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Fallen Women

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It is the spring of 1885 and wealthy New York socialite Beret Osmundsen has been estranged from her younger sister, Lillie, for a year when she gets word from her aunt and uncle that Lillie has died suddenly in Denver.  What they do not tell her is that Lillie had become a prostitute and was brutally murdered in the brothel where she had been living.  When Beret discovers It is the spring of 1885 and wealthy New York socialite Beret Osmundsen has been estranged from her younger sister, Lillie, for a year when she gets word from her aunt and uncle that Lillie has died suddenly in Denver.  What they do not tell her is that Lillie had become a prostitute and was brutally murdered in the brothel where she had been living.  When Beret discovers the sordid truth of Lillie’s death, she makes her way to Denver, determined to find her sister’s murderer.  Detective Mick McCauley may not want her involved in the case, but Beret is determined, and the investigation soon takes her from the dangerous, seedy underworld of Denver’s tenderloin to the highest levels of Denver society.  Along the way, Beret not only learns the depths of Lillie’s depravity, but also exposes the sinister side of Gilded Age ambition in the process.    Sandra Dallas once again delivers a page-turner filled with mystery, intrigue, and the kind of intricate detail that truly transports you to another time and place.    


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It is the spring of 1885 and wealthy New York socialite Beret Osmundsen has been estranged from her younger sister, Lillie, for a year when she gets word from her aunt and uncle that Lillie has died suddenly in Denver.  What they do not tell her is that Lillie had become a prostitute and was brutally murdered in the brothel where she had been living.  When Beret discovers It is the spring of 1885 and wealthy New York socialite Beret Osmundsen has been estranged from her younger sister, Lillie, for a year when she gets word from her aunt and uncle that Lillie has died suddenly in Denver.  What they do not tell her is that Lillie had become a prostitute and was brutally murdered in the brothel where she had been living.  When Beret discovers the sordid truth of Lillie’s death, she makes her way to Denver, determined to find her sister’s murderer.  Detective Mick McCauley may not want her involved in the case, but Beret is determined, and the investigation soon takes her from the dangerous, seedy underworld of Denver’s tenderloin to the highest levels of Denver society.  Along the way, Beret not only learns the depths of Lillie’s depravity, but also exposes the sinister side of Gilded Age ambition in the process.    Sandra Dallas once again delivers a page-turner filled with mystery, intrigue, and the kind of intricate detail that truly transports you to another time and place.    

