The early heartaches of Laura ""Little House"" Wilder's daughter Rose, author of Let the Hurricane Roar and others, are by television out of career romance, but this kind of misery never lacks company. Poor, dear Rose. Her first love Paul, about to leave for a telegrapher's job in California, proposes and then panics. Dreaming of a telegraph station for two, Rose hies herself to a Sacramento telegraphy school, takes a room in a bordello unbeknownst, and discovers that her schoolmaster is a drunken ne'er-do-well (good-bye tuition), her solicitous boss has misconstrued her address (good-bye Sacramento). But she's learning, and when a providential opening in San Francisco turns out to be all work and no play, she moves in with light-hearted Louise and her flashy mother, joins in their wild, innocent flings, rebuffs Paul, and winds up one morning married to Gillette Low/Gaylord Ravenal--who leaves her after two doll's-house years with $5000 in debts. So down to business. The real estate business, selling the acreage Gil was trying to peddle. Her money gone, her credit cut off, Rose finesses a buggy and rings doorbells until she locates a prospect, taciturn MacAdams, crouched inside a boiler, riveting. Five endless minutes later, she has a twenty-dollar deposit to pay for her dinner--the start of her career as the Real Estate Lady of the California oil-fields. When Gil eventually turns up, she's more than a match for him (""My God, but you're hard!""); when faithful Paul comes to dinner, she cooks ""like [his] mother never did."" But, says the epilogue, she didn't marry Paul--one thing the reader doesn't question. Still, credible or not, this fictionalization by the producer of TV's Little House and Young Pioneers (from L.T.H.R.) traces a path from Spunk to Grit to Guts to Guile that has its own American-beauty reality.