Read Free Land by Rose Wilder Lane Online

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In the 1880s, when adventure lay in the conquest of the prairies, David Beaton and his bride came to Dakota to claim three hundred acres of grassland. Rose Wilder Lane tells of their struggle to survive with such force that Free Land has become a classic frontier novel. The young couple experience cyclones, droughts, and blizzards that isolate them for days in their sod shIn the 1880s, when adventure lay in the conquest of the prairies, David Beaton and his bride came to Dakota to claim three hundred acres of grassland. Rose Wilder Lane tells of their struggle to survive with such force that Free Land has become a classic frontier novel. The young couple experience cyclones, droughts, and blizzards that isolate them for days in their sod shanty and endanger their livestock. The simple pleasures of home cooking, horse trading, and socializing interrupt work, here described in its wealth of variety. In every detail, Free Land comes to life because Lane grew up in the time and place of which she writes. The book embodies her belief that "living is never easy, that all human history is a record of achievement in disaster, and that our great asset is the valor of the American spirit." Like the Beatons of this novel, Rose Wilder Lane's parents homesteaded in Dakota. Lane was a successful novelist and journalist when, in the 1930s, she encouraged and helped her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, to write the Little House on the Prairie books that were later dramatized for television....

Title : Free Land
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780803279148
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 332 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Free Land Reviews

  • Dana Stabenow
    2019-03-12 11:48

    Free land, my ass. According to this novel no one ever worked harder or suffered more disappointment than the original farmers who bought into the federal "giveaway" of Midwestern acreage provided by 1862's Homestead Act. David and Mary Beaton nearly starve in their efforts to bust sod and plant wheat and make a living, in the teeth of rampant land speculators (that's who wound up with most of the Homestead Act land), winter-long blizzards, summer-long droughts, greedy store owners, outrageous freight costs, outlaws. The story about the stolen Indian papoose corpse is genius -- a better description of the clash of pioneer culture with Indian culture I never read. While the story is told from David's perspective, Wilder doesn't demonize anyone. Another wonderful (and painful) scene is when they're harvesting fifteen acres of turnips and Mary's hands are bleeding and David wants her to stop and she won't because she hasn't been able to help him in any other way or earn any money the way she would have if they'd stayed in New York (butter, eggs). The sheer physical, mental, emotional and spiritual stress feels overwhelming to the reader, never mind the characters. Rose Wilder Lane is of course the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and from what I can google this book is meant to be a fictionalization of Laura's parents' early years together, and fans of the series will recognize certain scenes. Free Land reads like non-fiction in its detail and its immediacy. There is a lot of romanticizing of this period of history elsewhere. By contrast, this book reads like the plain unvarnished truth. Well worth reading.

  • Phoebe
    2019-02-25 13:48

    Seriously good writing drags one right into the 1880s and the Dakota territory, along with 19-year-old David and his brand new wife, Mary, as they determine to stake and keep a claim. David's parents are successful and established, with a beautiful holding, plenty of money, and the hard years behind them; David has this for contrast as he begins independent life with $900 in the bank and watches it trickle right away into debts; necessary debts to make a go of it. Terrible blizzards, droughts, incessant wind, near starvation, and work, always the intensely hard work, are all part of David and Mary's daily realities to endure and the reader is right there next to them through all of it. Lane's spare, powerful language describes the settler experience to perfection, and knowing that she lived this through the experiences of her parents, Laura and Almanzo, and then through her childhood as her parents moved in search of a better life, gives it all the more credibility. Her book is not for children, as her mother's books were. Some passages will offend, like the encounters with Indian tribes and the language used to describe them but this also is authentic to the times. This is an amazing book, start to finish.

  • Paula
    2019-03-13 08:28

    Excellent story of the life of a homesteader in the 1880s. This was written by the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder. (Side note - Rose is also considered by many to be the true "author" of the Little House books. Laura wrote out her stories, then Rose edited and put them together into book forms. You can see a definite difference between the LH books and The First Four Years, which did not have Rose's editorial input.)So much of this book is familiar - the character David is obviously based on her father Almanzo. His growing up places (New York and Minnesota) mirror Almanzo's life, as well as the names of his siblings, his love of Morgan horses, and many other instances. Many events from the LH books also take place here, including drought, children lost in blizzards, the Hard Winter, etc. This is definitely a more "grown up" version of the stories though, as it is dealing with events through the eyes of David and Mary, newlyweds and new pioneers, instead of a child's eye.

