06-08-2013 04:36 AM
At the beginning she sings and dances in the forest imagining her life as an elegant lady. I believe she may have a beau who is well off. Somehow a painting is mentioned. This painting/portrait is of a elegant lady. The lady in the portrait resembles the heroine if she were dressed in fine clothes.
However, instead of marrying into wealth, the heroine falls in love and marries a young man who takes her out west. (His name is a simple name like John or Will) The story details the hardships and joys of building a life on the prairie. The heroine makes friends with an immigrant neighbor (Swedish maybe?). That neighbor delivers the heroine's baby. Eventually the husband dies while working on their land -- perhaps digging a well.
When the heroine is much older she is at a gathering of her grandchildren. She is shocked to see the painting she admired in her youth. Of course the grandchildren do not know of its significance or even that when young she looked so much like the lady in the portrait. She cries and they think it is her age.
The book ends with her death. The immigrant neighbor makes a comment about "The best woman who ever lived" or something like that.
I know the story takes place in the mid to late 1800's. I believe it was written in the 1930's- 1960's. I read it in the 1970's. There was a tv movie based on the book that aired in the 1990's. I had the book but cannot find it or remember the title/author. I keep thinking something like A candle in my heart; A light in the Dark; A Candle in the Dark; A Light in the Window... But those don't work. Please help!!!!