Book Review: The Long Winter

Book Review: The Long WinterThe Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams
Series: Little House #6
Reading Challenges: #LittleHouseRAL

The town of De Smet is hit with terrible, howling blizzards and Laura and her family must ration their food and coal. When the supply train doesn't arrive, Almanzo Wilder and his brother realize something must be done. They begin an impossible journey in search of provisions, before it's too late.

Laura is now 14-years-old and the family is still living in the DeSmet territory of South Dakota. The family is preparing for winter as Pa, with Laura’s help, stock the hay to store away. While doing so Laura spots a muskrat den nearby and Pa goes to inspect. Upon inspection, Pa notices that the den walls is thicker than he has ever seen before indicating to him that the winter is most likely going to be a hard one. Within days, the winter appears in the form of the first of many blizzards … and it’s only October!

After the initial blizzard, which longs for two days, the family goes about like normal. They send Laura and younger sister Carrie off to school in town, which Mary, who is still blind, and toddler sister Grace remain at home.  The excitement and joy that the girls experience with school is short lives as another blizzards comes to town halting all school activities. School remains out-of-session until winter is over.

As the winter becomes more unbearable, the Ingalls realize their house is not suitable for the winter months so Pa moves the family to the general store in town. The family makes this their home until the winter is over and they can move back to their little house.

Running low on coal, Pa and Laura make fuel for the oven by twisting some of the hay they prepared earlier in the year. The food is also becoming scarce, but the family makes do with the sacks of potatoes they dug up earlier and wheat that they ground in the coffee mill.

Almanzo Wilder and his older brother, Royal, are sharing a house together and weighing out the storm together. After hearing about a settler in another town who is offering money for wheat to feed that town, Almanzo and a classmate of Laura’s Cap risk their lives to take 60 bushels of wheat. The journey is made and the two return with money in hand. However, the DeSmet town people are not pleased with what they hear of the settler who has bought Almanzo’s wheat for a cheap price only to sell it to his starving townspeople for a much higher price. They all travel together to confront the settler who feels justified in his deception.

Seven months after the first blizzard, winter is finally over. The trains begin to move again and the Ingall’s Christmas barrel from the Reverand Alden finally arrives. Everyone has something – clothing, presents, and a Christmas turkey (still frozen). Along with their friends, the Boasts, the family finally have their Christmas celebration … in May!

I gave 3 stars because I was just a bit bored throughout some of the story. It was a quick and easy read, but there was often times where I just felt unconnected to the story and didn’t want to read.


    1. Thank you! I actually have ALL the books on the challenge read as of this morning. I don’t tend to read-along well … At first I thought I would be able to. But I figured as long as I read them and post them along with everyone else then it’s all good LOL

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