Cover Image: Little Souls

Little Souls

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With the pandemic and Afghanistan, Little Souls by Sandra Dallas could have been set in today's world, but it was not. This book transports the reader back to the early 1900s when Helen, Dorothy, and Lute were dealing with the Spanish influenza and WWI. Lute designs ads for a department store in Denver and Helen is a nurse. When their renter dies of influenza, the young women take the daughter, Dorothy, to live with them. The things Helen and Dorothy have to deal with make for a compelling story. They do not know their strength and determination until faced with unexpected challenges.

Whether it's nursing a sick person, protecting a mother and child from an abusive husband and father, these two women are up to protect those little souls.

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Little Souls, by Sandra Dallas, initially caught my eye because it is set during the first World War, a time period less common in historical fiction. The focus is on two sisters living in Denver during the height of the 1918 Influenza. The connections to our current global pandemic made this set-up intriguing; what was the American homefront like a century ago with a virus ravaging communities and uprooting everyday lives?

The book is very readable historical fiction with the added benefit of a murder mystery also propelling the plot. The characters are sketched out well. I really liked the main character Lutie, the younger sister who is working as an advertiser for a department store in town. Her relationship with her sister Helen, a nurse, is central to the story. The sisters form a relationship with the young daughter of their basement renters, and she becomes the catalyst for much of what happens in the second half of the book. I enjoyed how everything played out, and the ending feels satisfying and realistic.

The asides about life during a pandemic were interesting. Having a nurse for a leading character allowed the reader to see what the medical treatments and knowledge were at the time about the "Spanish Flu." Exposition about people wearing masks out and about in society hit home as that's been our reality for the last year. The author also includes a good note at the end of the book referencing Covid-19 and giving more historical information.

This book is fairly heavy at times. The author does not sugarcoat life at the time. Several characters suffer, and there are some deaths as well. I've included content warnings at the end of this review, but would note, nothing is discussed graphically or gratuitously. Everything that happens is very true to the times.

Content Warnings: rape, child abuse, murder. (Nothing described in graphic detail.)

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Thank you to Net Galley for giving me this opportunity to read the book 'Little Souls'. The story takes place towards the end of WWI. The two sisters Lute and Helen lost both parents, they then move to Denver, Colorado. Lute works in advertising at a department store and Helen is a nurse. They both find love, but then there is the outbreak of the Spanish Flu.
The sisters rent the basement of their home to a family of three.
The story kept getting intense as the sisters are dealing with, death, murder, kidnapping.

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Originally from Iowa, Lute and Helen are sisters who live in Denver since their parents died and left everything to them. Lute is a fashion ad artist for a local department store and Helen is a nurse. Lute is engaged to a divinity student who has gone to France in the war (WWI). Helen's fiance is Gil, a local physician. The city is plagued by the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 in addition to the war effort going on on the home front.

This book expertly expresses the culture and angst of the time period. It is well researched and informative as well as a riveting story. I couldn't put it down. Put it at the top of your reading list!

I have voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that I received from NetGalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

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I received an ARC of Little Souls from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Little Souls is about two completely different but close knit sisters Lutie (design advertiser)and Helen (nurse). They’re grown women that recently moved to Denver from Iowa after their parents died. It takes place during WWI in the midst of the Spanish Flu pandemic. When their tenant dies of the Flu they take over taking care of her daughter Dorothy. One day Lutie comes home to find Dorothy’s father murdered on their kitchen floor. They dispose of the body by pretending he died of the Flu. But will they get away with it? Who actually did it?
The characters were a little predictable and flat. I found I didn’t really like any of them. I think the synopsis pulls you in and disappoints because it was more of a light read and didn’t go that deep. The one thing I really disliked most of all was how Lutie was a grown woman but Helen treated her like a child by shielding her from everything. I understand their mother died, but it was a little over the top when they’re both in their 20s, own a home, and both have good jobs-regardless that it was a different time. I did appreciate the realistic approach to the Flu symptoms, where Harris did her some research, but I do wish it contained a little more detail. The book has a little mystery, lots of love, and strong female sisterhood.

If you like light historical fiction reads, you’ll probably like this one.

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The timeliness of this release and how the feelings and handling of the Spanish Influenza closely mimic the current season we’re in shows us this is nothing new. Life and vile deeds still go on within the midst of loss and despair. This is a great story for bringing joy in the midst of hopelessness and reminding us there is hope even when we can’t see it.

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Lutie and Helen sell their family home in Iowa, pack up their belongings and decide to move to Denver at the beginning of WWI. There,they buy a home near downtown and take in boarders, Maud and Dorothy, as well as Maud’s abusive husband. After Maud dies from influenza and Lutie comes home to find Helen standing over a dead body in the kitchen while she’s holding an ice pick. Did Helen murder someone to protect her little family or is there a darker, more sinister story there?

