Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Bride's House

The Bride’s House

So, what happens when you get an advance copy of a book in the mail from a publisher and it just happens to be the The Bride’s House by Sandra Dallas. Well, of course you sit down to read the back cover and then you are so intrigued you sit down to read a few pages. The next thing you know you have finished the book – in one night.  That is what I did. Although I was already a big fan of her books I found the style of writing to be different than her other books – wonderful in a slightly more lush style -  and the story will resonate with women of all ages about the choices we make from the options that life brings to us.

The three generations of women in this novel that range from “Nealie,” a battered but strong girl who strikes out on her own to build a new life in Colorado during the late 1800’s and finds love with two very different men.  Later comes another woman, quiet and dutiful who must find her own happiness as she lives a life shaped by her father’s memories. Finally, there is Susan, a child of privilege who may have the chance to find her dreams in Georgetown, Colorado. The legacy of the house all three women have shared and loved is the tie that binds and the place of secrets – “The Bride’s House.”  Will the house bring them happiness or heartache?

With the Colorado mining industry as the historical background, Sandra Dallas weaves another tale of lives touched by love, misery, heartache, misunderstandings, loss and hope.  A saga for those who enjoy her books and for anyone with a yearning for a touch of romance or a passion for historical novels. Beautifully written, the characters are voiced with understanding and love. Truly an effort worthy of the author’s reputation for excellence!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Threads West - A Saga to Skip

In Threads West  the adventure begins just as the book ends. The worst part is that there are five more books in the saga.  It could easily be two books if the author had condensed the material, focused on the story and spent less time (the entire first half of the book) developing each character’s history when it could have been integrated into the story. Just as the characters (from several countries who all end up in St. Louis and all have a link to a treasure map and all set out on the same wagon train headed west) finally have some real action and the story really begins - the book ends. After only 222 pages. I am glad I didn’t pay to read it.

What a disappointment. It’s certainly not a western. It’s too long for a short story. Some of the characters seem to be drawn from romance novels although the “romantic moments,” would leave romance readers disappointed by the rather inept descriptions of those encounters. Everyone seems like a caricature – the smart, clever Jewish man, the big Scandinavian, the entitled British snob, and the hard drinking, card shark, cheating Irishman. I really wanted to like this book – but between the overwrought descriptions and the overwhelming coincidences it was just unbelievable.

It says on the back of the book that it is being compared to Lonesome Dove and Centennial. That is like equating a Harlequin Romance with Pride and Prejudice. But all things have their place and this book may find an audience with people who have lots of money to spare buying six books. Personally, after this one I won’t pay for the next five.