  • Laura
    2019-02-23 12:42

    Rose Lane is Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter, and this book is both a fictionalized version of her parents' homesteading story and a critique of the American government's land policies during the westward homesteading rush around 1900. If you are familiar with Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, you will find many echoes of them in this book. I don't know for certain, but I am guessing every major event in the book really happened to someone--either Laura and Almanzo, someone in their town, or Rose heard about it through neighborhood gossip or the newspapers. All these events are fictionalized together in the characters of Mary and David Beaton and the Peters family. David Beaton is obviously based on Rose's father, Almanzo, and Nettie Peters is based on Rose's mother, Laura. The strange thing is that they are never married to each other, although there is a strong attraction between them. It's just a little odd, and I keep wondering why Lane chose to arrange her story this way. The story is not fast paced, but it is incredibly gripping. One just keeps wondering if they will even survive to the end of the book. The ending has a deus ex machina feel and is rather abrupt, although I believe that event also really happened in Laura and Almanzo's life.

  • Susan
    2019-03-01 08:28

    Blizzards, droughts, fires, cyclones - that's life for a homesteader. Many of us grew up with a rosy-hued view of pioneer life, courtesy of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie books. But Free Land, by her daughter Rose Wilder Lane, depicts a harsher reality.In Free Land, written in 1938, Rose chronicles David Beaton and his new wife, Mary, as they struggle to make good on their Dakota homestead. Rose is uniquely qualified to write this tale as her own parents, Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder, homesteaded in Dakota during the 1880s as well.America's Homestead Act, in place from 1862 to 1935, aimed to settle western lands by giving pioneers "free land" on the condition that they would farm and "tame" it for five years. The promise of free land lured thousands from the east to the west, although most were unaware of just how harsh this free land would be.Laura Ingalls Wilder fans will recognize many things right away. David has sisters named Alice and Eliza, just as Almanzo Wilder did. Eliza is even depicted as a bossy schoolteacher, as she was in Laura's books. Early in Free Land, we learn that David's great-grandfather has opined, "My life has been mostly disappointments" - a quote originally attributed to Almanzo Wilder late in his life.While reading the Little House books gives one a feel for the harshness of pioneer living, Free Land is much harsher. It's Little House with the nice, polite veneer stripped away. When Mary Beaton cries at the primitive nature of her new home, a friend "consoles" her: "Don't cry, Mary. People get used to things they can't stand."We also see a relationship between David and Mary that is far from sugar-coated. David once tells Mary to "shut up" and later says, "Put that in your pipe and smoke it." Can you imagine Pa Ingalls speaking to Ma that way?The overall feel I got from reading Free Land was one of anxiety. And that's not necessarily a bad thing; perhaps that helped me share a bit of what the homesteaders must have felt every day out on their claims. Whether it was a blizzard, a cyclone, or a gang of horse thieves, there was always something ominous around the corner, threatening to destroy what you'd worked so hard for.A recurring theme in Free Land is debt. Rose Wilder Lane, as an early libertarian, was vehemently opposed to government aid and highly valued independence. This comes through in her writing, as David and Mary constantly struggle to pay off the debt they must incur to begin their farming venture.When they harvest 15 acres of turnips, which they joyfully sell for 14 cents per bushel, David offers Mary half the proceeds to spend as she pleases. Does she wish for a new dress or glass windows? No: "All I want on earth's to get rid of the debts so we can draw a free breath."One can't read Free Land without being truly impressed with the amount of work the pioneers did. David worked 26 hours straight one day, trying to get the wheat harvest in before yet another disaster would strike. For a rare social outing, an oyster soup supper, one pioneer woman had nothing nice to wear and so she totally re-made an existing dress, turning every ruffle inside out and sewing it together again. Add that to the hours spent twisting hay for fuel in winter, and cooking meals for threshers, and you begin to see just how difficult life was 150 years ago.Free Land obviously wasn't written recently, because parts of it would never get past the politically-correct police in today's society. Indians (no "Native Americans" back then!) were described as making a row about something, "as if they had human feelings." It's amazing to think that some pioneers apparently saw Indians as a different, sub-human species.I recommend Free Land highly as an interesting way to learn more about our country's history. I guarantee you'll come away with a renewed appreciation for our forefathers (and mothers) and their work ethic.

