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Alice's Tulips (2001)

von Sandra Dallas

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4651841,260 (3.83)36
When Alice Bullock's husband joins the Union Army, the young quilting enthusiast is left to deal with an Iowa farm and an imposing mother-in-law. And then her life turns upside down when she's accused of murder.
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Midway through the Civil War, Alice has been living for a year with her new husband and his mother on their small farm in Iowa, when her husband hears the call of patriotism and joins the Union Army. Alice left the more genteel circumstances she grew up in to marry Charlie, and it does appear to be true love, as they're quite happy together. He leaves Alice with his mother, a woman of very strong opinions, and the hired man to do the heavy lifting on the farm. This seems somewhat problematic at first, as Alice's only apparent talents are quilting and flirting (which puts her one up on Scarlett O'Hara).

As the circumstances get tougher, Alice soon finds that she has more skills than she thought she did, including loyalty and the ability to work hard. In this book, Sandra Dallas has mastered the art of showing the reader how a character develops, rather than simply saying so. Told in the form of letters Alice writes to her sister, the reader can almost feel Alice developing both muscles and a backbone as she faces both day-to-day and rather more extraordinary challenges. ( )
  mzonderm | Apr 20, 2020 |
Alice’s Tulips by Sandra Dallas is an epistolary novel set during the American Civil War. Alice is a young bride, who at age 16 is vain, flighty, boastful and ignorant in the ways of the world, but after her husband Charlie leaves to be a soldier, she and her Mother-in-law have the running of the farm to attend to. Over the course of the next few years, Alice gains in maturity but not before her innocent flirting with a Southern sympathizer tarnishes her reputation and causes her some heartbreak.

Alice is very skilled with her needle and excels in quilting. As quilting is also an interest of the author, the book is full of information about the history of quilting and where many of the patterns originated. Alice learns to appreciate the friendship of other women and although she always feels that her critical and taciturn mother-in-law doesn’t like her, late in the book she learns that her mother-in-law has seen how Alice has worked and grown and values her greatly.

I listened to an audio version of this book and at first I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get through this format as the voice of the reader, Ali Ahn, was very grating but, as the story developed and Alice matured into a strong and independent woman the voice grew with the character and became quite tolerable. This is a warm-hearted story of pioneer women facing tough challenges and I enjoyed it very much. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Apr 2, 2017 |
The story of a young bride who returns to her husband's farm when he joins up. She has not lived on a farm and must adapt to farm life and a new mother-in-law who is not very happy. Alice and her mother-in-law have to work the farm together when the hired hand and negro run off. The book tells Alice's hardship and loneliness of life without her husband around. Since she is young and only sees the good in people, she gets herself into trouble on more than one occasion. The real life of women during the Civil War made this an excellent book to read. ( )
  JCGirl | Aug 20, 2016 |
This was my book club read for April. A great read! A bit hard to get into at first but I think that was because of the other books I had been reading at the time. I loved how descriptive the author was. I felt each and every emotion that Alice did. A bit embarrassing reading this book in public though lol I was at my daughters gymnastics class and it took everything I had not to cry. It was a little predictable but I didn't mind so much because the writing is fantastic. ( )
  LenaR0307 | May 30, 2016 |
5***** and ❤

Told in epistolary form, we get a glimpse of what it was like, "back home" for the women left behind when their men left for the Civil War.

Alice is a young (18 years old) bride living with her mother-in-law to help run the farm when her new husband goes to war. She is new to town, and not everyone likes her (including her mother-in-law, apparently). The story is told in a series of letters Alice writes to her sister Lizzie, covering Dec 1862 - May 1865. As she did in [The Persian Pickle Club], Dallas leaves us wondering "who did it?" In the meantime we see the mistakes of youth and immaturity, and the growth that comes of facing the consequences of our decisions. I've read it twice; the second reading in Oct 2002. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 11, 2016 |
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December 3, 1862--Dearest Sister Lizzie, Are you surprised to hear that Charlie has gone for a soldier?
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When Alice Bullock's husband joins the Union Army, the young quilting enthusiast is left to deal with an Iowa farm and an imposing mother-in-law. And then her life turns upside down when she's accused of murder.

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2 4
2.5 2
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