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These Happy Golden Years

(Little House #8)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  69,226 ratings  ·  1,444 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 (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 PR…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)
Ellie Laura taught in three different schools, but not all of them were as developed as in her first school.

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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  69,226 ratings  ·  1,444 reviews

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Nov 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile
Another lovely continuation of Laura's life. I was so happy for her and Almanzo, even though I thought the courting stage was much more frigid back then, but it was a different world back then! I can't wait to see how they grow together in age and love. ...more

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
Shelves: 2016, newbery, 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.
Dave Schaafsma
These Happy Golden Years is book eight of the autobiographical series of novels, and we know from the first that Laura Ingalls will become Laura Ingalls Wilder so we are just waiting for that ring to appear, since we first met him a few books ago. This book spans the years from when Laura is not yet 16 and works in the Brewster School until the time she is married at 18.

“He isn’t that Wilder boy any more, Mary. He is Almanzo. . . I guess it’s because we just seem to belong together.”

This is, as
Miranda Reads
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
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. :) ...more
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Because I sometimes and even rather often have the tendency to not really care too much for so-called and specifically courting stories, I did originally approach Laura Ingalls Wilder’s 1944 Newbery Honour winning These Happy Golden Years (being the eighth of the Little House on the Prairie novels and which I never read during my childhood, which I actually only read for the first time just recently) with a bit of personal trepidation (as I was of course more than a trifle worried that I would f ...more
BAM Endlessly Booked
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
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Katie Ziegler (Life Between Words)
I think this might be my favorite in the series. The romance between Almanzo and Laura was so sweet! And I loved following Laura as she trained to be a teacher. Also, my heart pounded a little faster in the scene where the wife in the couple who she boards with is standing over her husband in the middle of the night with a kitchen knife. EEEESH!
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
*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
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
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
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.
Mar 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it
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
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This may be my favorite Little House book, because it's such a beautiful little romance. Laura goes off to teach school but must board with an awful family. As her first week passes, her heart sinks at the thought of spending the weekend in that cramped, cold cabin with the angry and abusive housewife. And then she hears sleigh bells. Almonzo Wilder has come to take her home for the weekend -- and he does, every week, for the entire term, even in the midst of record-breaking cold spells.

It's a
Reread from childhood. A great, stress-free read which is exactly what I needed. This is the most romance heavy of the series. It's all about Laura and Almanzo's relationship. ...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. ...more
Mar 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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
Lila Diller
This is probably my favorite of the Little House books, simply because I'm a hopeless romantic. ;) It's both a coming of age and a historical romance.

Favorite quotes:
“She had not known before that it takes two to make a smile.”

“Maybe everything comes out all right, if you keep on trying. Anyway, you have to keep on trying; nothing will come out right if you don't.”

“She had heard that said, [sic] but had not realized what it meant. A bump on the log does not fight anyone, but it cannot be budged
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! ...more
This book is just exactly what I needed. As the world has kind of spiraled into chaos, I’ve found myself unable to concentrate on anything, though I knew that sinking into a story would give my mind a much-needed reprieve from the news and the fear it brings with it. Fantasy world building was too different to feel at all believable for my current mood, and contemporary fiction didn’t provide enough of an escape. I finally decided that what I needed was something historical, something firmly lod ...more
Kelsey Bryant
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Another of my favorites out of the series! The best aspect, in my opinion, is the understated development of Laura and Almanzo's romance. ...more
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See similar books…
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 (9 books)
  • Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, #1)
  • Farmer Boy (Little House, #2)
  • Little House on the Prairie (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)

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