In this installment, we learn that Mary is now blind due to Scarlet Fever and the whole family is barely over the sickness. Things have not turned out that well in Plum Creek and Pa jumps on the chance to move west and find a homestead by Silver Lake. Laura's aunts and uncles from the Big Woods are integral in the Ingalls moving west and Ma gives her consent when Pa promises this is the last move and that they will live next to a town. Laura and her family love the beauty of the prairie and the lake and Laura enjoys watching the railroad workers. The growth of the town is hard on her and Pa, but the beautiful land for their homestead makes up for it. Will the Ingalls finally settle down?
I love how we learn about homesteading and filing claims and all the discussion of the railroad. Other than the sadness over Mary's loss of sight, this one is a little more hopeful than the rest of the series. I loved the brief reappearance of past characters, especially Mr. Edwards and it is nice to see Laura beginning to mature. I also like the brief cameo she includes of Almanzo, his brother, and the horses. I find it interesting that Pa is a little more open minded than most about Native Americans and is willing to put aside prejudice to trust Big Jerry. Ma is the one full of the prejudice. Laura seems more like Pa, but I can tell why the series does get a bit of criticism for the treatment of Native Americans, however I feel like Pa's views are a little more open minded than those of most pioneers at the time. Other than that, I love this book and I can't wait to pick up the next one! I also love the cover of this one. 5 cups of cocoa and a nice glimpse into the growth of the nation.