Cover Image: Little Souls

Little Souls

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Dream About Clowns

Set in 1918, Denver Colorado, in the middle of WWI and the Spanish Flu Epidemic. This book hits close to home with the current Covid pandemic in our country. The masks, the closures, and the shortage of medical staff to deal with the epidemic. Schools in Denver were closed to use the schools as hospitals for those ill with the Spanish Flu.

Two sisters, Helen and Lutie struggle with day to day activities during this time. Lutie's fiancee Peter is overseas fighting, Helen is a nurse engaged to a doctor. Both Helen and her fiancee are working frantically to save those ill with the influenza.

With everything going on in the city, due to the influenza and because of it Lutie and Helen find themselves in charge of a young girl when her mother dies from the flu and her father abandons her. That's small stuff compared to tragedies and trials that follow later in the story.
It is truly a harrowing story but filled with loved for one small child that has everyone under her spell and the sisters willing to do anything to save her.

This was a great read and I would recommend it.

Thanks to Sandra Dallas for writing a great story, to St. Martins Press for publishing it and to NetGalley for making it available to me to read and review. All Comments are my own.

Was this review helpful?

I was drawn to this book by the title and the cover. Historical novels are one of my favorites at the moment.

Little Souls is about 2 sisters living in Denver during the Spanish flu pandemic. One is a nurse (Helen) and the other (Lutie)draws advertising for a store. The 2 sisters are both sweet young ladies though the older one is withholding a huge secret. They both have a love interest.

Many intriguing elements are present: love, loss, murder, sickness, kidnapping, bootleggers. There are some tense moments because of these elements.

But, somehow the story misses the mark for me. It held promise for me at the beginning but I just could not get excited about picking it up every time I got a spare moment. I can't really pinpoint the reason why. Perhaps not enough depth. The majority of reviews give it 4 and 5 stars, so I am assuming this is a “me problem”. Perhaps I am trying to read this at the wrong time for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an Advance Readers Copy to me.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for an advanced copy of this book.

Little Souls deals with some very tough subject matters so it was difficult to read at times. Thankfully, it was not overly descriptive for which I was thankful.

Two sisters, Helen and Lutie Hite find themselves on their own after their parents die. They decide to move to Denver Colorado in 1918 to start anew. Helen is a nurse and Lutie is a fashion designer that writes ads for a high end retail store. She is an artist and designer but hasn't been able to fully put her dreams to work. Helen finds herself working overtime as a nurse dealing with the Spanish Flu. Helen has a boyfriend that is also a Dr. and she works with him a lot. Lutie is dating Peter who is thinking of going into ministry but instead goes to war. They take in a 10 year old little girl who loses her mother to the flu and the father has left. Helen, Lutie and now Dorothy become a family of sorts. There is a lot of abuse and trauma in this little girl's life and a lot of grief for Lutie. Peter dies at war, Lutie gets the flu and recovers and then Helen also gets the flu.

Can Lutie protect little Dorothy from evil that is lurking? The ending is very sweet and after all the hardships that we read it is nice to have a good ending.

Was this review helpful?

Little Souls
by Sandra Dallas
Pub Date: April 26, 2022
St. Martin's Press
Thanks to the author, St. Martin's Press, and Netgalley for the ARC of this book.
Sandra Dallas's Little Souls is a gripping tale of sisterhood, loyalty, and secrets set in Denver amid America’s last deadly flu pandemic.
* Historical Fiction * 20th Century * WWI
Sandra Dallas presents a time period in history where the trials of life were around every corner. People leaned in on the bare necessities and weren't privy to more sophisticated means of "dealing" with the cruelties of challenges and tragedies. You just walked full force into the storm.
Little Souls is well-written and well-presented with the question asked of just how we address the failings of humanity in the winds of the present. Great book!
4 stars

Was this review helpful?

Historical fiction is my first love. It seems 9/10 historical fiction books are all about WW2 so this was a refreshing break and such a unique peak into the late 1910s, WW1 and the Spanish Flu. A delightful read!

Was this review helpful?

This review will be posted on April 12, 2022 to:

This was a little too melodramatic for my taste. Also, I didn't love the abrupt ending and the short epilogue felt hammy. I will give the author major kudos for capturing the historical time period. From turns-of-phrase to attire to outdated beliefs, it's clear she did her research into Denver at this specific moment in history. #LittleSouls Rating: 😐 / meh, it was ok

This book is scheduled for publication on April 26, 2022. Thank you @stmartinspress for providing me this digital ARC via @NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Little Souls is set in Denver, Colorado during 1918. World War I overseas is powerful, intense, and seems out of anyone’s control. Back here at home, everyone is doing everything they can to survive the Spanish Flu Epidemic. Bodies are piled up on corners, picked up by the death wagons drawn by horses. School gymnasiums are turned into Hospitals and schools are closed.

