On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
This book has been on my shelf for a long time. I picked it up at a used bookstore several years ago. When I was looking for a book set in Iowa for my Literary Escape Challenge this one popped up and I knew I had a copy of it somewhere around here. It was just a little buried on my TBR shelf.
Setting – Iowa
St. Martin’s Press (October 16, 2000)
Hardcover : 240 pages
ISBN-10 : 0312203594
ISBN-13 : 978-0312203597
St. Martin’s Griffin (September 18, 2001)
Paperback : 256 pages
ISBN-10 : 0312283784
ISBN-13 : 978-0312283780
St. Martin’s Press; 1st edition (April 1, 2007)
Kindle Print length : 295 pages
ASIN : B001QS9TP2
Alice Bullock is a young newlywed whose husband, Charlie, has just joined the Union Army, leaving her on his Iowa farm with only his formidable mother for company. Equally talented at sewing and gossip, and not overly fond of hard work, Alice writes lively letters to her sister filled with accounts of local quilting bees, the rigors of farm life, and the customs of small-town America. But no town is too small for intrigue and treachery, and when Alice finds herself accused of murder, she must rely on support from unlikely sources.
Eighteen-year-old Alice Bullock had been married just 6 months when her husband Charlie left her and his mother on the Iowa family farm to join the Union Army. It is not the life Alice expected at all but she had no choice but to pitch in and do the hard work alongside her mother-in-law. She does enjoy quilting and she and the local ladies start to make quilts using her design for the troops. Sadly, she has drawn the attention of a local man and he doesn’t appreciate her rebuffing his advances. When the man is found dead everyone knows he was pursuing young Alice so they believe she killed him.
Will she be cleared of the crime? Will Charlie come home?
The original interest I had in this book was the quilting theme and the cover grabbed my attention. Before each chapter, there is a description and history of a block pattern.
The entire story is told in letters that Alice writes to her sister Lizzie in Illinois and to her husband Charlie. At first, I wasn’t sure if I could read a whole book set up that way but soon I was hooked by Alice’s reports and replies to her sister who was also facing turmoil in her own marriage. Alice was basically written off by her parents so her sister was the only one of her family members she was communicating with and that added a little twist. Her letters to Charlie were more to support him and let him know how much she missed him. Any problems on the homefront were not reported to him. He could do nothing about them and she and her mother-in-law knew he needed to concentrate on staying alive. Alice and for that matter all the characters change a lot over the course of the book by the things they must endure and just daily life in the 1860s with a country at war. The relationships evolve in interesting ways. Sandra Dallas is known for creating and writing about strong women. This book is full of them.
The murder mystery happens later in the story but it is a very important part of the story. Alice really had to grow a tough skin and depend on people she could trust to get passed the gossip, dirty looks, snide comments, and back-turning. There are some great twists that turn the mystery on its head, not once but twice.
I ended up really enjoying the unique way the author told the history of the time in the small Iowa town.
Alice’s Tulips was such an interesting story. The letters very filled with depth and surprising topics. Things you would only share with your sister or with a husband you love and miss so much.
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
About the Author (from Amazon)
Dubbed “a quintessential American voice” by Jane Smiley, in Vogue Magazine, Sandra Dallas is a New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen adult novels, several children’s novels, and numerous works of non-fiction about Western subjects. Her adult novels, which include Prayers for Sale, Tallgrass, and The Persian Pickle Club, all share themes of loyalty, friendship, and human dignity and have been translated into a dozen foreign languages and have been optioned for films. Her work has won or been nominated for numerous awards and prizes and in 2021, she was inducted into the Colorado Authors’ Hall of Fame. A former bureau chief for BusinessWeek magazine, Sandra lives in Denver and Georgetown, Colorado with her husband and with her two grown daughters nearby.
I am giving away my used paperback copy!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.
Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.
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The Contest Will End September 8, 2023, at 11:59 PM CST
The Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
The Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.
*This book was from my private collection.