30 review for Fallen Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies

    If you want a 19th century detective novel based on a loving sister's journey for justice for her baby sister, as this book promised, keep walking. There is nothing to see here. If you wanted to read about a sanctimonious, passive-aggressive, holier-than-thou bitch of a sister and her personal journey to find her sister's killer through pure fucking luck for no other reason than to assuage her personal guilt in the role she played in contributing to her so-called-beloved sister's death, then by a If you want a 19th century detective novel based on a loving sister's journey for justice for her baby sister, as this book promised, keep walking. There is nothing to see here. If you wanted to read about a sanctimonious, passive-aggressive, holier-than-thou bitch of a sister and her personal journey to find her sister's killer through pure fucking luck for no other reason than to assuage her personal guilt in the role she played in contributing to her so-called-beloved sister's death, then by all means, settle in, my dear friend. It's the biggest lie on earth to slap a "detective" label on this book, because it relies on no other methods of detection besides the overuse of a literary device that I absolutely fucking hate called deus ex fucking machina. If I happen to capture the #1 most wanted on the FBI's Top Ten list because the criminal happened to be hiding underneath my car as I ran him over unknowingly, it doesn't make me a fucking bounty hunter because there is no fucking skill involved beyond that of pure bloody luck. What happens within this book doesn't make it a fucking detective novel because there is no methodology whatsoever besides the dilletante actions of a TSTL socialite/missionary and the unenthusiastic dabblings of a wealthy Detective Sergeant who plays at being a fucking police detective. I say play, because to him, it is nothing but play. The ass wanker is actually happy to have a murder to investigate because he's so fucking bored with his fucking job, which begs the question of why he's actually working as a detective at all when he can clearly afford to do something else with his useless waste of a brain. There is a thing as outright murder, in which a person actually takes another person's life, but that's not the only way to kill someone. And then there's involuntary manslaughter, in which the killer has less culpability. For example, leaving a charged gun in the open where a child can reach it. That person may not have pulled the trigger, but they are still responsible for a death. I hereby accuse Beret Osmundsen of involuntary manslaughter. The victim: her sister. I'm only being mildly facetious, but I do find her grossly negligent and excessively cruel in her treatment of her "immoral" sister, Lillie. You may recall that I have a sister, who is around 10 years younger than I am, whom I adore. She and I are exactly the same age apart as the sisters in this book, Beret and Lillie. I read this book because I love historical novels featuring amateur female detectives, and the premise of a sisterly vengeance is one that I love. I wish I had never read this book. What a disgusting waste of my time. What a travesty of a book. I have never read a criminal investigative book with so much rampant victim-blaming and slut-shaming as this book features. Find a pair of glasses. Cover it with some red cellophane. Listen to some Rammstein. Open up a white-supremacy website and some anti-feminism forums and read through a few pages. Then you'll get a feel of how I felt while reading this book. There was a lot of anger, a lot of rage, a lot of fucking fury and disgust at the level of sly-hate-disguised-as-love within this book. As for sisterly love? Sisterly grief? What fucking grief? One of Beret's first thoughts upon finding out that her sister has been cruelly murdered is to cry "from rage as she realized she would never be able to extract the remorse from Lillie that was due." Beret's mindset throughout her investigation is that of "I AM SUCH A GOOD PERSON BECAUSE I LOVE MY SISTER DESPITE THE FACT THAT SHE FLIRTS WITH ANYTHING WITH A PENIS, AND SHE'S SUCH A FUCKING SLUT THAT SHE PRETTY MUCH ASKED TO BE MURDERED BY BEING STABBED SEVEN TIMES WITH A PAIR OF SCISSORS." Summary: Sombrero Bonnet Fedora Turban DAMMIT. Beret. That's her name. Beret Osmundsen's sister Lillie is murdered in a brothel in Denver, Colorado. Beret thinks her sister is a little slut, who betrayed her despite the fact that Beret has loved Lillie her whole life. Being the wonderful, perfect, virtuous person she is, Beret sets out to fall in love with the Detective in charge of solving her sister's murder. Sombrero and Michael subsequently bond over the long walks they take, the restaurant meals they share, and the many prostitutes' murders over which they kinda, sorta, investigate. DAMMIT. Beret. Beret. Her name is Beret. Not Sombrero. Get your head hat on straight, Khanh. The Characters: This is usually the part in the review where I go over whether a character is complex or not, her development, blah blah blah. Fuck that. I fucking hated Beret's guts, and here are the reasons why you should, too. Beret: Missionary, my ass. For someone who supposedly does so much good works as a missionary, Beret is a hypocritical, snobbish, judgmental bitch. There are two types of missionaries: one who truly do good, and the other who simply do good for the sake of feeling good about themselves. I believe Beret is the latter. She is such a snob. She looks down on the newly wealthy in Denver for their garish tastes in clothing, housing, furniture, despite being new money herself. Despite working with the poor, the beaten, the unfortunate at her mission, Beret has a surprising lack of sympathy for the prostitutes who work at the brothel in which they used to work. The prostitutes there are seductive, sly, nefarious whores. Nothing more. There is zero sympathy for those women or for their circumstances. Beret is also judgmental of people based on their appearance. Apparently, if you're ugly, you're shit out of luck, and anyone who looks upon an ugly person kindly, like her aunt, must be a fucking saint. Jonas looked directly at Beret now, and she saw the freakish scars on his face and thought what a good woman her aunt had been to pick up such an ugly child, a child other society women might find offensive, and take him into her home. [She] had been the soul of compassion. Beret is also surprisingly racist, despite the fact that she's a missionary. I get it, it's the 19th century, racism is rampant, but I would hope to think that a missionary might be kinder, but no. Beret is horrified that her sister had been a prostitute, and even more horrified to realize that her sister might have entertained a Negro. Her words, not mine. And also, Chinaman. I understand the use of these words in a historical context, but given that there is no use and no room and no point relevant to the plot, is the inclusion of such racist, cruel words even necessary? Beret claims to love her sister. She is a fucking liar. Remember what I said about culpability earlier? Yeah. Usually when a character cries "I killed her!" I'm the first to say "NO YOU DIDN'T, YOU DUM DUM HEAD." In this case, yes, Beret almost killed her sister. It's the fucking 19th century. There ain't a lot of options for a very young, very vulnerable woman when she has been cast out onto the streets by her sister and guardian who should have been taking care of her, no matter what she's done. And what does Beret do? Throw Lillie out of the house on a transgression. I told him Lillie should be cut off until she saw the error of her ways and apologized, and that’s exactly what he did. Beret throws Lillie out of the house that Lillie also owns, by their late parents' will. Beret cuts off Lillie's access to money, money that is Lillie's. Lillie doesn't know she couldn't be thrown out of her home and therefore leaves. What's worse is that Beret convinces everyone, their lawyer, their remaining family, that Lillie is incompetent and immoral and undeserving of receiving her own inheritance. And then Lillie ends up in a brothel, stabbed to a bloody death by seven scissor wounds. Beret believes it's Lillie's fault for bringing her murder upon herself. Indeed, everyone she talks to seems to think Lillie deserved it. Beret found herself hating Lillie and thinking her sister deserved what she’d gotten Lillie is so beautiful, that looking upon her sister's corpse, Beret asks the detective whether he has fallen in love with her corpse, too. Fuck you, Beret. Lillie is a seductive child. She goes after anything with a dick. She is cruel, she is manipulative. It is Lillie's beauty that leads men to behave like fools around her. It is not the men's fault at all. Beret hated Lillie and tossed her out because she caught her sister in bed with her husband. Aaaaaaand... You would think after working with so many poor women who’d been abused by their husbands or been forced to sacrifice their honor to their employers that I would have known the man was always at fault. But I’m afraid I reacted like a typical scorned woman. I blamed the other woman—my sister. Yeah, typical. Fuck you, Beret. Act like a whore, get murdered, it's what any ho deserves, right? Fuck you, Beret. Lillie: I get that the book is trying to make Lillie into a bad character. It doesn't work. Why? HER CHARACTER. Always, always, ALWAYS, it's HER CHARACTER. Why is she so bad? IT'S HER CHARACTER. Why does she constantly seek attention from men? IT'S HER CHARACTER. Why do men always fall in love with her? IT'S HER CHARACTER. Why is she so despicable? IT'S HER CHARACTER. Fuck her character. This ain't some Freudian shit, and I'm not a 5-year old who you can spoon fucking feed into believe someone is bad simply because you fucking tell me she is. You want me to hate a character, you better fucking give me a good fucking reason. We get to see glimpses of Lillie from childhood to present, and I see a little girl who grew from a somewhat spoiled childhood into someone who's the fucking Whore of Babylon. Give me some fucking proof because I don't fucking buy what I was given. Setting & Plot: I can't help but wonder that this book needed a better editor, for surely, 5 minutes on Wikipedia can tell you much. Like the fact that there are no skyscrapers in New York in the year 1885. I read historical books because I want to forget about the present. I live in a time where social media and modernity hits me in the face every 5 seconds and I want to get away from that. When I read a historical novel, I want it to be historically accurate, and I don't want modern details sneaking in that slaps me back rudely into the present. I'm sure the word "criminologist" existed in 1885. I'm sure hot running water existed in 1885. I'm pretty fucking sure that the use of either is not prevalent, and I really don't want to see it in my 19th century-based novel. I'm sure that the word "crush" existed, in fact, it was recorded as being first used in 1884 in the modern context. Would it have been commonly used in 1885? Fucking no. Yeah, I'm anal about details. Get over it, or get a better editor. The plot is straightforward enough, but there is a minute amount of detection, and a considerable amount of accidental discovery and stupidity. Frankly, there was no point for having Detective Sergeant Michael in the book in the damn place. Beret at first suspected that he is a political appointee, and also believes that the police are largely incompetent. Well, she was right, because the police and the Big, Brawny Detective himself are completely and utterly useless in this novel. Their role seem limited to poring over corpses, making some vague hypotheses, and the rest of the time is spent making googly eyes at each other in some odd, macabre courtship ritual over death. Which is not to say Beret herself is any more competent, rather less, and still considerably more despicable. As I mentioned previously, there is an ample amount of stupidity within Beret. She continually gets herself into dangerous situations, despite knowing better, and ends up being saved only by an act of Providence, which is to say, things happen by chance to rescue Beret's dumb ass once too many time for me to believe. Fuck this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Maven

