Press about Author Sandra Dallas
WHERE COYOTES HOWL
A beautifully rendered love letter to the early 20th century West from a master storyteller.
1916. The two-street town of Wallace is not exactly what Ellen Webster had in mind when she accepted a teaching position in Wyoming, but within a year’s time she’s fallen in love—both with the High Plains and with a handsome cowboy named Charlie Bacon. Read more »
RELEASED DECEMBER 2022
Life in 1880 Tenmile, Colorado, isn't easy. But it's all that 12-year-old Sissy Carlson knows. She's lived here her whole life, watching her father, the local doctor, tend to the town's citizens. And while the mountain setting is gorgeous, Tenmile is a rough gold mining town. It often feels like there's just a thin line between life and death. Mining is a hard job; men are hurt or even killed. Sissy sees the same thin line between the haves and the have-nots as she assists her father in his practice, seeing firsthand the personal and not-always-private struggles of his patients. Now that she's older, Sissy is starting to think of the world beyond Tenmile and where she might fit in. What opportunities might she find if she could just get away? What kind of future does Tenmile offer, especially for a girl? A poignant coming-of-age middle grade novel by New York Times-bestselling author Sandra Dallas.
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RELEASED APRIL 2022
Lutie, an artist in the advertising department of a downtown Denver store, comes home to discover her sister, Helen, standing over a dead man, a knife in her hand. The dead man is the abusive father of a little girl the sisters took in after her mother died of the flu. The sisters have no idea of how to dispose of the body until Lutie suggests they leave it on the street for the death wagon. But the police aren’t fooled and soon come asking questions.
Meanwhile, Lutie also worries about her fiancé ”over there”. His mother, it turns out, harbors a secret of her own and helps the sisters as the danger deepens, from the murder investigation and the flu. Set against a background 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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RELEASED SEPTEMBER 2019
In 1933, what's left of the Turner family--twelve-year-old Hallie and her two brothers--finds itself driving the back roads of rural America. The children have been swept up into a new migratory way of life. America is facing two devastating crises: the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Hundreds of thousands of people in cities across the country have lost jobs. In rural America it isn't any better as crops suffer from the never-ending drought.
Driven by severe economic hardship, thousands of people take to the road to seek whatever work they can find, often splintering fragile families in the process.
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RELEASED JANUARY 7, 2020
“If you are an adventuresome young woman of high moral character and fine health, are you willing to travel to California in search of a good husband?”
It's February 1852, and all around Chicago Maggie sees the postings soliciting "eligible women" to travel to the gold mines of Goosetown. So she joins forty-three other women and two pious reverends on the dangerous 2,000-mile journey west. None of them are prepared for the hardships they face on the trek through the high plains, mountains, and deserts. Or for the triumphs of finding strengths they did not know they possessed. And not all will make it.
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The Patchwork Bride
Released on June 5, 2018
From the best-selling author of A Quilt for Christmas comes the irrepressible story of a runaway bride.
Ellen is putting the finishing touches on a wedding quilt made from scraps of old dresses when the bride-to-be unexpectedly arrives and announces she’s calling off the marriage. With the tending of June’s uncertain heart in mind, Ellen tells her the story of Nell, a Kansas-born woman who goes to the High Plains of New Mexico Territory in 1898 in search of a husband. Stay tuned here for reviews to come.
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Published March 2018
Praise for Hardscrabble from Kirkus Review, January 15, 2018
A close-knit family endures the rough life of farming in Colorado in the early 20th century. Hail, snow, locusts, sickness, death—the list of setbacks encountered by the Martin family as they try to earn their homestead by farming the dry ground of Colorado is a long one. But they can depend on one another for love and support, and they rely on their friendly neighbors for everything from food when times are especially tight to a helping hand in a snowy emergency. And it's not all hardship. There are fun parties, plans for college, and holiday celebrations. Told from the point of view of 12-year-old Belle, who is pleased to discover that their nearest neighbor is a woman on her own, proving that women can be independent homesteaders, the details of rural American life are rendered with care and precision in Dallas' third novel for children. The story occasionally offers events that feel too convenient and even saccharine, as when neighbor Hans Kruger saves the children from a snowstorm and thus proves himself to be a kind and generous soul, far from the dangerous German immigrant most thought him to be. A white cast of characters populates this book set in the 1910s, with obvious parallels to the Little House series. A traditional addition to the genre of frontier living.
Praise for The Last Midwife, Published September 29, 2015
In 1880, a wealthy mine owner in a small Colorado town accuses the local midwife of murdering his infant son. Gracy Brookens is put on trial, forced to defend not only herself, but everything she represents. On one side are the local doctor and the undertaker who reject Gracy as a superstitious, untrained quack; on the other, generations of mountain women who pass down knowledge of herbs and other folk remedies in addition to birthing babies. The trial polarizes the community and portrays the age-old struggle between progress and tradition. While the tension and “legal thriller” aspect of the novel are well-paced, its true strength lies in a deep commitment to setting and time period. The mining town way of life is clearly hard, but Dallas’ characters live with dignity and maintain their senses of wonder at the beauty of the natural world. Gracy herself is refreshingly human, and the poor mountain people she helps are expertly sketched to be interesting, believable characters rather than mere types (with the exception of the wealthy Halleck family). As one might expect, the women carry the story, but the men, though perhaps more flawed, are still significant and sympathetic. Dallas (A Quilt for Christmas, 2014, etc.) clearly spent time researching midwifery practices of the time period, and the details of childbirth, both successful and complicated, are unflinching but also show great respect for women like Gracy who truly have a calling. This is a novel that celebrates women: their unbreakable bonds, their unselfish love for their children, their incredible capacity to endure. Like Gracy, the novel may seem delicate but its strength is in the layers. A period piece with a contemporary soul. —Kirkus
News about True Sisters
Sandra Dallas has done her historical homework to create True Sisters, a first-rate novel about a heartbreaking disaster—the Mormon handcart ordeal. There is no harder story in the entire epic of America’s hard road west. Her lively and unpredictable characters, women, men, and children, rejoice, suffer, perish or endure—and grow. She reminded me of why I am so jealous of novelists, who can bring the past alive in ways far beyond those who must follow rules and regulations that bind and limit historians. True Sisters mercilessly, unsparingly, and accurately recreates a time, a place and a tragedy that captures the contradictions and consolations of faith.
– Will Bagley, author of The Pioneer Camp of the Saints
Northwest Book Lovers, June 18, 2011
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The Denver Post, May 7, 2011
Novelist Sandra Dallas shares her Bride’s House altered state
Lesa’s Book Critiques, May 6, 2011
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Booking Mama, April 29, 2011
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Reading the Past, April 23, 2011
News, views and reviews of historical fiction by Sarah Johnson