Cover Image: Little Souls

Little Souls

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Member Reviews

Lutie and Helen move to Denver from Idaho after the death of their parents. They buy a cute little house and Helen is working as a nurse and has a doctor boyfriend. Lutie works in the advertising department of a local department store drawing their advertisements. Lutie is in love with a young theology student. To make a little extra money they rent out a basement apartment. This is also 1918 and the Spanish flu is raging. The father downstairs is abusive and eventually runs away and the little girl loses her mother to the flu and Helen and Lutie are determined to adopt her and make her their sister. There are a lot of secrets and even with all the horrible things that happened with abuse and murder I just didn't feel the gravity of the situation. I thought the book was easy to read and I truly cared for all the characters and was rooting for them. There were so many secrets that came out. The epilogue jumps 10 years and I really wish I knew what happened in more depth in that 10 years.

I would like to thank Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me with a digital copy.
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LITTLE SOULS by Sandra Dallas is set in Denver in 1918 and tells the story of two sisters, Helen and Lucretia (Lutie). Like so many of Dallas' strong female characters, they are self-reliant and compassionate, but face heartache and tragedies. Helen is a nurse, dating a doctor, and both battle exhaustion in the face of the raging influenza pandemic. Lutie works in advertising for a local department store; her beau, Peter Howell, joins the army and heads to fight in the war in Europe.  Together, the two sisters have purchased a home and rent the basement apartment to the Streeter family, a married couple with a nearly teenaged daughter, Dorothy. In LITTLE SOULS Dallas returns to favorite motifs – with references to female friendships, quilts and sewing, plus orphans, and spousal abuse. Like many other novels by this best-selling author, there are elements of danger and loss, but hope ultimately shines through.
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Thank you NetGalley for the eARC. This book hit close to home with the COVID pandemic and that was what I enjoyed about it. It was also very moving.
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A touching story about two loving sisters, Helen the nurse and Lutz, the artist in the midst of the Spanish flu and WWI. A strong women's story of love, courage and survival.
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This is my first book to read by Sandra Dallas. I will look forward to more. I almost didn't read this book. I'm so very glad that I did. It's a very good, very heartbreaking and heartwarming, story.

Set in 1918 during the Spanish Influenza epidemic and during WWll this book takes you on a rollercoaster ride that will have you weeping. I have to admit that I did have a couple of small chuckles though. I mean really, getting the flu from listening in on a party line, kind of like people saying they got Covid from their cell phones now. All these years later and we have not come a long way with that. How ironic is that.

Two sisters living in a home they bought after their parents died and they left to move to Colorado. Helen and Lucretia/Lutie only had each other after the loss of their parents. Helen is a nurse and they move to Colorado for her to get a good job. Lute is a designer. She gets a job in an upscale clothing store and they are very content with their lives. They rent the basement of their home to a couple with a daughter. Helen is dating/engaged to a doctor and Lute is engaged to a young man who may become a minister. Gil and Peter could not be more different but they love these women and would do anything for them. Peter joins the service and is sent overseas where he intends to help other young men believe that they can find the kind of happiness he has.

The couple who rented the basement are not the best of people. At least the man isn't. He's very abusive to his wife and daughter. He's one you will hate very quickly. After he leaves his wife gets the flu and dies. Their daughter, Dorothy, moves upstairs with Helen and Lute who intend to adopt her and she will be their sister. Peter's mother is a very wonderful woman who befriends Lute and will do anything for her. When Helen dies from the Spanish flu Lute is devastated. She has never lived without her sister.

This book takes you through a lot of grief and heartache. It also takes you through what it's like to be a sister. A friend. A fiancé. To be able to trust people who you may not would have. It lets you see the real lives of people during a time when they need each other. It does not dwell on the flu to the extent that you will lose interest. It dwells on the sisters and what all they go through. Then the one sister and how her life changed after a few losses. After she tries to adopt Dorothy and is turned down because she's a woman. An unmarried woman. How she overcomes that. How she finds true love. How she deals with life.