    This book was frustrating to me. And this post contains some spoilers. First and foremost, I have to say that I started it with the intention of liking it. And for awhile, I did. But Beret started to crawl under my skin. I found it annoying how honestly stupid she was. How many times did she put herself in a situation where she was alone with a dangerous person and angering them? TOO MANY. And every single time she went, oh no! I just put myself in danger! Again! But that's okay, because every sin This book was frustrating to me. And this post contains some spoilers. First and foremost, I have to say that I started it with the intention of liking it. And for awhile, I did. But Beret started to crawl under my skin. I found it annoying how honestly stupid she was. How many times did she put herself in a situation where she was alone with a dangerous person and angering them? TOO MANY. And every single time she went, oh no! I just put myself in danger! Again! But that's okay, because every single time someone saved her at the last second. Once is believable. Twice is acceptable. Every other chapter is worthy of sarcasm and eye-rolling. I mean, supposedly she's a bright woman. So why can't she learn? I feel like she was supposed to be a picture of a smart, independent young woman who gets things down. But then she was always in need of a hero and never thought things through. She didn't even solve the mystery. The butler arranged to have the (very obvious) answer hung in her closet. So in a way, this hard-working and "self-sufficient" woman was just... a headstrong stereotypical damsel in distress. All the time. I wouldn't read it again. That's all.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lorna

    Fallen Women by Sandra Dallas, a former Denver newspaper reporter and resident of Denver gave us a vivid idea of what life was like in early Denver. At the heart of the story is the brutal murder of Lillie Brown, a prostitute in the Tenderloin District. How did this happen? Wealthy sociaite Beret Osmundsen has been estranged from her younger sister, Lillie. When she is notified by her aunt and uncle in Denver of her sister's death, she knows that she must go to Denver to find her sister's killer Fallen Women by Sandra Dallas, a former Denver newspaper reporter and resident of Denver gave us a vivid idea of what life was like in early Denver. At the heart of the story is the brutal murder of Lillie Brown, a prostitute in the Tenderloin District. How did this happen? Wealthy sociaite Beret Osmundsen has been estranged from her younger sister, Lillie. When she is notified by her aunt and uncle in Denver of her sister's death, she knows that she must go to Denver to find her sister's killer. As a Denver native, I loved the book for the history of early Denver but the story was captivating as well.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Aisling

