The Bride’s House Review
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The mining town of Georgetown, Colorado, sets the stage for author Sandra Dallas’s story of three generations of women in The Bride’s House.

In 1880, 17-year-old “house girl” Nealie Bent serves meals to miners at a local boarding house. In a town full of lonely miners, Nealie is courted by a quiet Charlie, who loves her deeply, and higher society Will, a man she loves with all her heart but whose secrets keep them apart. Nealie marries and moves into her dream home, which she calls The Bride’s House, where she gives birth to daughter Pearl before passing away.

The story then turns to Pearl, who lives in The Bride’s House throughout her life, as the spinster companion and secretary to her father. Later in life, Pearl meets a man and falls in love, only to have her father disapprove and sabotage the relationship, as he’s done with all of her previous suitors.

The final arc of the story revolves around Pearl’s daughter, Susan, who comes of age in the 1950s and battles the same mistakes of love, self-esteem, and miscommunication that her mother and grandmother made in their own lives.

The Bride’s House offers a snapshot of American history in a small town, capturing the town’s scenery, the mining industry, and the role of women from the late 1880s through the 1950s.

A natural storyteller, Sandra Dallas seamlessly spins a tale of three women and the men in their lives. While the women are well-written, it is often the men who are even more multi-layered. Nealie, Pearl, and Susan may be the cornerstone of the story, but Charlie and Will, as well as other male characters, make this a compelling read for fans of historical fiction.

Still, The Bride’s House could have easily been stretched to create a trilogy, with one book for each woman and her story. Instead, the novel feels as though it misses important parts of the lives of the women in its effort to condense them into a single book.

This sweet story may leave some Sandra Dallas fans missing her more complex plots, but, as introduction to Dallas, The Bride’s House is an enjoyable read.

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