Sandra Dallas's Little Souls is a gripping tale of sisterhood, loyalty, and secrets set in Denver amid America’s last deadly flu pandemic.
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.
Set against the backdrop of an epidemic that feels all too familiar, Little Souls is a compelling tale of sisterhood and of the sacrifices people make to protect those they love most.
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Average rating from 188 members
Plot: 4.5/5 Characters: 4/5 Writing: 4/5 Little Souls takes place in Denver, 1918. The Influenza has hit the population badly, and the men are still away at war. At 19, Lutie Hite is a carefree artist working in advertising for the local department store; her older, more careworn, sister Helen is a nurse. Through an interesting set of events they become responsible for Dorothy, the ten-year old daughter of their now deceased tenant. From these beginnings follows a fairly wild, often heartbreaking, but ultimately heartwarming ride. I’m a big Sandra Dallas fan. Dallas writes Western historical fiction about strong women making it through adversity with fortitude, intelligence, and the help of their community. She always brings in the small details of life in that particular time and place to make everything ring true. Her stories tend to the dramatic, but never go over the top and feel quite realistic for their time. She is even-handed about how people thought and behaved at the time — different characters have different opinions on everything from mask-wearing (ha!) to personal morality, and no opinion is presented as obviously better than the others. Religious feeling and participation was a big part of life in that place and time, and I liked how she treated it. While this in no way dominates the book, there were some beautiful passages about how individual characters felt about God that moved me, despite my not being religious myself. This is a real page-turner — I’m afraid I annoyed my husband by reading on into the night…
I've read every book Sandra Dallas has written, love her books. Little Souls - from a Roman Emperor: the poor, hopeless, the common noone notices Applies to all in 1 way or another Travel to Colorado in 1918: street cars, Prohibition, "war almost over", Liberty Loan Parade, Spanish Influenza Pandemic... you will feel you are a part of the times A girl's life is changed drastically many times. Descriptions of that pandemic ring true today. I got wrapped into book and hungrily devoured every word! Love Sandra Dallas!
I received an ARC of LITTLE SOULS by Sandra Dallas. In this timely novel set during the Spanish influenza pandemic, two sisters struggle to protect a young orphan girl left in their care. Lutie, Helen and Dorothy face many tragedies as war and disease devastate their lives. Will their strength, intelligence and compassion be enough to help them survive? Sandra Dallas writes strong women characters, who face realistic challenges in a too often cruel world. This novel will have you crying and cheering as you read their poignant story. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I love Sandra Dallas’ writing and this book couldn’t be more timely. Her stories of living through the Spanish influenza pandemic are so in tune with the COVID mess of the past two years, it felt like it was a contemporary tale. I recommend this to anyone who likes a good read.
I loved this book. Taking place in Colorado in 1918 during the Spanish flu outbreak, many parts of this story hit close to home. It’s a relatable read considering the times we’re living in today. It tells the story of two sisters who are very close, despite their differing personalities and characteristics- one a nurse with a pretty serious temperament and the other a laid back, happy go lucky fashion advertiser. It’s about family, relationships, and the bonds that develop between the family you’re born with and the family you make. Reminiscent of a Kristin Hannah novel. Would definitely recommend to others and I will be looking for more Sandra Dallas books for sure. Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and author for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my review.
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. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️