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A Wilder Rose

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In 1928, Rose Wilder Lane—world traveler, journalist, much-published magazine writer—returned from an Albanian sojourn to her parents’ Ozark farm. Almanzo Wilder was 71, Laura 61, and Rose felt obligated to stay and help. To make life easier, she built them a new home, while she and Helen Boylston transformed the farmhouse into a rural writing retreat and filled it with visiting New Yorkers. Rose sold magazine stories to pay the bills for both households, and despite the subterranean tension between mother and daughter, life seemed good.

Then came the Crash. Rose’s money vanished, the magazine market dried up, and the Depression darkened the nation. That’s when Laura wrote her autobiography, “Pioneer Girl,” the story of growing up in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, on the Kansas prairie, and by the shores of Silver Lake. The rest—the eight remarkable books that followed—is literary history.

But it isn’t the history we thought we knew. For the surprising truth is that Laura’s stories were publishable only with Rose’s expert rewriting. Based on Rose’s unpublished diaries and Laura’s letters, A Wilder Rose tells the true story of the decade-long, intensive, and often troubled collaboration that produced the Little House books—the collaboration that Rose and Laura deliberately hid from their agent, editors, reviewers, and readers.

Why did the two women conceal their writing partnership? What made them commit what amounts to one of the longest-running deceptions in American literature? And what happened in those years to change Rose from a left-leaning liberal to a passionate Libertarian?

In this impeccably researched novel and with a deep insight into the book-writing business gained from her own experience as an author and coauthor, Susan Wittig Albert follows the clues that take us straight to the heart of this fascinating literary mystery.

288 pages, Paperback

First published August 28, 2013

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About the author

Susan Wittig Albert

87 books2,196 followers
Susan is the author/co-author of biographical/historical fiction, mysteries, and nonfiction. Now in her 80s and continuing to write, she says that retirement is not (yet) an option. She publishes under her own imprint. Here are her latest books.

A PLAIN VANILLA MURDER, #27 in the long-running China Bayles/Pecan Springs series.

Two Pecan Springs novella trilogies: The Crystal Cave Trilogy (featuring Ruby Wilcox): noBODY, SomeBODY Else, and Out of BODY; and The Enterprise Trilogy (featuring Jessica Nelson): DEADLINES, FAULTLINES, and FIRELINES.

THE DARLING DAHLIAS AND THE POINSETTIA PUZZLE #8 in the Darling Dahlias series, set in the early 1930s in fictional Darling AL

THE GENERAL'S WOMEN. Kay, Mamie, and Ike--the wartime romance that won a war but could have derailed a presidency.

LOVING ELEANOR: A novel about the intimate 30-year friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok, based on their letters

A WILDER ROSE: the true story of Rose Wilder Lane, who transformed her mother from a farm wife and occasional writer to a literary icon

THE TALE OF CASTLE COTTAGE, #8 in the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter

DEATH ON THE LIZARD, the 12th and last (2006) of the Robin Paige series, by Susan and Bill Albert

TOGETHER, ALONE: A MEMOIR OF MARRIAGE AND PLACE

AN EXTRAORDINARY YEAR OF ORDINARY DAYS

WORK OF HER OWN: A WOMAN'S GUIDE TO RIGHT LIVELIHOOD

WRITING FROM LIFE: TELLING YOUR SOUL'S STORY

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