    I gave this book 5 stars because of the rare combination of moving plot, compelling characters and exact historical accuracy. That's rare. I found the beginning a little slow but it quickly zoomed up to a good pace. Fans of Rhys Bowen will enjoy the similar style hero/heroine (here a reluctant Denver cop and a high society New Yorker) and the tension between them; antagonistic at first and then, inevitably, romantic. Or heading that way. A very nice set up for future books at the end of this one I gave this book 5 stars because of the rare combination of moving plot, compelling characters and exact historical accuracy. That's rare. I found the beginning a little slow but it quickly zoomed up to a good pace. Fans of Rhys Bowen will enjoy the similar style hero/heroine (here a reluctant Denver cop and a high society New Yorker) and the tension between them; antagonistic at first and then, inevitably, romantic. Or heading that way. A very nice set up for future books at the end of this one. What makes Dallas a must read author is her attention to detail and accuracy. I won this on goodreads and have already gotten an older Sandra Dallas book (the Bride's House) to start catching up with this terrific author.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Misfit

    "She was a girl from one of New York's wealthiest families, and she ended up dead in a whorehouse." (Quote from ARC) Denver, Colorado 1885. New York socialite Beret Osmundsen comes to sort out the murder of her younger sister - how did Lillie go from being a well-bred young miss in the care of her aunt and uncle to working in a high-class whore house? Beret's *investigation* puts her in the path of detective Mick McCauley and the two work together as they follow the clues to solving the murder. "She was a girl from one of New York's wealthiest families, and she ended up dead in a whorehouse." (Quote from ARC) Denver, Colorado 1885. New York socialite Beret Osmundsen comes to sort out the murder of her younger sister - how did Lillie go from being a well-bred young miss in the care of her aunt and uncle to working in a high-class whore house? Beret's *investigation* puts her in the path of detective Mick McCauley and the two work together as they follow the clues to solving the murder. This being a mystery and all you know there's going to be lots of dead ends, red herrings and maybe another murder or two keep the reader guessing and turning the pages. About those red herrings... From reading other reviews it's clear I'm in the minority, but I pretty much guessed the gist of the big tah-dah by page 52 according to my notes, although I was slightly off the mark (can't say more without spoiling). I never really bought into any of many suspects thrown in my reading path, nor was I warm up much to Beret and Mick as a couple. Not great, but not bad either. YMMV.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Sandra Dallas has written some excellent novels -- “Tallgrass” and “True Sisters” come to mind -- but this is not one of them. “Fallen Women” had definite promise and moved along swiftly, but by the end I was pretty disgusted with nearly all of the characters and their foibles. As for the historical setting -- Denver in the late 1800s -- I came away thinking it was a hastily built western town with an established tenderloin district and dirty streets, in part because everyone threw trash out the Sandra Dallas has written some excellent novels -- “Tallgrass” and “True Sisters” come to mind -- but this is not one of them. “Fallen Women” had definite promise and moved along swiftly, but by the end I was pretty disgusted with nearly all of the characters and their foibles. As for the historical setting -- Denver in the late 1800s -- I came away thinking it was a hastily built western town with an established tenderloin district and dirty streets, in part because everyone threw trash out the carriage windows. Up on the hill were stately homes of the nouveau riche, and somewhere in between was a police station. A limited view, in other words, not enough to make up for the deficient story. Beret Osmundsen comes to Denver from her home in New York City after learning of her sister Lillie’s brutal murder there -- in a brothel. She arrives laden with guilt and determined to discover both her sister’s killer and the reason Lillie left the home of their aunt and uncle, the Stantons, to work in a parlor house. As her uncle is a judge, his endorsement of Beret’s “assisting” the police suffices to give her auxiliary status in the force. Beret feels this is the least she can do for her fallen sister for reasons we eventually learn. A director of a mission for women back home, Beret has plenty of experience with the down and out. Even the reluctant detective to whom she’s attached softens as she proves herself with good instincts, questions, and observations. In the beginning, that is. Soon enough we find that she also jumps to conclusions and underestimates the dangers of most of her solo (and often secret) attempts to ferret out the killer’s identity. I counted no fewer than six instances in which Beret finds herself in grave danger, mostly due to her own naivete and sheer stupidity. (“Ooh, I wish I weren’t in this place alone with a man wielding a weapon.”) Each time she is rescued to carry on (and do it again). But Beret is not the only annoying character. There’s the vain, ambitious, and sometimes delusional aunt; the charming but philandering ex-husband with a cruel streak; Lillie, whose true nature Beret has been blind to for years; and servants in the Stanton home who are alternately attentive and kind and downright creepy. Tiny point: the name “Beret” irked me a little. I wanted to know how to pronounce it. Like the French cap? (I settled on that. Since Lillie was named for the flower, why shouldn’t her sister be named for a hat?) At one point a character tells Beret she wants to learn the background of her name the next time they meet. Alas, they never meet again. In “Fallen Women” we get some unvarnished looks at the downtrodden and at the rich, powerful, and greedy, and we see how they intersect. The book’s title doesn’t refer only to prostitutes; there’s definitely more than one way to fall. In this novel the story fell too.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I won this Advanced Reading Copy through goodreads. Everyone is in love with Lillie. Too bad she is dead. For our protagonist Beret Osmunden, the murder of her sister carries more than just heartbreak, it carries with it guilt. I wanted to like” Fallen Women” by Sandra Dallas but I found our main character flat and excruciatingly boring. I would have much rather been immersed in the story of her sister Lillie, a spunky, morally questionable young women who gleaned power from seducing every father I won this Advanced Reading Copy through goodreads. Everyone is in love with Lillie. Too bad she is dead. For our protagonist Beret Osmunden, the murder of her sister carries more than just heartbreak, it carries with it guilt. I wanted to like” Fallen Women” by Sandra Dallas but I found our main character flat and excruciatingly boring. I would have much rather been immersed in the story of her sister Lillie, a spunky, morally questionable young women who gleaned power from seducing every father figure who crosses her path. Beret was predictable and flat and always, always, ALWAYS seemed to get caught if she decided to snoop or investigate. Dallas seemed to have Beret’s behaviour on a loop of question-investigate-get caught- regret actions…. repetitive to the point of prediction. I am a reader who quite often reads the end of the book in order to find out “the killer” (and I get scolded for it on a regular basis by fellow book buddies), but I didn’t have to the end in “Fallen Women” because the behaviour of characters near the beginning of the novel made it evident who indeed was the guilty one. By page 100 there was no real need to read further except to find out what happens with the budding love story that emerges. By no means did I hate this novel, it is a very light read, perfect for reading in waiting rooms of doctor’s offices or under the hairdryer at the beauty salon but not engrossing enough to elicit deep discussions on author craft, character motivation or theme.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carla Hostetter

