Days of Sunshine Days of Shadow by Krista L. Traer

It was enjoyable to read highlights of notable events in the lives of Laura, and both her immediate and extended family. I was unaware of many things that were listed in the earlier portions of the book, so it was a treat to discover those facts. It was fun to read about events I did remember, and it made me want to reread the Little House books all over again.

It was very interesting to discover more about key moments in the life of Laura’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. I was surprised to learn that Rose worked as a war correspondent in Vietnam for Woman’s Day magazine. The most surprising part? She was 78 years old!

This book is a timeline of events, rather than a lengthy in-depth biography. That being the case, three stars would have been my highest rating. For the reasons stated above, I was initially inclined to do so.

Unfortunately, as I read further I realized the book is poorly edited in several places. Words are either missing or repeated, and sentences are cut off in random places–rendering the text of various events illegible nonsense. That’s easily forgiven when I’m reading an advance copy of an unpublished book, because those mistakes will be fixed prior to being published. However, since this book was published in 2017, the poor editing leaves me no choice but to lower the rating to two stars.

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Author: Krista L. Traer
Title: Days of Sunshine Days of Shadow
Genre: History
Publication Date: March 29, 2017
Rating: 2 stars

About the Book

This book is a chronological timeline of the historical events in Laura’s life, as well as her immediate family and relatives. It begins before Laura, with her grandmother, Charlotte Quiner, and continues on through to the late twentieth century, with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s worldwide recognition long after her death. Here you will find the major events, such as birthdays, marriages, and deaths. But you will also find the small, seemingly insignificant dates. For example, an ordinary school day for Laura’s sister, Grace Ingalls, as recorded in Grace’s journal. All of these dates, both big and small, provide a clear, sequential overview of Laura and her family’s day-to-day life.

Only the most reliable and historical sources have been used, in order to give the most accurate picture. Therefore, the author has relied heavily on primary sources, such as journal entries and family letters, and has stayed away from more fictional sources, like the “Little House” books themselves.

Laura lived a full life, filled with sorrow and happiness, success and loss. Her years were indeed made up of sunshine and shadow, as Laura herself put it. This book simply organizes all of that “sunshine and shadow”, giving the reader context, fact, time and place.

About the Author

KRISTA L. TRAER, B.A., B.Ed., makes her home in the remote wilderness of the Yukon Territory in the northwest corner of Canada. She lives with her husband and three young children, Ava, Thomas, and Gabriel. Originally from New Brunswick, Canada, Krista has grown up with a strong fascination for Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family. Her passion since childhood has been researching the Ingalls’ and Wilder’s lives and reading the many biographies on them. Krista received her Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Thomas University and her Bachelor of Education degree from the University of New Brunswick, both in Fredericton, New Brunswick. During her university years, Krista began organizing key historical dates pertaining to both families into a chronological timeline, in an attempt to make better sense of some of the conflicting information out there. This project began in 2002 and includes everything from major events to ordinary, everyday happenings. It is Krista’s hope that this document provides a clear, sequential overview of these two remarkable families and their simple, yet not so simple, day-to-day lives.

2 thoughts on “Days of Sunshine Days of Shadow by Krista L. Traer

  1. I’ve never read the Little House books, but I remember watching the show with my grandmother as a child. It was one of her favorites!

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    • I loved watching the tv series back in the day. 🙂 It was definitely one of my favorites as a child.

      At some point, I’m going to reread the books. Not sure if I’ll review them or not, but it will be fun to get reacquainted with an old friend, so to speak, after all these years.


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