This book takes you through the lives of a few women and a child. The horrible things that happen to some of them. How they coped. This book is truly told in a way that you will be able to feel the pain these people feel. It does contain some talk about rape and a child being molested in the worst way by her own father. About a priest who is a rapist. Could be a huge trigger warning but it's still a very good book. It shows how you process these things. How these women dealt with them. How they understand what each other feels. How they try to shelter each other.

This is truly one heck of a book. One that will stick with you for a while. It was that good.

Thank you to #NetGalley, #SandraDallas, #StMartinsPress for this ARC. This is my own true thoughts about this book.

5/5 stars and I highly recommend it. It's really a good book.
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This was my first novel by Sandra Dallas and it did not disappoint. This historical fiction novel centers around two sisters during 1918 flu epidemic and World War I. The author did a wonderful job of blending factual historical events with a fictional story.

Even though we are living in our own pandemic, I enjoyed reading about the details of the 1918 flu epidemic. For me, the ideas presented in the novel about how people thought they could protect themselves from getting this deadly flu, political affiliation and avoiding certain foods, just to name two, provided a break in the heavy content.

If you are looking for a novel with historical facts and emotional content, this one is for you. This will be a novel I won't forget. I look forward to reading more books by this author.

I would like to thank NetGalley and the publishing house, St. Martin’s Press, for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions written in this review are my own. My review of Little Souls can be found on Goodreads, Amazon, my Instagram and Facebook book club page, and my local library website.
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~~~ I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~~~

Little Souls is the second Sandra Dallas novel I've read, and I must say I liked this one way less than the first one I read (The Persian Pickle Club).  Overall, this book was too depressing for me, as it depicted one tragedy after another- just so much loss!  This is the story of two sisters, Lutie and Helen, and a "third little sister" that they adopted figuratively and ultimately legally, Dorothy.  While I appreciated the strong relationship between the three girls, it wasn't enough to make me love the book in general.  Little Souls follows the sisters as they navigate life in Denver, Colorado during WWI and the Spanish Influenza pandemic.  There are a lot of correlations between the timeframe of this story and the current world climate: pandemic and world unrest/uncertainty.    This is a story of survival, grief, uncertainty, and family.  Though it was not my favorite book, it may be worth a read for you, as you might enjoy it more than I did!
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Little Souls, takes place in Colorado where a a tale of sisterhood during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 unfolds.  With ww1 raging overseas, schools were converted into hospitals most  everything else was closed, including churches and funeral homes.  

The two sisters find themselves in a precarious situation caring for a young girl after the death of her mother, more deaths, tragedies and secrets unfold. They all find their way as the sisters navigate their way through the many challenges they face, they are determined and headstrong. 

The characters are well developed, multi layered, and likeable, Their qualities are complex, yet compelling, and you want them to get out of the situations they find themselves in, 

Sandra Dallas did a lovely time transporting us back to a time parallel to the current pandemic of today. It was interesting to see the differences and similarities to the handling of todays pandemic. 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a digital copy of this book for review.
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A really interesting historical fiction! Not sure that I was ready for a pandemic-related story, but the pandemic and war didn't play a huge part in the storyline, although it did impact the main character through certain events. The inclusion of a mystery/sketchy character (Mr Streeter) was interesting, and I felt like that really drove the story forward. 

Luti, as a main character, frustrated me. She had a passive role, and I felt that Helen, as a main character, was more interesting and had more  of a voice. Luti saw things happening and reacted, as opposed to Helen, who made things happen. 

The second half of the story was definitely more interesting and engaging than the first, where a lot still had to be set up. Little clues were dropped about where the story was going, but it took me a while to feel invested in the ultimate story. 

One thing that kind of bothered me was that there were some really detailed descriptions that didn't feel necessary. And the ending with Luti and Gill ending up together felt weird, although I could see how that was necessary. Lots of trauma happening to women in this book but not a lot of healing. 

