Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday's "Forgotten" Books - The Persian Pickle Club

Not only is Sandra Dallas' The Persian Pickle Club a "forgotten" book, but the author herself never received the attention she deserved. I've read six of her seven books, and they are all wonderful novels that portray women and their friendships. Her most recent book, Tallgrass, is an outstanding book of a young girl's coming-of-age during World War II, watching the reactions of a small Colorado town when a Japanese internment camp is built on its outskirts.

But, today's forgotten book is The Persian Pickle Club. When the book came out, booksellers handsold it, saying, if you can figure out who did it, we'll give your money back. Here's the summary from the book jacket:

"It is the 1930s, and hard times have hit Harveyville, Kansas, where the crops are burning up and there's not a job to be found. For Queenie Bean, a young farmwife, the highlight of each week is the gathering of the Persian Pickle Club (named after a favorite cloth pattern), a group of local ladies dedicated to improving their minds, exchanging gossip, and putting their well-honed quilting skills to good use. As Queenie says, 'It's funny how quilting draws women together like nothing else.'

"Women her own age are few in Harveyville, so when just-married Rita Ritter arrives in town, Queenie eagerly welcomes her new friend to the club. But Rita, who hails from Denver, is anything but a country girl. With a hankering for a newspaper career, she's far more interested in investigative journalism than she is in sewing, and before long her prying brings her dangerously close to a secret the Pickles have sworn to keep."

Sandra Dallas vividly portrays the Depression in Kansas, and the loneliness of the women. I've used this book successfully with book clubs, and passed it on to many readers. Don't let Sandra Dallas' The Persian Pickle Club be forgotten!

And, for other Friday "Forgotten" Books, check out Patti Abbott's website at, where she summarizes all the suggestions for Friday.

The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas. St. Martin's Press, ©1995. ISBN 9780312135867 (hardcover), 208p.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Lesa. Sounds like a truly original writer.

Julie P. said...

I love Sandra Dallas and I've read quite a few of her books. I loved TALLGRASS!

Lesa said...


She's one of my favorites!

Lesa said...


I thought her two best were Tallgrass and The Persian Pickle Club, but I always give her books a try.

Randy Johnson said...

The title alone is enough to make me want to get this one.
Randy Johnson

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Randy! I hope you enjoy it. It's a pretty unusual book.

Anonymous said...

I love Sandra Dallas and really, really hoped that TALLGRASS would be the book that brought her recognition. It was so good. I also loved THE PERSIAN PICKLE CLUB. I read it years ago and have read all her books. I plan to have our book group read TALLGRASS this next year.

Thanks for bringing attention to some wonderful books and a very gifted writer, Lesa!

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Kay. And, I totally agree with you. I thought Tallgrass would be her breakthrough book, and it didn't do it. I don't know what the problem is. Her books are unusual, and so much better than some on the bestseller lists. And, they're not unreadable like some literary fiction!

Can't wait to see what your group thinks about Tallgrass.

Joy said...

I loved Tallgrass and have read several others including The Persian Pickle Club. She's a talented author and I agree, she doesn't get the recognition she deserves. Hopefully the next one will do it. :)

Lesa said...

I hope so, too, Joy. And, maybe she doesn't want "fame", but I wish people recognized her and her books for the quality.