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In this stilted, disjointed smalltown disaster drama, a 1920 Colorado avalanche traps nine children in a snow drift, turning their close-knit community upside-down in the process. As the children's families learn of their predicament, the complicated backstories that bind the members of sleepy Swandyke come to light; in the present, the developing tragedy, including multiple deaths, transforms the community through sorrow, forgiveness, and redemption. Unfortunately, novelist Dallas (Prayers for Sale) isn't up to the challenge of multiple plot threads, a large cast of characters, or the heavily loaded children-in-distress material; exaggerated caricature, stiff dialogue, and poorly integrated character history make for awkward, disappointing melodrama. (Apr.)
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When an avalanche thundered down the mountain housing the Fourth of July Mine in Swandyke, Colorado, that bright April afternoon in 1920, it carried death and destruction but also provided the seeds for forgiveness and redemption. Grace Foote, the mine manager’s wife, sees the children on their way home from school. Joe Cobb, the only black man in town, is one of the first to dig for them. Sisters Lucy and Dolly, estranged for years, unite now in the face of shared tragedy. Essie Schnabel, from New York City and Jewish and working in a brothel, stands vigil, as does Minder Evans, a crusty Civil War veteran raising his grandson. Dallas presents another historical novel about the hardscrabble mining communities of Colorado, set just down the road from her best-selling Prayers for Sale (2009), creating a patchwork of individuals whose lives had not intersected until this singular, transformative event. Readers may find the abrupt transitions and preponderance of flashbacks confusing and distancing. Dallas is well known for her storytelling abilities, but this reads more like a valediction of a time and place faded from memory than her usual vibrant, visceral tale. Still, Dallas is a magnet. --Lynne WelchSee all Editorial Reviews
Loved the back stories of the townspeople and how they came to live in the Colorado gold mining town. Love books by Sandra Dallas. She never disappoints.Published 17 days ago by Vicky Connolly
Dallas always has a good story that is well developed and centers around how important friends are.Published 1 month ago by Martha Terrell
It is the winter of 1920 in a small mining town in the mountains of Colorado. From the very beginning you know there is going to be a terrible avalanche with fatalities, but before... Read morePublished 2 months ago by J Davis
Sandra Dallas never fails to write a story that keeps me interested and here she does it with more than one tale. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Susan Randolph
Each chapter introduced a new character that told their individual background stories. Then when complete, helped us to understand how they all wove the characters all into the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by K. Erekson
I really enjoyed this book, not what I expected, but keep your attention and was good to see how people can change and work so well together in a time of tragedy.Published 4 months ago by Nancy E. Weller