    I do love books by Sandra Dallas, my favorites being Tall Grass and Prayers for Sale. Her historical research is always meticulous and interesting as is her protrayal of women in the West. However, this book did not work well as a mystery, taking place in the raw and dirty city of Denver in the late 1800's. Beret comes to Denver to find out who killed her sister, found in a brothel even though Lillie was born to wealth and privilege. I figured out the killer very early on, but Beret plugs away r I do love books by Sandra Dallas, my favorites being Tall Grass and Prayers for Sale. Her historical research is always meticulous and interesting as is her protrayal of women in the West. However, this book did not work well as a mystery, taking place in the raw and dirty city of Denver in the late 1800's. Beret comes to Denver to find out who killed her sister, found in a brothel even though Lillie was born to wealth and privilege. I figured out the killer very early on, but Beret plugs away recklessly accusing people and putting herself into dangerous situations alone even though she has developed a good working relationship with a local police detective. She finds evidence, but does not share it with Mick and instead confronts the culprits very nearly getting killed every time. I almost wished the butler had done it. The story would have benefited from Beret and Mick working together more often and far more rationally. Glad for the subdued happy ending which Dallas never guarantees in her works. A bit disappointed in this one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Deadlined

    Fallen Women Sandra Dallas I received a complimentary ARC of this novel. I really wanted to like this novel, and when I read its description I eagerly awaited its arrival. On face, it had many of the attributes I look for when selecting something to read: although I was unfamiliar with the author, Sandra Dallas is reportedly an award winner and New York Times best selling author. The novel contains many of the elements I currently enjoy: an historical mystery set in the late 19th Century, a Gilded Fallen Women Sandra Dallas I received a complimentary ARC of this novel. I really wanted to like this novel, and when I read its description I eagerly awaited its arrival. On face, it had many of the attributes I look for when selecting something to read: although I was unfamiliar with the author, Sandra Dallas is reportedly an award winner and New York Times best selling author. The novel contains many of the elements I currently enjoy: an historical mystery set in the late 19th Century, a Gilded Age backdrop; a story which takes the reader through the many layers of a complex society in a dynamic period in American history. While the writing is deft, the pace swift, and the history well researched, the story line was flawed to the point where I would have thrown the book across the room if I had spent money on it, the language was obtuse, and the characters were unbelievable. In my opinion, that’s three strikes against a novel, which put it in the horrible category. I will try to avoid spoilers, but since I am being harsh, I feel compelled to give examples so other readers know what I disliked, and can make their own decision as to whether they want to read this book. Storyline: 1) There are several egregious continuity errors. When I came upon the first one, I thought I misremembered, and kept reading. When I came upon the second one, I paged back through the novel to find the previous references and check my memory. After that point, I started to put sticky notes in the book to keep track of specific references. In the end, they were not consistent. 2) The protagonist, New York socialite Beret Osmundson, has specific experience she believes will allow her to assist the police in their investigations. She therefore places herself in situations unusual for a woman of her social standing and for the times. As a result, she has to be repeatedly rescued for her folly. Osmundson ends up looking foolish. It’s like she’s saying “I’ve been in similar situations before, despite your warning; I can handle that…oops, maybe not. No, no, not that other one either. Or the third complication, definitely not that one.” If she learned after the first failing, that would have been fine. After that she looks like the Perils of Pauline. 3) The resolution of the mystery was less than satisfying, and seemed, in my opinion, to rely on guesswork and wild confrontations rather than information gathering. Language I am a voracious reader and freelance writer. I keep a dictionary next to my reading chair so that I can look up any unfamiliar words, and I delight in increasing my vocabulary. Some of the words in the novel were not only so obscure that they weren’t in my dictionary; at least one required an online hunt. They were not words that could be understood in context. If a writer is going to use historic slang, she should include a glossary of terms. Characters: I mentioned some of the protagonist’s characters flaws under the story heading. I also found the “hero” unbelievable and his attitude toward his co-workers insulting. Given the manner of death, the murderer was completely unbelievable. I did not believe the murderer could have used the murder weapon in the manner described.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    I wanted to like this book much more than I did. Well, actually I didn't like it much at all. I've loved so many of Sandra Dallas' books, especially Prayers for Sale and The Diary of Mattie Spenser. But the author's last 3 or 4 books just haven't been up to her usual standards, and they haven't excited me much, or been ones that I would recommend to anyone. This book had potential, but gosh it was boring. Every time Beret, (sister of Lillie, the young woman who was murdered), kept walking blindl I wanted to like this book much more than I did. Well, actually I didn't like it much at all. I've loved so many of Sandra Dallas' books, especially Prayers for Sale and The Diary of Mattie Spenser. But the author's last 3 or 4 books just haven't been up to her usual standards, and they haven't excited me much, or been ones that I would recommend to anyone. This book had potential, but gosh it was boring. Every time Beret, (sister of Lillie, the young woman who was murdered), kept walking blindly into one dangerous situation after another while trying to find her sister's killer, I would slap my head in disbelief. How silly and clueless was this woman? You don't go alone to an opium den in the seediest part of town and accuse the owner and his sidekick (henchman?) of getting your sister hooked on cocaine or opium unless you're an idiot and want to get chloroformed, kidnapped, and sold into white slavery. Which is what was about to happen until her aunt and uncle's coach driver broke down the back door and saved her. But that didn't stop her. Every time she focused on a new person she thought was the killer, she would rush off and confront them, alone of course, and only by sheer luck and someone being at the right place at the right time was she saved. And the identity of the killer was so obvious, I'm surprised they didn't have a big flashing sign above their head with an arrow pointing to them saying, "IT WAS ME, IT WAS ME!!!"