Sisters Helen and Lutie moved to Denver in 1914 from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after the death of their parents. Helen has a nursing degree and was offered a job at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver, while Lutie had went to a Welsh Design School, then registered at the University of Denver to study for a degree in fine arts. She was able to find work as an advertising designer at a women’s fashion store named Neusteter’s.

The sisters were able to sell the house in Iowa and purchase one close to the downtown area of Denver, while renting out the basement for additional income. The current tenants are Ronald and Maud Streeter, along with their daughter Dorothy.

Helen met her fiancé, Gilbert Rushton, at St. Joseph’s. He is currently finishing his internship as a doctor. Lutie also has a beau named Peter Howell who was introduced to her by her friend Florence. Peter is a divinity student at the University of Denver Iliff School of Theology. After he has made the decision to enlist, Lutie and Peter become engaged before he takes off on his mission overseas.

When Maud Streeter suddenly dies from the flu, Helen and Lutie take on the responsibility of taking care of her daughter Dorothy as Ronald Streeter has once again disappeared. Not too long after the death of Maud, Lutie comes home from work and discovers a dead man in their kitchen and Helen is standing above the body with an icepick in her hand. Lutie believes beyond any doubt that Helen killed him – Dorothy’s father Ronald- in self-defense but knows it will be hard for them to prove. Ronald Streeter abused Maud and his daughter Dorothy on many occasions over the years. They decide to take his body to the vacant lot down the street and disguise him as a flu victim.

With this situation upon them, Lutie worrying about Peter overseas, Peter’s mother harbors a secret of her own and helps the sisters as the danger heightens, from both an ensuing murder investigation and the outbreak.
As we follow the stories of Helen, Lutie, Dorothy, Gil, and Peter, we see how the love for sisters and family are deep and bonds are developed, and how far you will go for those that you love and how one cares for and helps “those little souls” you encounter.

Peter says “Little Souls” means “the poor, the hopeless, the common people nobody ever notices. In truth, it applies to all of us. We are all lost souls in our own way.”

The story and characters draw you in from the beginning. It is hard not to compare the setting of this story to our current situation. We as a country now have had to face another epidemic and face some tough decisions, be there to protect and be with the ones we love. We also formed strong relationships and bonds that have helped us through. There are those such as our nurses, doctors, police, and even someone you know that helps all “those little soul’s” they encounter.

This is a remarkable read that keeps you on your toes until the very end. It makes you feel for the sisters, and the other characters for the loss that is encountered. If you have a bond with a family member or a relationship that is as strong as these are, it is something not to take for granted.

This is the first book I have read by Sandra Dallas, and I am looking forward to reading many more. Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and Sandra Dallas for an Advanced Readers Copy in exchange for my honest review. #HistoricalFiction #LittleSouls #SandraDallas #NetGalley #StMartinsPress

Was this review helpful?

I would like to thank St. Martin's Press and Net galley for giving me the opportunity to read this book as an ARC. This book takes place in 1918, towards the end of the First World War and during the Spanish Influenza Pandemic. It is the story of 2 young women, Lute, who does advertising drawings for a department store in Denver Colorado, and her sister Helen who is a nurse. Helen and Lute left home after their parents died and bought a house in Denver. When the story begins, Lute is engaged to a young man , Peter, who is a Divinity Student . Peter has enlisted and is now in France fighting in the war. Helen is dating a young doctor, Gil. Helen and Lute and rented the basement apartment of their house to a family named Streeter. The Streeters have a daughter, Dorothy. Much of this is shared in flashbacks. Mrs Streeter dies of the influenza, Mr. Streeter has disappeared and Helen and Lute are caring for Dorothy. The book opens on the scene that is the linchpin- Lute comes into the house to see Mr. Streeter dead on the kitchen floor and her sister Helen holding an ice pick. Dorothy is there as well. The story then gives us the backstory as well as the forward progress. It is story of love , of loss, of happiness and great sadness. The War and the Pandemic are the backdrop, the story is the relationship between Helen, Lute and Dorothy, sisters by biology and by love. It is bleak in many ways. I really felt a few times that I could not go on reading , it was so sad. But it was also uplifting and heartwarming. It is well crafted, even to an epilogue tying up any loose ends. It is well written.

Was this review helpful?

Can we just pause and admire the cover of Little Souls by Sandra Dallas? It’s what caught my eye!

