Literature: The Martha Years

The four books, written by Melissa Wiley, are Little House in the Highlands, The Far Side of the Loch, Down to the Bonny Glen, and Beyond the Heather Hills, chronicling the life of Martha Morse from age six to age ten.

HarperCollins was behind the publishing of this series; years after the original series was published, they hired several people to write three prequel series, each focusing on one of Laura's relatives. The Caroline Years told the story of Laura's mother, The Charlotte Years featured Caroline's mother, and The Martha Years followed Charlotte's mother.

The original idea was for the Martha Years to take Martha all the way to adulthood, but for various reasons, this never happened.

Tropes relating to Martha Morse, Laura Ingalls Wilder's great-grandmother:

  • Aerith and Bob: Grisie, Alistair, Robbie, Duncan, Martha.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Martha herself could be this to her older sister, Grisie, at times.
  • Barefoot Poverty: Subverted: Martha, though the daughter of a lairdnote , would rather go barefoot than wear shoes.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Was intended to be this; due to Executive Meddling, the series was cut short when Martha was ten.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Martha. Though the series only covered Martha's pre-teens, she grew up to marry Lew Tucker, a blacksmith instead of a wealthy lord as was expected. Historical evidence explicity states her family were unhappy with the match.
  • Determinator: Though it isn't covered in the series, when Martha's parents forbade their marriage, Lew Tucker left for America. Martha was less than happy with her parents, and so left for America after him. They did, in fact, get married, and are shown to be quite happy together in The Charlotte Years.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Martha has a near-constant struggle with this; as the daughter of a laird, the youngest child notwithstanding, she's supposed to be a proper lady, like her sister. She would far rather be playing in the fields with the children of the tenants on her father's land than sitting inside sewing, spinning, knitting, et.,
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Martha and her older sister Grisie. Martha was tomboyish, energetic and mischievous, while Grisie was girly, quiet and passive.
    • The difference between Martha and Grisie is further emphasised by their choice of lifestyle. Grisie marries a rich, landowning friend of their father and settles down as a society wife. Martha emigrates to America with the village blacksmith to live the life of a commoner.
  • The Klutz: Definitely Martha.
  • Lady of Adventure: Martha emigrated to America, by herself, when her parents forbade her to marry Lew Tucker.
  • Nice Guy: Lew, who helped smuggle Martha craft supplies when she was sick in bed. (Including giving her his own knife).
    "Martha had no doubt he'd do as she asked. Lew Tucker was the type of boy who'd walk through the tempest to help a friend."
  • Outdoorsy Gal: Martha; she spends most of her time roaming Scottish moors and playing with her father's tenants.
  • Overprotective Dad: Martha's father isn't generally this. However, in between the final book in this series and the first book in the next, Martha becomes estranged from her family when her parents will not allow her to marry Lew Tucker, the blacksmith's son. As the daughter of a Scottish laird, Lew was seen as below Martha's station.
  • Plucky Girl: Martha, most definitely.
  • Rebellious Spirit: Martha.
  • Scenery Porn: Describes the Scottish highlands beautifully, befitting a prequel series to Laura Ingalls Wilder's books.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Martha and Grisie.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Martha and Lew. She was from well-off society, the daughter of a lairdnote  while he was a skilled labourer. The books were developing this before Executive Meddling ended the series. In real life, they emigrated to America to get married and start a family freely.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Martha definitely qualifies, being the daughter of a laird, but preferring foot-racing to sewing.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Martha's mother and Grisie are both very good at sewing, spinning, knitting, etc.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Martha and Grisie; much like her great-granddaughter Laura, Martha would far rather be playing outdoors than sitting inside sewing or knitting.
  • Tomboy: Martha, obviously.
  • Tomboy Princess: While not royalty Martha is the daughter of a Laird, the Scottish version of a Lord so is technically aristocracy.
  • Uptown Girl: Martha for Lew. She is part of the Scottish aristocratic class while he is a working class blacksmith. See Star-Crossed Lovers above for more details.

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