As Lutie navigates one tragedy or obstacle after another, the reader sees the deep bond she has with a Helen, Dorothy, and Mrs. Howell, Peter’s mother. This book is about the strength of a sisterhood, one of birth and/or circumstance. This book spotlights not one, but several strong female characters. The title of this book comes from Lutie’s fiancée, Peter, who talks about little souls - those less fortunate or in despair. Throughout the story, you will hear people referred to it for the circumstances they are going through. It also refers to each of the main characters in some way. This book is a quick read and I found it quite enjoyable. I will be reading more from Sandra Dallas in the future. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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This might be my favorite Sandra Dallas book ever. I was immediately involved in Lutie, Helen and little Dorothy’s lives. I could see the house, hear the street cars and feel the winter snow. It is also so interesting to see how people lived and adapted to the Spanish flu. How different it must have been during this time combined with also feeling the loss of loved ones during the 1st World war. This book has it all. Sisterhood, friendship, heartache, compassion, love. Definitely one of my favorites and perfect for today’s challenging times.

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Little Souls, by Sandra Dallas, is the story of two sisters living in Denver during the Spanish Flu epidemic. There are many parallels to today, so this intrigued me.

Overall, the premise of the story and the plot line were quite interesting. I remember reading another book of hers, The Quilt Walk, - with my teen daughter - and we enjoyed it a lot.

The writing in Little Souls was extremely simple. It lacked detail or description. It felt as if the author was maybe in a rush to get this to print because of the current pandemic.

I got used to the short sentences and trudged through because I wanted to know the outcome, and it was a quick read. I didn’t dislike reading it because it was a good story - I just needed more detail!

Because of the writing style, however, I didn’t get to truly know or care about any of the characters.

I had high hopes for this book but was disappointed.

This one receives three stars ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️.

Thank you, @netgalley and @stmartinspress for the ARC.

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Thank you to St. Martin's Press, Sandra Dallas, and NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of Little Souls in exchange for an honest review. This novel comes out on April 26, 2022, and I highly recommend picking up a copy when it does!

Set in Denver, Colorado in 1918 amid World War I and the Spanish flu epidemic, the story follows two sisters as they navigate the many hardships of the time period, several of which continue to be prominent issues today. Sisterhood, sacrifice, love, and loss intertwine to set the backdrop for a compelling story about what it means to be a family through serious hardships, and the lengths that one will go to protect his or her loved ones.

It is evident that Sandra Dallas spent a lot of time and effort researching everything about this time period, from the physical setting to the political and social issues to the fashions and modes of transportation. Dallas effortlessly weaves these details into the story to perfectly capture the zeitgeist of 1918, allowing the reader to be fully immersed into the life and times in which the characters are navigating. Additionally, with the current COVID-19 pandemic, I found this novel's commentary on the Spanish flu epidemic very timely, albeit eery, with how closely the flu epidemic over 100 years ago echoes our current situation.

The plot moves along quickly, and the story is, quite frankly, hard to put down. The characters are well rounded for the most part. The only criticism of the characters I have is that the detectives' behavior and dialogue did not always seem believable to me personally. Otherwise, the characters really stood on their own in this novel and drove the plot along. Dallas does not sugar coat the suffering that the characters endure. Instead, she presents these hardships in ways that the reader can better relate to and empathize with, without being too harsh or crude.

Overall, I would rate this novel between 4 and 5 stars, and I look forward to the next work of historical fiction that Sandra Dallas releases!

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Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read Little Souls by Sandra Dallas so that I may provide an honest review.

This was my first work by Sandra Dallas and as a fan of historical fiction and interested in the subject of the Spanish Flu, I was immediately intrigued when reading the description of Little Souls. The saccharine dialogue that bothered me in the beginning of the book became easier to overlook as the plot was crammed with loss, heartache and twists, most of which the reader can anticipate, but nonetheless keeps the story interesting and moving along. Little Souls is a quick, interesting read with a neat, although expected, ending.

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I love historical fiction. Little Souls is from an era I don’t read as frequently but was sucked in. The Spanish flu pandemic hit on so many current emotions with our own struggles due to Covid-19. The tragic losses that Lutie suffers is more than anyone should bare. The twists with Dorothys parents also kept me flipping pages. What a great read! Fast paced, relatable characters and heart wrenching tragedy. 5 out of 5 stars for me!

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Little Souls by Sandra Dallas is a lovely historical fiction novel about the bond between two sisters during the WWI and the 1919 Flu pandemic in Denver. I loved this book despite that fact that there were a few too many “coincidences” and shared experience among the characters.

