Cover Image: Little Souls

Little Souls

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Member Reviews

Well written with great history about the Influenza pandemic. I thought I would feel more depressed about reading it, but instead, like all good history, I felt as if I learned something by reading this book. It is sad, with grim and hard hitting twists and turns, but it was still a very good story.

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Little Souls was a trip into history during the time of the Spanish Influenza that gives you an idea of how a pandemic effected life during that time. The correlation between that pandemic and our current one left me speechless at times by their similarities from false information regarding “remedies”or being infected by eating Spanish food. This books shines the light on how these factors still need a resolution, and how the lack of preparation for this current pandemic put us in an even more precarious situation. History does repeat itself and this books shows how we can grow to prepare for when this happens again.

I really enjoyed the character development of Lutie and Helen and how it showcased their sisterly bond, and how that bond helped shape their relationship with Dorothy.

As whole I loved the history the book focuses on while incorporating lovable characters.

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Little Souls takes place during the Spanish flu pandemic. Helen is a nurse who lives with her sister, Lutie, and a young child, Dorothy, who they are hoping to adopt after she becomes an orphan. The circumstances of her father’s death plays a part in their decision. The sisters are fairly well off and perfectly capable of raising this child as long as they can maneuver through the maze of the how’s and why’s Dorothy came to live with them.

Though the story is about love, loss, friendship and the rigors of living through a pandemic, the ultimate storyline focuses on family, both by blood and by choice.

I was so drawn in by Lutie, the protagonist, and found myself in tears reading about her struggles and her losses. From the first page, I knew this book would be informative and enjoyable.

It’s hard to say too much without giving away the special moments.

4/5 stars

Thank you NetGalley for an ARC of this amazing book.

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This was my first book by Sandra Dallas and I did really enjoy it. I absolutely love stories about the Spanish flu and novels set during WW1. It was heartbreaking but told beautifully that I felt as though I really knew the characters in the end.

There was excellent research done for this novel, especially concerning the way the Spanish flu was handled in the community. How fascinating to learn about the bodies left outside with signs on them, or even to just learn about the symptoms so in depth. Kudos to the author for her research!

This was a great period novel and I will be recommending it to my friends who are interested in this era.

Thanks Netgalley and the publisher for the advanced copy!

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Little Souls is several important stories, all well-told, all interesting, all relevant to each another.

Lutie and Helen Hite are young sisters who move to Denver as the country struggles to survive the Spanish flu epidemic.. They rent the basement apartment of their home to a couple with a young daughter. Circumstances occur that leave the young daughter orphaned, and the sisters take the child in to live with them.

Dorothy, the orphaned child, has come from a home in which she was abused by her father, her uncle, and possibly others. Her story is told honestly and with empathy, without graphic or garish detail.

As the flu epidemic rages throughout the country, WWI rages across Europe, and Helen's'fiance is sent to France. Peter is the only son of kind and loving parents who embrace Helen, Lutie, and Dorothy as family, looking after them and caring for them. Helen also becomes engaged, to Gil, a young doctor who is daily exposed to the devastation caused by so much illness.

Lutie's and Peter's, and Helen's and Gil's lives take unexpected turns, as did the lives of many others during similar circumstances. Sometimes, though, broken places mend. Do they not?

This was a difficult time in the life of our country and a difficult time in the lives of the Little Souls characters. Despite the sadness and heartache, it is a redemptive story - much like "real" life.

I so much enjoyed getting to know these people; so much enjoyed reading about their lives. I highly recommend it as a good place to go, for a little while.

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Loved this book! As a nurse dealing with a pandemic now I found it very compelling and relatable. It had just enough drama, suspense, and interesting storylines to keep me fully engaged.

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She is one of my favorite authors and this book doesn’t disappoint. I loved the characters are dynamic and engaging. Dallas has a way with western historical drama like no other.

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It's been a LOOOOONG time since I've read a Sandra Dallas book, and I sure did miss her. Back in the day, I read everything of hers as soon as I could, but then my reading interests shifted a bit, and the last book of her's I read was in 2011 ('The Bride's House').

'Little Souls' is a story about love, loss, and redemption, with a tiny little mystery thrown in. Taking place during the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic and WWI, there is a LOT of loss in this book and a lot of abuse (Trigger Warning: rape, child rape, human trafficking). In fact, it seems a bit dark for Sandra Dallas, but I like that she didn't sugar-coat the time period. Life was NOT easy back then, especially for two young sisters living alone together with an abusive tenant renting out their basement apartment.

While the story is sad, the ending was satisfactory. You could see it from a mile away, and there were absolutely NO surprises here, but after so much loss and heartbreak, it was actually kind of nice to have a happy-sappy ending. I felt like some of the characters were finally catching a break.