The year is 1918 and the Spanish flu is going around. Two sisters move to Colorado after the death of their parents. There is Helen who is a nurse and Lutie, a designer at a women’s store. They take in a tenant to live in the basement but when they die, the sisters must step in and care for the young daughter left behind. One day, Lutie arrives home from work to find a dead man in the house and her sister standing there with an ice-pick.


That’s the premise for this book which contains a little of everything: domestic violence, love, murder, suspense, and yes, it’s a heavy read.

Colorado, 1918. World War I is raging overseas, but it’s the home front battling for survival. With the Spanish Flu rampant, Denver’s schools are converted into hospitals, churches and funeral homes are closed, and horse-drawn wagons collect corpses left in the street. Sisters Helen and Lutie have moved to Denver from Iowa after their parents’ deaths. Helen, a nurse, and Lutie, a carefree advertising designer at a fashionable women’s store share a small, neat house, and each finds a local beau—for Helen a doctor, for Lutie a young student who soon enlists. They make a modest income from a rental apartment in the basement. When their tenant dies from the flu, the sisters are thrust into caring for the woman’s small daughter, Dorothy. Soon after, Lutie comes home from work and discovers a dead man on their kitchen floor and Helen standing above the body, an icepick in hand. She has no doubt Helen killed the man—Dorothy’s father—in self-defense, but she knows that will be hard to prove. They decide to leave the body in the street, hoping to disguise it as a flu victim.

Meanwhile Lutie also worries about her fiancé “over there.” As it happens, his wealthy mother harbors a secret of her own and helps the sisters as the danger deepens, from both the murder investigation and the outbreak.

If you are in the mood for a serious, sobering, and detailed read, you will definitely want to pick up Little Souls when it’s out on April 26.

Was this review helpful?

Little Souls by Sandra Dallas is the poignant story of two sisters, Helen and Lutie, united by love and loss during a turbulent time in history, WWI and the Spanish flu.

Living in Colorado, Helen works hard as a nurse taking care of sick patients while her fiancé Gil works tirelessly by her side. Lutie works as a graphic artist designing fashion ads for Neusteters, an upscale department store, while happily engaged to Peter, a theology student.

Life is hectic, but becomes more complicated when the sisters take in Dorothy, a young adolescent whose mother dies from the flu and father suddenly disappears. As time goes by the women become so attached and protective of their ward they begin to think of her as their sister. But, danger lurks and soon the sisters realize young Dorothy could be in trouble. As the war wages on in Europe and patients die daily from the flu, help for Dorothy will come in the most unexpected of places. Little Souls by Sandra Dallas is a bittersweet novel that will touch your heart as you turn each page.

This is my first Sandra Dallas novel, but I know I will search out others. I love the way she created her characters in Little Souls. The sisters Lutie and Helen were gentle, loyal sisters and the men in their lives faithful and true. The bad guys she created were despicable and I cheered for their demise. It was a toss up, but I always like to name my favorite characters. Lutie and Anne, Peter’s mother, tied for best character for me, both wise and fiercely protective of those they loved. If you love historical fiction and stories of loyalty and family devotion, then Little Souls by Sandra Dallas is a good choice for you.

I want to thank Netgalley and St Martin's Press for an ARC of Little Souls. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to St Martin's Press and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sisters Lutie and Helen have relocated to Colorado after the death of their parents to start a new life. Helen is a nurse and Lutie is a advertising designer at a woman's store. Not only is there a war still going on in Europe but the Spanish flu is running rampant through the states. As a nurse, Helen has been run ragged caring for those that have contracted the flu, including her younger sister, Lutie.
I found this to be a very relatable read considering our current challenges regarding covid-19. The sisters talk of cinemas being closed and the banning of large gatherings such as weddings and funerals. There were references to home remedies practiced by people to ward off the Flu, including one of carrying an acorn in your pocket.
This book is full of heartbreak but also looks toward a possible future of happiness for the characters. Not everyone survives but those that do live in appreciation of the relationships they had and the new ones created.
Great story.

Was this review helpful?

3.5 stars

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an egalley in exchange for an honest review.

Straight-up honesty from this avid reader, I talk a lot in my reviews about falling fully immersed into the narrative. As much as I enjoy Sandra Dallas's novels, this historical fiction set in Colorado during World War I, Prohibition and the Spanish Influenza took me a while before I really got into the story.

Sisters Helen and Lutie along with their young charge, Dorothy held a bond of true sisterhood during a time when the world around them was very turbulent. Author Sandra Dallas does not censor the many effects of influenza on its young patients and for a while, it seemed that the characters faced one tragedy after the other. My own heartfelt very turbulent! That being said, I never felt that the plot was overdramatic, it still kept a very realistic feel.