  • Katherine L
    2019-03-15 07:35

    I sought out this book after reading "A Wilder Rose," a fictionalized account of Rose Wilder Lane's life and writing career. Lane was the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the "Little House" series, and "Wilder Rose" focuses in large part on Lane's writing career, with emphasis on her relationship with her mother and her part in bringing the "Little House" series to life. In passing, "A Wilder Rose" mentions several of Rose's novels, and the circumstances surrounding their writing. Out of curiosity, I tracked down "Free Land," and found it well worth reading for quite a few reasons.First, it's still a good read just on its own. It's a fictionalized account of the settling of the Dakotas, during the Homestead Act era (1860-1880s), from the point of view of a newly married couple. The Homestead Act promised free land to settlers who promised to live on the land, and later, who promised to plant trees. It wasn't an easy life, to put it mildly. To quote another reviewer (Dana Stabenow) on this site, "Free land, my ass." People paid for that land in blood, sweat, and tears, and quite frequently with their lives and/or sanity. The story of those trials is still compelling. It's although worth reading from an environmental perspective; it's one of the clearest examples of why fighting nature doesn't work very well that I've seen in a while.However, I found the primary interest in comparing it to the "Little House" series. It's quite clearly based on the same stories that formed the backbone of the "Little House" series, although Lane tells them from a more adult perspective.If you are at all interested in the controversy about the extent to which Rose influenced or outright wrote parts of the "Little House" series (see "A Wilder Rose," or "The Ghost in the Little House,") this book is especially interesting--and isn't going to lend itself to easy answers. For people who haven't encountered the controversy: Many people have noticed that "The First Four Years," the last book in the "Little House" series, is not nearly as compelling as the other stories. One explanation is that Rose, an accomplished and well-published author at the time that the "Little House" books started to be published, helped her mother to edit the books and make them publishable (and didn't do that with the last book). The amount and nature of the editing is still under debate. "Free Land" (1938) contains events that will be recognizable to readers of " Little House on the Prairie," (1935) and "The Long Winter" (1940). The way in which those stories were told is certainly consistent with a set of family stories that two authors were reworking...but to my ear, Lane's telling of the long winter stories, and the metaphors and images that she uses in 1938, clearly prefigures "The Long Winter," suggesting a real possibility that Lane's work influenced her mother, at the very least.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-03-21 07:49

    If memory serves, RWL took the material for this book from her mother's first attempt at a memoir, Pioneer Girl, before the draft was reimagined as a multi-volume series for children (The Little House books). As a result, there are a lot of familiar incidents and characters, along with some things evidently judged too grim for children, like the occasional posse and lopping off of gangrenous limbs. The most interesting change I thought the author made was that even though there were two characters in the book obviously based on her mother and father, the two never marry (considering the main character, David/Almanzo, gets engaged on about page two of the book, I don't consider this a spoiler). Instead, they have a casual almost-family friendship, with a very occasional hint of something more. I know Lane had some complicated feelings regarding her mother, but...perhaps I am reading too much into it. I would have given this book five stars, but the ending was ridiculously abrupt, giving the whole story preceding it a certain amount of futility.