Overall, I'm very thankful that I was given the opportunity to read this ARC (thank you, NetGalley), and while not perfect, I did enjoy the story. It made me remember how much I missed a good Sandra Dallas book.

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I finished Little Souls in a short two days. I have always been a fan of Sandra Dallas, especially her Prayers for Sale and True Sisters. This novel was about two sisters living together after losing both parents, during WWI, one as a nurse one as in a department store dress designer, all while dealing with the Spanish Flu pandemic. It felt much like it feels right now with Covid. The city shutting down, wearing mask, being cautious...etc. I was intrigued with the story and the mystery of what happened with Dorothy and her father from the beginning. I even shed tears quite a few times. But it was a wonderful story. Nicely done.

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Really a great author with a lot of wonderful books under her belt. The period of this time is a favorite of mine and would loved to have lived then. She tells of 2 ladies who live and work during the plague of influenza. One is a nurse that works with these poor souls and the other is a designer. They become care takers of a small girl and the story begins with a murder in the house. A must read.

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Whatever made me request a book that had as a subject the 1918 Spanish Flu. The answer, of course, is the author. I have enjoyed her books before and couldn't resist. I was not disappointed even though as I'm reading this, we are going through another horrendous pandemic. But this wasn't just the pandemic, it was family, it was secrets, it was WWI and so much more. There may come a time, some time in the distant future, when someone writes about Covid-19, and the times we live in now. I can only hope that person "puts pen to paper" and writes one that is as good (if not better) as this. My thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Sandra Dallas’ latest novel, Little Souls, focuses on two sisters who are living in Colorado during World War 1 and the influenza outbreak of 1918. Helen, the elder sister, is a nurse who constantly deals with patients, the epidemic, and exhaustion. Lute, her younger sister, is a graphic artist who is more carefree and is interested in fashion. An inheritance allows the sisters to buy a house outright in Denver and they rent the basement apartment to the Streeter family. The story kicks into high gear when Lute comes home one night to find Helen and the Streeter’s daughter, Dorothy standing over a recently deceased Mr. Streeter in the kitchen. The mysterious and seedy circumstances surrounding Mr. Streeter’s death quickly become the meat of the plot, while the sisters’ desire to adopt Dorothy amidst the toll of both the war and the influenza twists their path.

Previous readers of Sandra Dallas’ other novels will no doubt enjoy this new foray into the turn of the century West and the issues that affected women who lived there.

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Little Souls by Sandra Dallas is a historical novel set in Denver, Colorado in 1918. It starts off strong as the main character Lucretia, or Lutie, as she’s called is walking home from her job. She comes across a small crowd gathered around a soldier, watching as the poor man dies from Spanish Flu. Hurrying home, Lutie is fraught with concern about what she’s just witnessed, only to find an even more shocking scene awaiting her in her home.

Lutie lives with her sister Helen in a small house with a basement. They recently rented the basement to a troubled family. The only member of that family still with them is young Dorothy, who Helen and Lutie have taken in and are raising as a sister. But with Spanish Flu raging across the country and the threat of a criminal element lingering around the corners, the two ladies are in for a challenge.

Little Souls starts strong, but it turns into a very quiet and subtle novel that explores the ties that bind people together and how family is defined. Sandra Dallas has done a good job weaving the threads of many characters together in a satisfying tale of love and bravery in the face of terrible realities.

*I received a copy of Little Souls from St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

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I have always loved Author Dallas' work, thus I feel bad this is my first official review I am leaving of one of the novels. I love how she incorporates my home state of Iowa into many of her novels, and this one ending up in Colorado really made my heart sing. But what is the best part of ANY novel by Sandra Dallas is the way she weaves lives together. And often her main characters are sisters or family of some kind and this time is no different.
We grow to love and lend our support to Helen and Lutie quickly due in large part to Dallas' writing but also because of the situations they are thrust into. The women never have a day or minute without worry and hard work to stay a float ...and stay alive.
A fantastic narrative on a dark time in American History in an Era often showcased on the East Coast or over seas, not out in the middle of America's Rocky Mountains.
Do not miss the fragility of the way life is explored in this novel that will tug at your heartstrings.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy of this book.
I thought the sisters had a great relationship. I really liked how they opened up and let others into hearts. It was a great story and a happy ending.

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This was an interesting read. By the end, I was caught up in the drama of two sisters’ lives unfolding. I couldn’t wait to find out how it would all be resolved. I was hoping for a happy ending, and I did find it but not without a few tears along the way.

Our protagonist reflects and accepts the values of society’s view at the time, 1918. A pandemic is raging and after two sisters contact the disease, it’s as real as our current crisis. I felt the loss personally, as one loses her battle to the virus.