Expected Publication Date 26/04/22
Goodreads review published 30/03/22

Was this review helpful?

Little Souls piqued my interest for its setting (Colorado), characters (two sisters with their own careers and house during WW1 era) and premise (using the Spanish flu to disguise a potential crime), however, this book ended up being a little far fetched to me to say that I loved reading it. I did enjoy all of the characters (the sisters, their love interests, the little girl) and the way that they come together. Without giving too much away, the far fetched parts in this historical fiction seemed too frequent and the ending was wrapped up a little too perfectly.

Was this review helpful?

It took me a while to start this book because I thought it was going to be depressing because of the Spanish Flu component. And certainly there are difficult parts overall it was a great book and very timely. This is my first book by this author but I will definitely try others.

Was this review helpful?

I received this an ARC through Netgalley. Little Souls was a wonderfully crafted story during the time of the Spanish Flu and WWI. Lutie and Helen take in their downstairs tenant's young daughter, Dorothy, after her mother dies of the flu and her deadbeat dad is no where to be found. The three bond instantly as sisters. What should have come next for this trio should have been times of laugher, kinship and moving forward. But in the volatile times they were in they were met with tragedy and heartache instead. Sandra Dallas has crafted wonderful historical fiction piece of work.

Was this review helpful?

I love historical fiction because I get to learn so much new information while being engrossed in a story.

I did learn a lot from this one and appreciate that aspect. I also really enjoyed getting to walk down the streets and see the landmarks of Denver. I’ve lived here for 8 years and much of it was spent living in the same areas this story takes place.

The part that didn’t quite work for me was the flow of the story. The way the story was written wasn’t clear as to how many days, or weeks, or possibly months had passed. Then it would drop in a line like “it’s only been a few weeks.” It made the experience more disconnected as I tried to understand the timeline of events.

Overall it was a nice story with some very sweet characters.

Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for the digital arc in exchange for an honest review!

(Will post to insta and goodreads closer to pub day)

Was this review helpful?

Set in the time of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, the story follows the lives of two sisters, Helen and Lutie, who move to Denver from Iowa after their parents’ deaths. As the flu ravages the city, the sisters find themselves thrust into caring for a small child, Dorothy, whose mother has died from the disease. When it becomes clear that Helen killed Dorothy’s father in self-defense, the sisters must go to great lengths to keep the truth hidden.

Sandra Dallas is a master of Historical Fiction, and Little Souls is a prime example of her talent for weaving together fact and fiction to create a compelling story.

Little Souls is a heart-wrenching, yet uplifting story of love, loss, and hope against one of America’s deadliest epidemics. With its timely themes, this novel will resonate with readers long after the last page is turned.

Was this review helpful?

by Sandra Dallas
St. Martin's Press
Pub Date: Apr 26

I HAD to read Little Souls as soon I learned it was set in Denver during the Flu Epidemic of 1918. It has such a compelling storyline involving two sisters, Helen, a nurse, and Lutie, a woman's store ad designer. Soon, they find themselves caring for Dorothy, the daughter of their tenant who died of the flu. They're also impacted by a terrible tragedy, while secrets, the war, and the Pandemic swirl around them.

The author has written such a gripping tale that I read it in two hungry gulps, intrigued by the deftly penned narrative and the well-developed characters. A must-read for histfic fans and for those intrigued by WWI and the 1918 flu.

Thanks to the author, St. Martin's Press, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine.

#LittleSouls #SandraDallas #stmartinspress
#NetGalley #historicalfictionnovel #wwifiction #1918fluepidemicfiction #denverfluepidemicnovel #bookstagramcommunity

Was this review helpful?

I received this from

"Set in 1918 against the flu epidemic and WW1, Helen and Lutie have moved to Denver from Ohio after their parents’ death."

I keep reading always with the desire to learn something new, a tidbit of history I have never heard before, and this book is stuffed with factoids of history. But unfortunately, not only did the history feel like it came straight from dusty history books (and Wikipedia), this is a very predictable and sappy story with modern-day behavior that would have ostracized young women of that era .. and I saw the ending after just a few chapters.


Was this review helpful?

This historical fiction novel is set in the times of the Spanish Flu. I wasn't sure about the topic, while our world is in the midst of Covid, but I'm glad I decided to give it a try. The hardships the families endure are similar, though from a different time. The characters are relatable. Some are loveable and some are easily detested, but each is important to making the story realistic. An enjoyable read that may keep you thinking. Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher, for an ARC ebook of Little Souls by Sandra Dallas, in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?