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    This historical fiction is set in Denver, Colorado in the 1885 and focuses on the murders of three prostitutes (also known as the brides of the multitudes.) Sandra Dallas is from Colorado and clearly knows her Denver history. She focuses on Larimer and Holladay Streets (now called Market Street), Hop Alley, and Capitol Hill. These are actual historical sites/neighborhoods. Dallas also researched the culture of prostitution/white slavery and drug abuse that flourished at that time. The protagonist This historical fiction is set in Denver, Colorado in the 1885 and focuses on the murders of three prostitutes (also known as the brides of the multitudes.) Sandra Dallas is from Colorado and clearly knows her Denver history. She focuses on Larimer and Holladay Streets (now called Market Street), Hop Alley, and Capitol Hill. These are actual historical sites/neighborhoods. Dallas also researched the culture of prostitution/white slavery and drug abuse that flourished at that time. The protagonist is Beret (I never figured out if it was pronounced like the French cap or "Barrett"). I called her Beret, like the cap. She is the daughter of a family with a rags to riches story. Her parents are deceased; she is divorced from her husband, estranged from her sister, and is committed to assisting the poor in NYC and has set up a mission there. However, she discovers that her sister Lillie has been murdered, and that murder occurred in a brothel in Denver. Beret hastens to Denver to the home of her aunt and uncle to find out what happened. They are wealthy, and her uncle is politicking to be appointed to the US Senate. This is prior to the direct election of senators which occurred in the 1890's. There is great social pressure to mask Lillie's death so that it does not intrude on the senatorial plans. Beret is a strong woman, prim, understated, and not beautiful like her sister. Beret insinuates herself in the police investigation, intent on discovering the murderer. Detective Sergeant Mick McCauley is assigned to the case. He is aloof, often gruff, and highly competent. The two butt heads frequently, but they effectively push on with their quest. This is a good mystery story, a well researched historical fiction, and I enjoyed it very much. Sadly, I learned a great deal about what it was like to be a prostitute in Denver in the 1880's, from the high-class brothels to the filthy cribs on the street. The lifetime of a soiled dove lasted only 5 to 7 years, with many dying by suicide, violence, disease, or drug addition. Some previous reviews appear not to have understood that this is historical fiction. The characters live in their time period, not ours. 1885 was well within the influence of the Victorian Era. Women's roles were clearly defined. Beret found herself in most unusual circumstances for a woman at the time; her sister was murdered in a brothel as well as being a divorcee. I found her reaction to these circumstances appropriate for a woman at that time. I recommend this book. I have also read Tallgrass and the Last Midwife by Sandra Dallas and enjoyed them tremendously.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Blaine DeSantis