I read a lot of historical fiction. This one had a great plot — lots going on besides the influenza. I think we all realized that life still happens even during a pandemic.

The book wasn’t totally plot driven, however. There are wonderful three dimensional characters many of who turn out to be very different from our first impressions of them.

If you like historical fiction and are looking for books NOT set in WWII, I highly recommend this book. Warning it won’t be published until April 2022. Thanks NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the advance copy.

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I enjoyed reading this book. I am a fan of historical fiction and the writer had me hooked from the beginning. This book has more plot than just the pandemic. The women were resilient and overcame many obstacles. I would recommend this book to readers who like historical fiction and strong characters.

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This was my first Sandra Dallas book. I selected it because the plot sounded very interesting and it was free from Net Galley--Thank you! I was not disappointed and I finished it in several settings.
The plot had controlled twists and turns, and the characters were fleshed out nicely. Even the minor ones had enough information given for the reader to feel a connection to them.
I feel the star of this novel was how Dallas wove both the Spanish flu and WWI into all of the happenings of the story. It was almost as if they were separate characters. She also gave a nice historical context on the flu after the end of the book.
As much as I enjoyed this book, I kept having the feeling that all of the plot twists were being solved in too neat a manner. Yes, there was tragedy, heartache and even incest/child abuse. But all of the surviving characters moved along and settled into their new lives in an orderly fashion. All of the rough edges were smoothed over nicely. I don't think at any time did I feel any real angst or terror over a situation because the resolution wasn't far behind. While the above situations gave depth to the story, their consequences were not elaborated on and perhaps makes those topics easier to read about.
I was surprised at the insite into the ramifications of incest attributed to this time in history. I wonder about the accuracy since it has always been a topic kept in the shadows.
I think for the reader who enjoys a book where they learn something new about a topic, engage with the plot and characters and do not feel emotionally bruised afterwards will certainly enjoy this one.

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I was given an ARC electronic copy of this book by NetGalley for a fair and honest review. I will admit I am always one to buy any new Sandra Dallas book that is published no matter the subject. This book did not disappoint. It is setting is during WWI and the time of the Spanish Flu. It deals with this subject in some ways. However, the major focus of the book is what really makes a family. There were times when the book nearly brought me to tears and there is a bit of mystery that takes place inside of the telling of the story. Some of which will catch one off guard. I would highly recommend this book!!!

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This was not an easy read, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. Lutie and her sister Helen are living in Denver in 1918, the height of the Spanish flu epidemic. There was so much loss and sadness in this book, also centered around World War I. Definitely one that will stay with me for a good while - the characters, their stories and the ending. I was compelled to finish to hear what happened to the characters, even when their story was heart-wrenching and sad. Thank you to NetGalley, Sandra Dallas and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Loved this book. It was fascinating how the Spanish influenza impacted the lives in the early 1900’s and how the corona virus is impacting the world now. It made me feel like we will preserve. I loved the characters, especially Mrs. Howell and Gil. Lute and Helen were strong heroines that inspired me.

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Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for my honest review.

I love a good historical fiction novel, and this didn't disappoint. Lutie and her sister Helen live together in Denver in 1918, the height of the Spanish flu epidemic. This novel delves into the battle the sisters fight against a deadly epidemic while World War 1 rages on overseas. The writing/dialogue was a TOUCH saccharine at times, and it seemed like every single thing that could possibly go wrong did (but I'm sure that was just the way it was for many families). This was not an easy read, especially when we are in the midst of our own pandemic. However, it was very well done and will stay with me for a while.

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Orphaned sisters, Helen and Lutie, live in Denver during WWI and experience the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918. Their downstairs neighbor ends up dying of the flu leaving behind her previously abused daughter, Dorothy. The sisters refuse to give the child over to an orphanage and want to adopt her formally. Helen is in the habit of taking care of people as she is a nurse, so when the abusive father comes back for more, she takes action to defend her new sister. To protect each other, the little family decides to dispose of the body as if he died of influenza while hoping no one will miss such a terrible human being and that they will be allowed to stay together.

There are so many similarities between the 1918 influenza epidemic and the current global pandemic we are going through. Reading this story makes me so thankful for the modern drugs, medical equipment, and procedures that we are blessed with today. I grew attached to the characters in this book and was compelled to keep reading even when their story was heart-wrenching or sad. Even with the sadness associated with sickness, abuse, and death the underlying message was hope, strength, and love associated with God and close relationships. I will think about this book for a long time as some of the scenes are permanently ingrained within me now and I would recommend it to other readers.

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