  • Christine
    2019-02-25 12:37

    I picked up Free Land because rumor has it Lane based the events in the books on her mother Laura Ingalls Wilder's family stories. And who doesn't love more LIW stories? But maybe Lane's writing wasn't for me. She lacks her mother's elegant descriptions and glosses over episodes that could have used more embellishment to get the full impact. Likewise, there's not a whole lot about the feelings behind the characters. That being said, I couldn't put the book down. What new and terrible thing will happen next to these poor people? (view spoiler)[How will they ever get out of debt and survive to see a successful planting season? The answer lies in a deus ex machina type of ending that didn't leave me satisfied, which is the real reason I marked this 3 stars.(hide spoiler)]A fast and compelling read about frontier life in the late 1800s. Good if you're into that sort of thing.

  • Kirsten
    2019-02-21 13:51

    I don't know how anyone could read this, and still believe that Rose was the driving force behind her mother's books. She may have been a good editor - but she was a terrible writer. This book is flat and lifeless and there's no power behind any of it. Occasionally she awkwardly drops in some political propaganda (mostly, the Government is your enemy). I have no doubt that all the stories herein are probably true, but here it's just a mish-mash. And WTH is up with David and Nettie? That seems like a complicatedly strange authorial choice, on top of everything else.....

  • Tanya
    2019-02-23 13:42

    David Beaton and his wife Mary leave Minnesota in the early 1880s to homestead in South Dakota during the land rush. The land was free, but the couple paid dearly for it when they encountered blizzards, tornadoes, and drought. Rose Wilder Lane borrowed heavily from her parents' experiences homesteading. Any Laura Ingalls Wilder fan will recognize names and basic plot points from her stories. While Wilder wrote from the optimistic viewpoint of a child, Lane wrote from the bleak viewpoint of an adult. At times the transitions were lacking so I was left confused on when events were happening. Unlike Wilder's timeless stories, Lane's is much more dated in the vocabulary and the writing style.

  • Jenna
    2019-03-12 10:23

    I am a fan of all the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and I'm a fan of the books about her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. "Free Land," is the second book that I've read by Rose. The first book was "Young Pioneers," which has the similar characters and a similar plot. I rated Free Land, four stars.Honestly, "Free Land" is hard to follow. Reading this book is like handing me a piece of steak and asking me to swallow it whole. I may just feel this because I'm only 15 years-old but the way Rose wrote it was too hard to comprehend. One of the reasons it's hard to follow and comprehend is because it's confusing! If you've ever read any of the Little House books or know something about Laura Ingalls Wilder, than you'll know after reading this that the there are so many names or events from the Little House books and/or Laura's life! An example would be that Laura has a sister named Mary and there's a Mary in the book. This makes it confusing because you wonder if that's the character from the Little House books or if it's based on that character or if it's meant to be the same character except from "Young Pioneers," and with a different story. Confusing, confusing, confusing.Other than the fact that it's hard to follow and confusing, the book is really good and the writing is amazing. Rose writes so fine! She makes a book about pioneers and working hard, and sweat and hard times feel elegant almost, but not in a way that makes you have no connection with the characters. The title is cool in a way because *spoiler* back in the mid-late 1800's, land was "free" from the government and if you wanted the land, you had to live there for a certain amount of years until it was actually yours. So "free land" works for the title because the land was free from paying an amount of money but it wasn't free because to live there and to work so hard cost a lot. Everyone must pay for(in some respect)what they want, right?The two main characters, David and Mary Beaton, were written well too. *spoilers* Their personalities, characteristics, and choices are based on Rose's parents and maternal grandparents. Mary is a combination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Caroline Ingalls and David is a combination of Almanzo Wilder and Charles Ingalls. David and Mary are two good people that work for what they have and do their best to survive the pioneer days just like Rose's family members, and in this way the book is also like the Little House series and "Young Pioneers." I felt that I connected with characters even more than meant to because I kind of felt that I already knew them from the Little House series and "Young Pioneers." The plot is often twisting and turning because of a natural disaster or a illness or famine but it works because it's based on real events that really did happen around every corner. "Free Land," by Rose Wilder Lane is a good book and I recommend reading it if you like what its about; pioneers, hardships, and people trying their best to live on the "free" land.

