Friday, May 06, 2011
The Bride's House by Sandra Dallas
The Bride's House is the story of three generations of women who love a house in Georgetown, Colorado. Seventeen-year-old Nealie Bent was a runaway from a drunk, abusive father when she ended up in the mining community of Georgetown in 1880. Fortunately, Mrs. Travers, a woman who owned a place for men to eat, hired her, or Nealie might have ended up working the streets. One of the miners, Charlie Dumas, courted her, but once Nealie saw engineer Will Spaulding, she only had eyes for him. But, things didn't go according to Nealie's plans, and she ended up moving into the new mansion she called the Bride's House, married to someone else.
Nealie's daughter, Pearl, never knew her mother, except for the stories her father told of his saintly wife, and the more realistic stories the housekeeper, Mrs. Travers told. But, Pearl's father doted on her, and did everything he could to keep her in his late wife's beloved Bride's House. He thwarted any would be suitors, and turned away the one man Pearl loved. He just didn't count on his daughter's will.
Each summer, Pearl's daughter returned to Georgetown. Susan loved her grandfather, and the house he refused to leave. And, since she had been a child, she loved a Georgetown boy. But, each summer she had to prove herself to the locals, and she never thought her love was returned.
"The old house had its secrets." In reality, the women of the Bride's House, along with Susan's grandfather, had secrets. They had secrets about love and men and children. Dallas' story is one of three generations of women fighting for, and, not always finding the love they expect. Unfortunately, The Bride's House lacks passion. The women seemed to accept the consequences of their fates. Yes, they all suffered, but none of them, not Nealie, or Pearl, or Susan, actually fought for their future at the time they should have. Someone else always stepped in to determine their fate. Perhaps that was the issue I had with the book. Each woman waited for someone else to make their decisions for them.
As I said, some of Sandra Dallas' books are memorable. I'll always remember Tallgrass and The Persian Pickle Club. They were powerful books with unusual characters. Unfortunately, The Bride's House lacks characters that will live in time. And, for someone who reads for characters, and appreciates Sandra Dallas' gift for creating unique women, The Bride's House doesn't stand up to previous books.
Sandra Dallas' website is www.sandradallas.com
The Bride's House by Sandra Dallas. St. Martin's Press. ©2011. ISBN 9780312600167 (hardcover), 375p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I requested, and received, an ARC from the publisher so I could review it.