    This is a combination rating. I read this book to my wife who really enjoyed it and gave it 4****, as for myself I found it no better than a 2** effort from this author. Having read a few of Dallas's books this one just did little for me. Oh, my wife enjoyed the way the mystery of who killed Lillie Brown was resolved, but to be honest both of us figured it out quite early in the book. Worse yet, I really found few quality characters in this book. I guess Mick the detective was a good character al This is a combination rating. I read this book to my wife who really enjoyed it and gave it 4****, as for myself I found it no better than a 2** effort from this author. Having read a few of Dallas's books this one just did little for me. Oh, my wife enjoyed the way the mystery of who killed Lillie Brown was resolved, but to be honest both of us figured it out quite early in the book. Worse yet, I really found few quality characters in this book. I guess Mick the detective was a good character although there is so much left unknown about his surprising background, and the 2nd maid Nellie seems like a sweet enough soul, but that is it. Even her protagonist - Beret (an unusual name for a girl and one we never know why she is called that despite a few hints that the reasoning will be forthcoming) - is a very unlikeable character who does so many stupid things in her attempt to help Mick solve Lillie's death. Worse yet, as she does each and every stupid thing we know it and so does she, as the book is filled with her actions and then her realization that she put herself in a bad situation with no way out. But she always does get out of it, most times in rather far-fetched ways. We learn a lot about prostitutes in Denver and that the author makes a valiant to use French words and unknown language at time to describe things in the beginning of the book. When someone finally calls Lillie a whore that sort of stops the beating around the bush. She ties things up too neatly and to be quite honest there really is no logical reason why two more prostitutes need to die, and the entire Hop Alley cocaine situation just leaves me cold. I have ready about 3 or 4 of her books and this one just falls flat for me. Tallgrass was a fine effort, and I enjoyed Buster Midnight's Cafe and the others, but this just leaves me cold and makes me worry about some of her other efforts.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Heeta

    I won an ARC of Fallen Women in one of goodreads giveaways. I'm usually a happy camper reading and not much of a complainer. When I feel like I am not a liking a book it's a DNF for me and I won't bother even thinking about it. Because I don't like giving out negative reviews especially to something that I was lucky enough to win. The premise of the book was definitely interesting and the book had a promising start. But it seems that a well thought out story was not executed very well (at least f I won an ARC of Fallen Women in one of goodreads giveaways. I'm usually a happy camper reading and not much of a complainer. When I feel like I am not a liking a book it's a DNF for me and I won't bother even thinking about it. Because I don't like giving out negative reviews especially to something that I was lucky enough to win. The premise of the book was definitely interesting and the book had a promising start. But it seems that a well thought out story was not executed very well (at least for me). W/o giving away the story (I'll try not to), here are some points that went against the novel Beret She was a character that, I could not connect with at all. Usually that isn't even a problem for me. As women from an historical era have a perspective very different from mine. But even so, I can sympathize with most them. Beret just made me annoyed most of the times b/c she was stupid, naïve, ignorant, not a good judge of character, trusted and loved the most wrong people. These are not qualities, I'd expect from a women who works in horrible conditions with the "dregs" of society at that time. The story went on being more convoluted and unrealistic as it went on. And yes I know you read to escape reality. But my theory is that even the unrealistic in the book has to be made believable and it wasn't like that for me. As the big climax opens, the one twist after the other was just a tad bit too much. The "romance" (if there can be one)fell flat. My biggest issue was Beret loving her sister Lillie blindly. I was like common wake the hell up and let it go. Anyways that's just me.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Aimee