A fortunate connection between the protagonist and her fiancé’s family allows our heroine to proceed more smoothly through her difficulties than without their assistance. However, she’s not relying on it. She has gratitude and understands the family’s grief at the loss of a son as well.

A compassionate and caring woman with presence of mind to continue through misfortune brings me to admire her inner strength.

I hesitated to proceed with this book early on. I found that there was more telling than showing in the early chapters. I found a disconnect with time which confused me. It was all resolved by a third of the way through the book and by the end I was right on the page with the heroine.

I recommend this book but do have to caution about topics of rape, child abuse and murder. It’s not a cozy because of these topics but does not delve too deeply into the acts to trigger more than necessary. It’s essential to understand the desperation and fear that she feels.

I received the ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. #NetGalley

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Set in 1918 during the Spanish Influenza in Denver Colorado, with WW1 in the background, this novel grabbed my attention and didn't let go. Two brave sisters Helen (22) and Lutie (19), after the death of their parents move from Cedar Rapids in Iowa and buy a modest home with plans to live on the main floor and rent out the lower floor for income. Helen is a nurse looking for work and Lutie an artist trying to find her place in the world. It all seems like a great plan until the Streeter's move in and the sickness hits.

Together Helen and Lutie navigate living in a time of sickness and fear of getting sick, they handle the repercussions of living during war time where so many young men are killed overseas or sent home disfigured and forever changed, they manage relationships and deal with separation and loss, and they are thrown into the dangers of bootlegging and gangs because of prohibition and their love for Dorothy. Through it all they stick together, protect one another and piece together a family from tragedy.

These two are women before their time and their bravery and heart made for an unforgettable read. I really loved this one and I will definitely be recommending it.

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One of the best books I have read so far this year!!!

I highly, highly recommend!

Please, do not hesitate to read this one!

You will be so very, very glad you did!

Absolutely loved this book.

I am searching for more by this author!

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Little Souls is full of emotion, drama, and suspense - I could not put it down. It's very fast-paced and written so well. I loved the characters so much, especially Dorothy. She was so sweet and innocent and I loved her relationship with Lutie and Helen. I was so invested in her journey to be adopted by Lutie. I was frustrated when they hit roadblocks in the adoption process; I just wanted Dorothy to finally have a happy family! This book had me incredibly invested and I loved every bit of it. It is definitely a new favorite of mine.

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In Little Souls, Sandra Dallas draws readers into the world of Denver, Colorado during the dual threats of World War I and the Great Influenza. Main character Lutie Hite and her sister Helen moved to Denver after the deaths of their parents. Helen, a nurse, is on the front lines of the battle against the deadly influenza pandemic, while Lutie maintains her easy drift through life. As an illustrator for advertisements, she lives in a sheltered world of scarves and stoles, hemlines and hats, far from the realities of the world. When their tenants leave a ten-year-old daughter orphaned, Lutie and Helen take custody of her, believing she has no other family. But as the war sends Lutie's fiance to Europe and the flu ravages society, their young charge Dorothy will change their lives permanently as they learn more about her past and finally share the hidden secrets from their past.

Dallas has crafted a solid plot with a good complication and realistic rising action. The significant plot events are believable and authentic, especially when girded by the realities of the war and the pandemic. Her cast of characters is varied and easy to get to know, and they flesh out the plot in meaningful ways. Readers see the lowest underbelly of society's brothel-owners and bootleggers along with the upper echelons of Denver's population. The vilest kidnapper and the most pampered society wife are equally believable through Dallas's characterization. The only plot element that stretches credibility is the prevalence of sexual abuse, with three significant characters having a history of abuse. In some cases, the abuse is credible in this story, but in at least one it feels forced as Dallas tries to make a "too-perfect" match between characters.

While the supporting characters add life and diversity to the story, as a protagonist, Lutie feels aloof, self-absorbed, and less likable than other characters in the story. While the medical student Gil is genuine and kind with understandable reactions, Lutie seems almost unknowable, and this makes it harder to feel her grief and joy. In fact. her emotions are only briefly described and seem less important to Lutie than her fashion designs, her job, and her observations of life around her.

Similarly, Lutie's sister Helen seems exhausted by her work and burdened with secrets, but her personality is not rounded out with moments of contentment or joy. When readers learn more about her past, her burdens are understandable. She would be more relatable and realistic, however, if readers could also see the traits that drew her fiance Gil to her, that make Dorothy love her so much, or that show the rich history between herself and her sister.

Despite Lutie's and Helen's gaps in characterization, this story is engrossing, well-paced, and meaningful. It captures the fear and hopelessness of our worst pandemic and the war's dark cloud over society as well as the booming growth of Denver as a city in its own right, growing out of its mining past. Most importantly, it shows the ability to grow out of one's past and into the future one chooses, and that is a moral that will always be valuable to readers.

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