  • Anne
    2019-03-08 11:33

    The grown up version of "Little House on the Prairie". Really, there is very little consonance between the "Little House" (LH) series and this book, in spite of the reviews I read. Yes, there is a reference to settlers being evicted from Indian territory, but it is just a passing reference from one of the supporting characters. And there is the "long winter" series of events, but different circumstances and more development of characters. This book was written in 1938, and some scenes sound like the 1930s Hollywood version of those situations (Indians racing in circles around an encampment, howling and brandishing weapons). There is also a scene when two men perform a black-face minstrel routine to distract a blizzard bound party. That might be considered objectionable to some by today's standards, but it was consistent with entertainment of the time portrayed. The writing is lively but earthy, and not at all as sweetly nostalgic as the series by Laura Wilder. I find it doubtful that Rose was the ghost writer of that series, as some critics assume. The version I read names the main characters as Mary and David, removing the story further from the LH characterizations. The personalities of the main characters are more realistic. Mary loses her temper and is sometimes unfair in her criticisms of her husband. David ruminates on his growing (and inappropriate) feelings for a female character who is not his wife. Definitely not to be found in the LH setting! People die in this book and disturbing things happen.What I most liked was the descriptions of the gritty day to day chores and experiences of farming and homesteading. Also, the detailed account of each expense incurred by settlers moving into the boom and bust economy of the Homesteading Act era. The sometimes assumption that neighbors helped each other freely flies in the face of the expenses involved even in the face of emergency (David is trapped in town during a raging blizzard, but still has to pay a daily fee for boarding the team at the livery; he saves the community by a heroic ride to retrieve a stolen mummy, but when the crisis is over he still has to pay for the telegraph he sent to keep his neighbors from massacre).I will read this one again because I like stories of struggle and sacrifice, set in grittier times.Mild, very infrequent, profanity; no descriptive or gratuitous violence; no descriptive sexual content (although the couple do get frisky with each other!) Two or three scenes that might be mildly racist by today's standards.

  • Crizzle
    2019-03-07 08:43

    This was the first novel I've ever read written by Rose Wilder Lane, Laura's daughter who was the one who got her to write her memoirs. It echos the Little House books and I would wager to say that just about everything in it happened to either her parents, grandparents, or was something they heard. I saw a lot of it in the "Little House Sampler" I read recently... even the quote at the beginning - "My life's been mostly disappointments." That was said by her father, Almanzo Wilder, during an interview she gave him when she was gathering accurate information for the writing of this book. Her main character, David, seems based off her dad (hard-working, honest, kind, a little spunk), and I'm thinking her character Nettie is more fitting of her mom, Laura (uncomplaining, strong female figure) - David and Nettie even have this unspoken "what if" side of their relationship. In wondering why she didn't just have her father-figure marry her mother-figure, of course she has to add a little more drama! It began with David as a 19 year old, ready to go stake his claim with some "free land" through the Homestead Act... he started out 'worth' about $1500 and life looked prosperous. His character seemed still part kid, part adult, as he fought with his sister Eliza and was nervous around his dad. He and Mary got married and moved in the same day, and along came the Hard Winter of 1880... one thing after another and life was no longer so rosy. They had a baby Davy ("the little shaver") and were hardly eking out a living. By the time Mary found out she was again pregnant, she was depressed and they were so far in debt they couldn't see the horizon. Luckily she got her little girl Molly, who added immeasurable joy to their lives. They got a letter that David's parents would come for a visit and they were so nervous - he hadn't seen them since he moved away as a 19 year old, and they were worried what they'd think of their meager existence. Their parents' three week stay was the best time they'd had for years; his hard father fell in love with his grandchildren, and the relationship with David has changed to one of a man-to-man. After finding out David is in debt $900, he tells him that he can have $2000 from his part of the will... "I don't know's you noticed it when you was to home, but ever since you young ones was born to mother and me, I wanted you to have an easier time than we did." - Last line of the book. Awww.

