" As her title implies, Hill focuses on constructing a portrait of Wilder's growth and development as a writer and artist. The resulting study is a thoughtful and sometimes compelling portrait that will provide readers with new insight into both the Little House books and Laura Ingalls Wilder." - Project Muse

This is "a fascinating and remarkable book that deserves a place on the shelf of every Laura fan." - The Homesteader

"Pamela Smith Hill has [created] a work of considerable scholarship and insight. . . . She has dealt along the way with numerous issues raised by critics and by the general readership, together with other matters that few have previously thought to discuss. In all of this, her extensive research, her careful scholarship and her measured style, combined with her obvious enthusiasm for her subject, have produced a work which we believe adds in substantial measure to the critical literature involving Wilder and Lane." - The Little House Heritage Trust


2008 WILLA Literary Award Winner, Scholarly Nonfiction Category, Women Writing the West

Indie Excellence Awards 2008 Winner, Biography Category

In Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life, Pamela Smith Hill delves into the complex and often fascinating relationships Wilder formed throughout her life that led to the writing of her classic Little House series. Using Wilder’s stories, personal correspondence, an unpublished autobiography, and experiences in South Dakota, Hill has produced a historical-literary biography of the famous and much-loved author. Following the course of Wilder’s life, and her real family’s journey west, Hill provides a context, both familial and literary, for Wilder’s writing career.

Laura Ingalls Wilder examines Wilder’s inspirations as a writer, particularly her tumultuous, but ultimately successful, professional and personal relationship with her daughter—the hidden editor—Rose Wilder Lane. Wilder produced her timeless classics with the help of, but not reliance upon, her daughter’s editorial insights. Over the course of more than thirty years, Lane and Wilder engaged in a dynamic working relationship, shifting between trust, distrust, and respect. Hill argues that they differed in their visions of the path Wilder’s career should follow, but eventually Lane’s editing brought out the best of her mother’s writing, and allowed her creativity, expression, and experiences to shine through.

An important historic and literary achievement, this annotated edition of Pioneer Girl provides modern readers with new insights into the woman behind the fictional classics Little House in the Big Woods, Farmer Boy, Little House on the Prairie, On the Banks of Plum Creek, By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years.