… It means the poor, the hopeless, the common people nobody ever notices. In truth, it applies to all of us. We are all lost little souls in our own way.—Sandra Dallas, Little Souls
Sisters Helen and Lutie move to Denver from Iowa after their parents’ deaths. Helen, a nurse, and Lutie, a carefree advertising illustrator at a fashionable women’s store, share a small home and rent out the basement apartment. But the epidemic hits hard. Schools are converted into hospitals, churches and funeral homes are closed, and horse-drawn wagons collect corpses left in the street. When their tenant dies from the flu, the sisters care for the woman’s young 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. What the sisters discover is heart wrenching and disturbing on many levels. While Little Souls is peppered with tragedy, the message of hope permeates the sorrow.
First off, I adored the historical perspective Sandra Dallas provided about World War I and the Spanish Flu outbreak in Denver, details I’d not read elsewhere. In one scene, she used the term “blue devil” for those experiencing grief and/or depression. Isn’t that descriptive? The relationship between the sisters was a thing of beauty; they would have done anything for each other.
I sure wanted to like this book more. Unfortunately, I found it to be predictable and lacking in depth. I was shocked Dallas overused “that,” which is a rookie writing mistake. She’s far from a rookie: she is the New York Times best-selling author of fifteen adult novels, two young reader novels, and two non-fiction books. The writing was so saccharine I literally rolled my eyes a time or two, but the storyline itself was a winner. 3.5 stars.
Published Date: April 2022
Genre: Historical fiction
Read-alikes: As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner; The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue; The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman
** Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for review copies of the eBook and audiobook. The opinions expressed here are my own.