  • Caroline Herfindahl
    2019-03-23 07:31

    Rose Wilder Lane takes you right into the realities of homestead life in the 1880s in Dakotas. It isn't idealized or sugar coated but her characters have a strength of mind that almost buggers understanding. They possess a whole lot of grit (a new buzz word for the 21st century), determination and perseverance. Though I tried hard not to compare her writing to her mother and find its own merits, I failed. I missed Ingalls Wilders prose; rhythmic and lyrical and her love for the land and its beauties and wildness. Lane's characters were connected to the land but only in a very utilitarian way. I also found myself falling out of the story at times because I felt that Lane's transitions sometimes left me not quite sure how I got from where I'd just been to where she was going next. Overall I enjoyed the book but it's journalist style and stark realism left me not feeling much or feeling at all connected to her characters.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-23 09:48

    I may change this rating to five stars later, I'll have to let it sit for while, maybe even read it again. It was an excellent book, well-written, the characters were reasonable and interesting, the descriptions, especially of the blizzards were superb.It's the adult version of the little house books that answers those questions you start to have when you get older. It's darker, grittier and a review on the back cover used the word "realism," I think that fits.Quotes: said mildly and without bitterness by an old man, "my life has been mostly disappointments.""Bare endurance becomes a kind of progress, when not giving up is the most that can be done."The thing that baffles me, even though I've done somthing similar, is why does Almanzo or David Beaton in Free Land or Charles Ingalls in Little House in the Big Woods leave a prosperous & comfortable farm to live a life of subsistence in the wilderness? I do not have an answer to that question.

  • Laura
    2019-03-15 09:44

    As I discovered in Pioneer Girl, Rose Wilder Lane helped her mother by editing her original adult novel, Pioneer Girl, and then helped her edit them to children’s books. Lane then used the stories to write her own adult novels. Rose Wilder Lane was a very famous author in her day, but has been eclipsed in modern times by her mother. Lane’s pioneer books are worth a read, especially for lovers of pioneer tales. Mary and David Beaton are newlyweds that travel to the Dakota Territory to homestead 300 acres. Isolation, blizzards, and cyclones are just some of the trials they face. Their story is very similar to the real life stories of Almanzo and Laura Wilder and Charles and Caroline Ingalls.Part of a larger blog post about Top 10 Pioneer Books at: http://lauragerold.blogspot.com/2016/...

  • Christina Dudley
    2019-03-01 10:32

    Made a thrilling discovery! If, like me, you're a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, you might have wondered why Almanzo's family ever left their prosperous farm in Malone, NY, to go to MN. This biographical novel by his daughter Rose picks up with them on the new farm in MN. "David's" sisters are still named Eliza and Alice. Hope Laura shows up later.I'll let you know how it goes, but I'm surprised I didn't know about this book until stumbling on that Almanzo bike race in southern MN...Pt 2: I get what other reviewers said about the abrupt ending! And I would've liked her to tie up the Peters' more, since they had many things in common w the Ingalls. In fact, she didn't tie them up (or that plotline) at all. Nevertheless, I tore thru the book. Remind me never to try to farm in the Dakotas, even if they're giving the land away for free.

  • Dianne
    2019-03-08 13:45

    I'm a huge fan of the Little House book series, and I am SO glad I read this book. It is the realistic view of things as they truly were, behind the way they are portrayed in the Little House series. It was fascinating to read the roots of what later turned into books in the series (particularly "The Hard Winter"), and even more intriguing to read the very honest descriptions of strains in relationships, something that is avoided in the children's series for obvious reasons. My only complaint is that it desperately needs editing for the "flow" of story. It's too jumpy, often leaving one scene and diving into another with no transition at all.And the ending is just about as odd as it gets. It. Just. Stops. No warning. No summary. Nothing.

  • Sue
    2019-02-22 09:43

    This book is a tribute to Rose's growing libertarian philosophy in the 1930's. There are comments to hating the government and its control along with stories of her parents' and grandparents' attempts to homestead in South Dakota. The material is based on true stories that also became the basis for Laura's stories. Reading this also makes you realize why Rose was a popular writer in her time as she lays out gritty stories with colorful characters. When read with "The First Four Years" as we did for book club I was reminded again how obvious it is that Rose did much more than edit the Little House series.

