Winner of the 2023 Colorado Book Award for Historical Fiction
A Denver Post bestseller
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.
"The 1918 flu pandemic (a frightful parallel to the coronavirus pandemic) is the backdrop, but this really is a story about sisterly love. Bring a tissue. " —The Washington Post
"[Dallas is] also a Colorado literary pillar, having appraised nearly every Colorado book worth reading in recent years—and writing more than a few of them herself." —The Denver Post
"This is a tender novel of love, loss, and family support, but it cuts deep with injustices committed against “Little Souls.” —Historical Novel Society
"Exhilarating and hard to resist." —Katherine Powers, The Washington Post on Westering Women
“Putting down a Sandra Dallas novel is nearly impossible.” —Daily Camera (Boulder, Colorado) on Prayers for Sale
“As heartwarming as a homemade quilt.” —USA Today on A Quilt for Christmas
“Both heartwarming and emotional...[reminding us] of the importance of love, family, and the memories that we hold dear as we age.” —Historical Novels Review on The Patchwork Bride
“A born storyteller, Dallas excels not only at plot but also at peopling her novels with memorable individuals.” —Richmond Times Dispatch on True Sisters