Overall 3.75/5 stars.
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The story of the Spanish Flu epidemic  is hauntingly relevant as we cope with another year of our modern-day pandemic.  Sandra Dallas uses that story as the backdrop to her tale of two sisters in  Denver in 1918.   Opportunities for women, briefly opened by the absence of men away at warfare, are tenuous, but Lutie and Helen are getting by renting out their basement to a family.  But the family’s troubles become  their own when the mother dies and the abusive, drunk father disappears,  leaving a little girl to be cared  for.  Helen and Lutie are wonderful characters, and the story is rich in period details.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Right away the storytelling begins, and I was all-in.  I love a good story.  The subject matter is dark; Dallas lightly brushes on incest, death, murder, war, and child prostitution. She uses WW I and the Spanish Flu as her historical backdrop. 

The story begins to lose steam halfway through.  The writing is well done.  The simplicity of the story in conjunction with the topics mentioned above became a little aggravating at the (60-70% marker). This 10% was rough.  The sweetness of the book and what takes this to the next level is the ending.  Dallas was able to swing the pendulum from meh to wow.  

Kudos to Sandra Dallas for writing a beautiful book without profanity.  The "damn" was noticed and appreciated.  

Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for accepting my request to read and review Little Souls.  

#NetGalley
#LittleSouls
#SandraDallas
#StMartinsPress
#HistoricalFiction
#SpanishFlu
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Thank  you to St. Martins Press and Net Galley for the advanced readers copy of this book!

This book has wonderfully written characters, I was able to picture them perfectly in my minds eye!  I found the chapters very palatable and it kept me turning the pages.

The themes throughout the book were rather dreary and depressing, however.  Some readers may find them triggering (rape, pandemic).  

I am a big fan of historical fiction and will definitely pick up another Sandra Dallas novel with lighter content in the future!
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Little Souls by Sandra Dallas. Pub Date: April 26th, 2022. Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟. I always appreciate a fresh historical fiction novel and this one fit the bill. Set during the deadly flu pandemic, this is the story of sisters who are forced to grow up, navigate unknown times, take in an orphaned child and somehow survive one of the deadliest medical situations in history. I loved the setting, the relationships and the demonstrations of hardships these characters faced during this time period. It was an easy, but important historical fiction read. Thanks to @netgalley and @stmartinspress for this e-arc in exchange for my honest review. #bookstagram #bibliophile #igreads #bookworm #stmartinspress #littlesouls
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This was a very timely story about the 1918 Spanish Influenza. It took place in Dallas, and followed the story of Helen and Lutie( Lucretia) as the pandemic began to ravage America. The story is filled with emotion, mystery, sisterhood, strong women and secrets. I loved the writing and the parallels to how everything changed when Covid hit in 2020. I loved the character of Lutie and everything she tried to do for her family. The bond between her and her sister was also well written. Seeing the parallels between the two pandemics was very interesting. 
The characters were lovable and relatable, I found myself rooting for the sisters who went through so much during this time. I haven’t read too much historical fiction on the 1918 pandemic so I learned a lot. I would like to read more by Sandra Dallas. She wrote strong characters and a moving story. 
Thank you to St.Martin’s Press and Netgalley for the e-galley in exchange for the honest review.
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Compelling and timely Little Souls is the story of what makes family.  1918 and two sisters that lost their parents move west settling in Denver where they end up becoming guardians to a little girl and  each find a man to love. But there's a war and a flu pandemic that must be finished before they can be truly happy.
This is the first Sandra Dallas book that I've read and I enjoyed it a lot.  Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I received an advanced reader copy of Little Souls from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley, in return for my honest opinion.

Little Souls by Sandra Dallas is a story about love the family we choose. In Denver 1918, the Spanish Flu is raging, making the world of sisters, Helen and Lutie, very small. Helen, is an exhausted, overworked nurse that never turns a patient away and is engaged to Gil, a young medical student. Lutie is a laid-back, easygoing artist that works in the advertising department of a women’s fashions store and has a tendency to turn a blind eye to what’s going on around her.