  • Amy Hendrickson
    2019-02-24 11:23

    You know how when you were really little you thought people in the old days didn't swear and drink, etc.? And eventually you find out differently? I swear that I thought that way after reading the Little House on the Prairie series. So it's ironic that Laura Ingalls' daughter, Rose Wilder Lane writes this real life version of pioneer life. It's written contemporaneously to Laura's work so you can't help but wonder if they compared notes. Free Land is a fictional account of a pioneer family in the Dakota territory about the time Laura Ingalls' family was there in the book the Hard Winter. I had a hard time putting it down and enjoyed a more realistic and even racier look at pioneer life.

  • Karen
    2019-02-27 11:41

    I feel generous giving this book 3 stars. I struggled through it. I didn't care for the main character, David, and his wife, Mary, never seemed like a fully developed character to me. I did like the family friend, Nettie, and her optimism. She is the bright light in the book. This book is a good reminder of the hardships of homesteading and the amazing resilience of the men and women who settled the West. These type of books make you realize again the many comforts we enjoy daily and give no thought to. 6/14

  • Nancy
    2019-03-01 08:40

    I'm sure we are all aware that Rose used her mother's memoirs called Pioneer Girl that, eventually became the Little House series to write Free Land. Although she was was an exceptional writer in her time, she is not as colorful a writer as her mother.The story is full of struggle and sadness, always scraping by just to survive. Anyone who thinks they have it rough now should read what these pioneers experienced.

  • Ellen Broadhurst
    2019-03-06 14:26

    Brilliant. Rose was a terrific writer; it is a shame her works have fallen in the shadow of the Little House books. The story was well crafted, the characters absolutely believable, and while the ending was a tiny bit fantastical, I was so rooting for David and Mary I was delighted for them. If you are a fan of the Little House stories, this is a grand grownup book to read, written well before Laura began penning Pioneer Girl.

  • Elaine
    2019-03-21 15:32

    It was kinda strange to recognize a lot of familiar characters and situations from the Little House series, and I had to remember, this is a different story(but drawing from the same historical figures), but this was a much more grim story of the hardships that homesteaders faced. It wasn't a very fast-moving or gripping story, but something interesting always came up. It's a wonder that any homesteader would stay hopeful in the midst of all the setbacks.

  • Naomi Blackburn
    2019-03-23 11:32

    I have loved Rose Wilder Lane's political writings, but this is my first fictional work of hers and I loved it. This was comparable SOMEWHAT to the writings of Willa Cather. I will admit that I still prefer her political writings though.Also, I had always rolled my eyes at the conspiracy that she wrote the "Little House" books, but this was so similar that it might warrant a second look!

  • Perry Antoyo
    2019-03-14 12:41

    I enjoyed this book. The only reason I'm giving it 4, is really a 4.5 because the language seems old fashioned and not in an intended way for the period. More of an elderly school teacher preachy quality many times throughout. Probably a 5 to those who don't mind that as much as I did. I still recommend it as a good book.

  • Amaryah
    2019-03-19 14:51

    I really enjoyed this book. I felt like it took me right back to it's time, and I laughed and cried with the characters. I enjoy just about all I can find on this time period, and felt this story did a pretty good job showing how hard it was, yet how satisfying too. Good reminder for us who live in easier times.

  • Debra
    2019-03-14 08:34

    The prose style is dated, but the historical veracity rings quite true. Even the rare contact with Indians is surprisingly unracist. (Not usually the case from the 1930's.) An unromanticized look at a hard life.In a link with current politics, she begins by pointing out how the US government gave land to the corporations that was purchased with taxpayer money.

  • Lauri
    2019-03-20 09:44

    I just can't find Rose's writing as appealing as her mother's. However, I do appreciate this view of the story as told through the adults' eyes rather than a child's. This book will make you feel the irony of the title "Free Land" I find it interesting as well in this day of the Tea Party to read Rose's thoughts since she was one of the founders of the Libertarian party.

  • Mandy Richter
    2019-02-25 15:24

    The book was way too confusing and boring to me. I had to stop reading it. I thought that it was about Almanzo since alot of the characters and their names were exactly like the ones in Laura Ingalls Wilder's book Farmer Boy. it went into detail too much.