Cover image for Alice's tulips
Alice's tulips
Dallas, Sandra.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
246 pages ; 22 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.4 14.0 46844.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Newstead Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Clarence Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Clearfield Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Eden Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Grand Island Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Orchard Park Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf
Anna M. Reinstein Library X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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Rich in details of quilting, Civil War-era America, and the realities of life in the 19th century, Alice's Tulips is the triumphant story of one woman's survival during a time of murder, intrigue, and treachery.

Author Notes

Sandra Dallas graduated from the University of Denver with a degree in journalism and began her writing career as a reporter with Business Week.

While a reporter, she began writing nonfiction which include Sacred Paint, which won the National Cowboy Hall of Fame Western Heritage Wrangler Award, and The Quilt That Walked to Golden, recipient of the Independent Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Award.

Turning to fiction in 1990, Sandra has published a number of novels including Buster Midnight's Cafe, Alice's Tulips, and Prayers For Sale. She is the recipient of the Women Writing the West Willa Award for New Mercies, and two-time winner of the Western Writers of America Spur Award, for The Chili Queen and Tallgrass. In addition, she was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award, the Mountain and Plains Booksellers Association Award, and a four-time finalist for the Women Writing the West Willa Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

After her husband enlists in the Union army, newly married Alice Bullock and her cantankerous mother-in-law are left to tend the family farm. No stranger to hard work and responsibility, Alice undertakes her arduous tasks under the ever-watchful eye of the critical Mother Bullock. To temporarily relieve both her boredom and her fears, she indulges in two equally delightful hobbies: quilting and writing a series of diary-letters to her sister. Although her quilting provides her with a much-needed creative outlet, her matter-of-fact missives offer an often humorous glimpse at the uncertainty and daily hardships endured by women on the home front. When Alice becomes the primary suspect in a local murder, she and Mother Bullock form a previously unthinkable united front. Laced with plenty of whimsy, pathos, and intrigue, this charming, homespun narrative will appeal to Civil War buffs and fans of Cold Mountain. Margaret Flanagan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Loyalty, trust and friendship are the themes of Dallas's (The Persian Pickle Club) cozy, suspense-driven epistolary novel, set during the Civil War. When her husband enlists as a Union soldier, teenage newlywed Alice Keeler Bullock must live on his family's Bramble Farm on the outskirts of Slatyfork, Iowa, with only her stern mother-in-law, Mother (Serena) Bullock, for company. Alice is lonely without the constant companionship of her sister, Lizzie, and their six younger brothers. She passes the time writing long, gossip-filled letters to Lizzie in Galena, Ill., and growing passionate about her quilting. Newly pregnant, Alice hopes that the baby will win over her fault-finding mother-in-law, but Alice doesn't make things easy for herself. She regularly boasts about her superior sewing skills, yearns aloud for fashionable clothing and speaks before she thinks. In other words, she is young and ignorant of the ways of the world, which leads to trouble with a Confederate sympathizer, Samuel Smead, who, encouraged by Alice's innocent flirtations, pursues her with an intensity that tarnishes her reputation. Meanwhile, Alice slowly makes friends with girls her own age, including Samuel's sister-in-law, Nealie, and a runaway mother, Annie, seeking shelter for herself and her blind daughter. As the story unfolds, secrets and mysteries abound, and Alice shares every joy and sorrow with her sister by letter, a credible narrative form except when Alice reproduces extended dialogue. The last third of the novel is a delicate balance between sentiment and tragedy; in some instances, the secrets spilled go over the top, with no adequate motives for why characters are so cruel. Alice is a feisty Northern counterpart to Scarlett O'Hara, however, and her irreverent humor and precise expression will keep readers entertained. First serial to Good Housekeeping; author tour. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Fans of Dallas's previous novels (The Diary of Mattie Spenser) will not be disappointed here. Alice is a young woman whose husband of one year has just joined the Union army and left her alone with his forbidding mother on the family farm. Told in letters to her sister, Alice's story is at first one of everyday hardships and small triumphs but soon turns darker when she is suspected of murder. As an outsider who married into the small, tight-knit community of Slatyfork, she would have required much less than the suspicion of murder to turn her neighbors against her. Her one solace is quilting, and each chapter begins with an explanation of a quilting pattern that is then incorporated into the story. Day-to-day life during the Civil War is well represented, with the ever-present fear of looters, food shortages, and worry for the absent men. Above all, there is Alice, a plucky heroine if ever there was one, and readers will cheer her on. Those who enjoyed Jane Roberts Wood's The Train to Estelline (Univ. of North Texas Pr., 2000) and Robert Morgan's Gap Creek (LJ 9/1/99) should find plenty to satisfy here. Recommended for all public libraries.DWendy Bethel, Grove City P.L., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-The significance of a planting of yellow tulips in an Iowa garden becomes evident at the end of this beguiling novel of the Civil War home front. Immature, overconfident, congenial, and flirtatious, newly wed 18-year-old Alice is left with her stern, repressive mother-in-law on a small farmstead when her husband Charlie "goes for a soldier." The book is comprised of the letters Alice writes to her sister over a period of three years to relieve her frustrations and to offer advice on fashion, love, and society. Alice is an outstanding quilter and each chapter is prefaced with a paragraph of information on quilting details. The letters take readers through wartime difficulties of isolation, food shortages, cruel gossip, loss of reputation, and the complexities of a small, closed community. Through the occasional letter from Charlie as he enters into Army life on the Union side, readers see the rigors of camp life, horrors of battle, and imprisonment in the notorious Andersonville prison camp. Alice's growth, brought about by these circumstances, is natural and understandable, as is the slowly emerging bond of affection between the young woman and her formidable mother-in-law. This unfolding maturity of insights lends realism to the light concerns of fashion, sociability, and other trivialities that engage interest in the opening pages.-Frances Reiher, Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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