Author: Sandra Dallas
Published by: St. Martin's Press on Aug. 22, 2023
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: St. Martin's Press
Book Rating: 8/10
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.
Immersive, tragic, and hopeful!
Little Souls is an alluring tale set in Denver during 1918 that takes you into the lives of two sisters, Lutie, a young fashion illustrator and Helen, a hardworking nurse whose lives are unimaginably changed forever when they decide to take in and protect their renter’s ten-year-old daughter Dorothy from an abusive father all while dealing first-hand with devastating losses both from the great war and the ravaging Spanish flu.
The prose is vivid and smooth. The characters are kind, dependable, and resilient. And the plot is a moving tale of life, loss, heartbreak, abuse, determination, hope, loyalty, tragedy, secrets, survival, friendship, love, war, and the sacrifices of life during an influenza pandemic.
Overall, Little Souls is a rich, informative, uplifting tale by Dallas that does an exceptional job of highlighting the special bonds that exist between sisters while reminding us of the incredible impact the great war and the influenza of 1918 had on the people whose lives it touched both at home and away.
This novel is now available in paperback.
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Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.