The Streeter family rents a basement apartment from Helen and Lutie. Mr. Streeter runs off, leaving his wife, Maud, and daughter, Dorothy, behind. Helen and Lutie take in Dorothy after Maud dies from the flu. One night Lutie comes home to a gruesome scene- Mr. Streeter dead in the kitchen, Dorothy shell shocked and Helen holding an ice pick. They decide to leave Mr. Streeter in an abandoned lot with a note indicating he’s a flu victim. However the police discover that Mr. Streeter met his demise due to foul play and Mr. Streeter’s business associates are snooping around the house while Helen and Lutie try to keep Dorothy safe while riding out the pandemic.

This was a slow moving story that pulls you in with the parallels to our recent pandemic. Little Souls is available now.

#sandradallas #littlesouls #netgalley #arcs #advancedreadercopy #historicalfiction #historicalfictionbooks #readin2022 #stmartinspress #whatthebook #bookreviews #readersofinstagram #bookaholic
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Thank you Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC of Little Souls by Sandra Dallas. What an amazing, and timely, story of the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918. This is set in Denver and tells how sisters deal with the influenza and the heartbreak it brings. Helen and Lutie are sisters and need to take in a tenant’s daughter, Dorothy, when the mother dies of the influenza and the father disappears. The fact that the father is a bootlegger provides an interesting angle in the story. The author paints a story that breaks your heart and then fills it back up again with hope for the future. I wish I read this sooner but I couldn’t have read it faster. If you are looking for historical fiction that is not about a war, this is a wonderful book to devour.
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I felt like I was living in Denver in 1918 while I was listening to this book on tape!  Sandra Dallas did an impeccable job of researching the town and the time period.  The parallels between the Spanish Flu and Covid 19 pandemic were very interesting.  
Helen and Lutie are sisters who are navigating life in America while there is a war going on in Europe.  There weren’t many opportunities for women during this time.  Women had jobs, but were expected to quit and raise a family when they got married.  Both sisters have steady boyfriends, but of course there are challenges along the way.  I liked the character of Lutie, but I can't a grown woman could be so ignorant about so many things.
This book focuses on thinking about others' needs before your own.  If you like books about people facing hardships, this book is for you. The narrator’s voice was overall pleasant to listen to. 
I want to thank the author, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of the audio book. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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I really enjoyed Little Souls, but I felt like it was five stories in one. The cast of character was rich and well written. I could picture them and got a feel for who they were. There were just so many things happening. 
Is this a war story? A pandemic story? A family story? A murder story? The answer is yes to all of those things. 
I kept picturing it like a tv show and each few chapter could have been a whole new season. So many things happened to Lutie that it was almost unbelievable. It didn't let you sit with the joys and tragedies for very long. It was an enjoyable story though and I might recommend it for someone interested.
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Historical Novels Review, May 2022:

In the winter dusk as Lutie walks home from work, a dying man lies on the ground, another victim of the influenza which has its grip on Denver in 1918.  Handkerchiefs cover noses as passersby hurry on their way, knowing that nothing can be done without putting their own lives at risk.  The circling death wagons will eventually pick up the body.  A shaken Lutie arrives home to find the house in disarray and another dead man on the kitchen floor.  Her sister, Helen, is holding a bloody ice pick while little Dorothy stands by.

Lutie and Helen had moved to Denver after the death of their parents to start a new life.  They bought a house, renting out their basement to the Streeter family.  Mr. Streeter was a violent man toward his wife and daughter, Dorothy. The sisters took in Dorothy when her father disappeared and her mother died of influenza.  Mr. Streeter has reappeared and now lies dead on the floor.  As women, self-defense isn’t a justification, but with so many bodies left outside, could he be mistaken as victim of influenza?  “Little Souls” is an ancient reference to the downtrodden and oppressed. Dallas shows how women and children are treated in early 20th-century society and not given a voice or legal recourse against offences.  This is a tender novel of love, loss, and family support, but it cuts deep with injustices committed against “Little Souls.”

Sandra Dallas is a Denver author who has written numerous historical novels, many based in Colorado.  In Little Souls, she brings early 20th-century Denver landmarks into the story, places that remain in my memory of the 1960s.  Her depictions of the influenza pandemic ring true to us today.  She has again given her readers a wonderful story with strong women facing deep wrongs and finding redemption and love.
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