Book Review: Alice’s Tulips by Sandra Dallas


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. 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 discovers her own hidden strengths. Rich in details of quilting, Civil War-era America, and the realities of a woman’s life in the nineteenth century, Alice’s Tulips is Sandra Dallas at her best.

It took me a while to get into the writing style – it is where one sister (Alice) writes letters to her sister Lizzie. Some of it is a little forced (reminding her sister as to how many brothers they’ve got for instance) in order to get the back story in, but it’s minor and soon got over.

The letters are one sided (you never get to read the replies) and tells of two years on a farm with Alice, her mother in law and various waifs and strays, all whilst Charlie is off fighting in the Civil war.

Alice tries to bear the unwanted attention of a local womaniser, but never contemplated that she would be accused when he turned up dead on their land. There are also diversion in some of the other women in the town (you hear little of the men).

Once I got past the slightly unusual format, I enjoyed reading this book! Although reading through this review again, I can remember little of the story itself now, and it has blended with several other civil war quilting books that I’ve read in the last few years, so dont know if that reflects well on this book or not



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