who stirred things up for teacher Miss Eliza Jane Wilder.(less)
Kate Fitzgerald The author of these books is sadly no longer with us. She will always be known for her great literature and the hard yet wonderful life she shared…moreThe author of these books is sadly no longer with us. She will always be known for her great literature and the hard yet wonderful life she shared with the world.(less)
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4.19  · 
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 ·  60,516 ratings  ·  1,195 reviews

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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

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
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery, 2016, historical, ya
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.
Miranda Reads
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
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
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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. :)
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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’ ...more
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 ...more
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.
*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
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-history
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
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
Mar 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rachel Aranda
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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 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
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!
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. ❤ ...more
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this series - have read it so many times and I always get swept up in the story.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So great. It even has a Mrs Rochester scene.
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
Mar 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favoritefiction
This is my favorite Little House book. I think that pretty much says it all.
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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.

Other books in the series

Little House (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, #1)
  • Little House on the Prairie (Laura Years, #2)
  • Farmer Boy (Little House, #3)
  • On the Banks of Plum Creek  (Little House, #4)
  • By the Shores of Silver Lake  (Little House, #5)
  • The Long Winter (Little House, #6)
  • Little Town on the Prairie  (Little House, #7)
  • The First Four Years  (Little House, #9)
  • On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894  (Little House #10)
  • West from Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915  (Little House #11)
“These happy golden years are passing by, these happy golden years.” 27 likes
“God hates a coward."
I don't actually believe this is true. But it's something to aim for.”
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