By Sandra Dallas
St Martin’s Press, $14.99, 391 pages
Three generations of women made the frame Victorian their home. They all loved its red rooms and its damask wallpaper. Author Sandra Dallas pens a place where fates are changed and secrets are buried. The Bride’s House is a story of family, tragedy and survival. It tells the story of women who loved, women who lost and women who make-do. The story starts in 1880 with Nealie Bent, who at age 17 escapes an abusive father and moves to a coarse mining town in Colorado, falls in love and is forced to deal with an unplanned pregnancy. Eventually, Nealie’s home becomes her daughter’s home and her granddaughter’s place of refuge along with the men they all love. The setting is inspiring allowing the reader an accurate glimpse of history without excessive cumbersome details. However, the book is lengthy, almost 400 pages and there are a few misplaced passages some readers may notice. While the story is socially heartwarming, the characters aren’t strong enough to drive the story with any degree of depth because a “good woman knows her place.” The reader is also expected to believe that natural female conception after age fifty is commonplace, a fact disputed by Wikipedia’s chart of Over-50 Conceptions.
Reviewed by Sheli Ellsworth