Historical Fiction, Medical Fiction, World War I Fiction
Macmillan Audio & St. Martin's Press
April 26, 2022
Audiobook, Kindle, Hardcover
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.
Historical fiction is one of those genres that I just can’t seem to stay away from. It is my safe space, and I generally come to it when I need some comfort, or I just need to know for a fact that I will enjoy whatever it is that I am picking up. It isn’t very often that I find myself disappointed in this genre, and this book was no different. Though it wasn’t my typical historical fiction romance, yet I was not disappointed at all by it.
A Brief Overview
This story follows two sisters, Helen and Lutie, during the height of the Spanish Flu, World War I, and horrible, horrible men. Helen is a nurse and Lutie wants to be an artist, but they get by with a little help from renting out their basement to a family, but with some unfortunate turn of events, they find themselves caring for the little girl after both of her parents end up dead… One from the flu, and the other from an icepick…
The girls know that no one will believe them that the murder of Dorothy’s (the little girl they are now responsible for) father was in self-defense, so they try to pass him off as a flu victim. At this point, about everything that could go wrong, does, creating a truly tragic story.
I really didn’t expect this book to be as completely devastating as it was, but I can’t bring myself to say that was a bad thing. Everyone needs a good emotionally blindsiding book every now and then. At every turn, I was rooting for the story to pick back up and be happy again, but my hopes just kept getting crushed. I think Sandra Dallas did an amazing job creating loveable, realistic characters, as well as creating a story that had so many twists and turns, I never knew what was going to happen next. I think this was a really amazing story that felt so real and authentic. It deals with some sensitive subjects like sexual abuse, so definitely be mindful going in, but I truly did love this story and think it is something that more people should read!
Carly Robbins was the narrator for this book, and I think she did a fairly good job. I always like it when my narrators try to give the different characters voices, but if not, they at least need to feel like they are truly in the moment and not just read a book to me. Though Carly didn’t really give each character their own voice, her narration still kept me in the moment throughout.
Leah is a life long, fully devoted book-worm. Not only has she been an avid reader since she was young, she also has an English Degree and works as an author PA. Leah also enjoys writing, and has always found herself drawn toward literature in all its forms – novels, short stories, poetry, fanfiction, etc. She is a military wife, a cat mom, and a true homebody. Her favorite genres are romance, high fantasy, and anything paranormal.