    When Beret Osmundsen's sister, Lillie, is brutally murdered in a high-class brothel in 1885 Denver, Beret teams with a police detective to solve the crime. The two sisters had been estranged for a year (for reasons that are painfully slowly revealed), and Beret feels guilty about kicking her out since this led to her being in Denver in the first place. Lillie had been living with their aunt and uncle, who is a prominent judge vying for a Senate seat. As more information about Lillie's life and d When Beret Osmundsen's sister, Lillie, is brutally murdered in a high-class brothel in 1885 Denver, Beret teams with a police detective to solve the crime. The two sisters had been estranged for a year (for reasons that are painfully slowly revealed), and Beret feels guilty about kicking her out since this led to her being in Denver in the first place. Lillie had been living with their aunt and uncle, who is a prominent judge vying for a Senate seat. As more information about Lillie's life and death emerge, such as the fact that she was pregnant, Beret realizes that she never really knew her sister, but she is determined to bring her killer to justice. Things get more complicated when another prostitute is murdered in similar fashion. When a third prostitute is attacked, the killer is identified. Or is he? While this book was interesting and held my attention, it was not very realistic. Who would allow a society woman to just barge into a police department and demand to be allowed to assist in the investigation? Yet Beret is allowed to do just that, rummaging through crime scenes, interrogating witnesses, etc. It's not that it wasn't entertaining, it just wasn't very believable. Also, I thought the resolution of the mystery was much too obvious. I had figured it out by the time I was half-way through the book. For the rest of the book I was annoyed at how slow Beret and the police detective were at figuring it out. Even the servants had solved the mystery before they did!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Sandra Dallas is one of my favorite authors, and as usual, I enjoyed this story. This one was unusual for her since it is a mystery. As she usually does, this was set in Colorado where both of us are from. The story, set in Denver in the late 1800s, is about a sister trying to solve the death of her sister. I have to admit that I didn't always like the main character and thought she handled things badly in the investigation at times with the things that she said. However, Dallas is just a good s Sandra Dallas is one of my favorite authors, and as usual, I enjoyed this story. This one was unusual for her since it is a mystery. As she usually does, this was set in Colorado where both of us are from. The story, set in Denver in the late 1800s, is about a sister trying to solve the death of her sister. I have to admit that I didn't always like the main character and thought she handled things badly in the investigation at times with the things that she said. However, Dallas is just a good storyteller so even with some minor issues I'm glad I read it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    I recently received this ARC in the mail and blazed through it in two evenings of reading. However, unfortunately, it wasn't because I adored this book. I think it had more to do with the fact that I haven't read a real, solid novel in a long time (thank you Kindle). That being said, here's my review: Dallas does a decent job setting up the plot and characters, but I had a hard time connecting with the main character, Beret, for the first third of the book. I understand with mysteries/crime novel I recently received this ARC in the mail and blazed through it in two evenings of reading. However, unfortunately, it wasn't because I adored this book. I think it had more to do with the fact that I haven't read a real, solid novel in a long time (thank you Kindle). That being said, here's my review: Dallas does a decent job setting up the plot and characters, but I had a hard time connecting with the main character, Beret, for the first third of the book. I understand with mysteries/crime novels there needs to be elements of the unknown, surprise, etc. but for a while in the beginning, while not feeling attached to Beret, it would have been nice to know more about the background story and circumstances up front. To be honest for the first few chapters I just felt a little lost and disconnected. I think this also had to do with the fact that the writing style was hard to get used to at first. I think Dallas was trying to not only mimic the voices of the gilded age in the dialogue, but also in the entire novel. Quaint, but I found myself having to re-read sentences to get the meaning from them. Luckily, I'm a fast reader, and I got through the difficult beginning to get to the meat of the novel. As things started to develop in Beret's investigation I started to really enjoy the book and felt on my toes about her solving the murder of her sister. At times, I felt that the murderer was so obvious, but Dallas takes you around the block finding new reasons for new suspects. Ultimately, the culprit was someone unexpected, yet expected at the same time. If only for solving the murder, I would have been totally satisfied with that. But during the investigation Beret started to discover and explore her relationship with her sister Lillie and what tore then apart. Beret's feelings and relationship never felt truly resolved in the novel. I mean, Beret found out some pretty terrible things, and she never seemed to deal with them emotionally until one day in a conversation she was just like "yeah that is true, I've come to accept it." There was so much potential for a further exploration of her relationship with her sister. Overall, a very decent book. I haven't enjoyed too many crime/murder mystery novels in the past, so I can't say that I'm an expert in evaluating these types of novels, but I would say that it's a good one to read snuggled up in a warm blanket on a rainy weekend.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    2.0 out of 5 stars - "We're all fallen women one way or another..A fallen woman is worse than any man." That quote summarizes the whole tone of this murder mystery with a supposed historical authenticity. The time is 1885 and the place is Denver, Colorado. Beret (?) Osmundsen, a socialite and mission worker from New York, comes to this western town when she gets word that her younger sister, Lillie, has been murdered in a brothel there. Lillie, from whom Beret has been estranged, apparently fled 2.0 out of 5 stars - "We're all fallen women one way or another..A fallen woman is worse than any man." That quote summarizes the whole tone of this murder mystery with a supposed historical authenticity. The time is 1885 and the place is Denver, Colorado. Beret (?) Osmundsen, a socialite and mission worker from New York, comes to this western town when she gets word that her younger sister, Lillie, has been murdered in a brothel there. Lillie, from whom Beret has been estranged, apparently fled west after the sisters had a terrible falling out, and later on became a prostitute in Denver's tenderloin district. As soon as Beret arrives in Denver and is installed at the home of her wealthy aunt and uncle there, I was able to predict the whole rest of the outcome of the story. I did not connect with any of the characters nor did I ultimately care about them. Beret has absolutely no qualifications but ends up working with a detective there (himself a member of Denver's society people but slumming working in the police) helping with the investigation into Lillie's murder (and then another) without more than her experience in her mission work providing the credentials. Beret and Mick McCauley joke about her being a "criminologist" and their idea of police investigative technique is certainly superficial and not based on any science or forensic procedure but conjecture. Regardless, the identity of and reasons for the murder are obvious almost immediately. Beret is shallow, snobbish, and not as clever as she thinks she is -- and of course gets herself nearly killed several times from her incredibly stupid sleuthing techniques. The author attempts to throw in many red herrings to try to divert the reader, but it is unsuccessful and more annoying as it drags out the book unnecessarily. At the conclusion, I was happy to be finished, and was very disappointed in this novel. Amazon vine ARC.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    In fairness, I would probably give this book 3.5 stars. I did enjoy the story and especially the historical setting which she always writes so well. There were times in the book that I thought, "Ok, this is going to be one of those really obvious who done it stories." But she did have a few tricks up her sleeve and ended up surprising me. I will agree with some of the other reviewers that I was often frustrated by the main character. Honestly, you live in an era where women were generally very c In fairness, I would probably give this book 3.5 stars. I did enjoy the story and especially the historical setting which she always writes so well. There were times in the book that I thought, "Ok, this is going to be one of those really obvious who done it stories." But she did have a few tricks up her sleeve and ended up surprising me. I will agree with some of the other reviewers that I was often frustrated by the main character. Honestly, you live in an era where women were generally very careful and proper and yet you consistently find yourself in improper and dangerous situations. I didn't think that was too realistic but her research on the prostitution on that time and what led many women to it, I thought was very accurate and well researched. Given the subject matter, that the main character's sister finds herself in Prostitution and some of the underworld that goes along with it, this book was clean and didn't go into any descriptive detail or have any scenes. I love the author and enjoyed the book, just not my very favorite of hers.

  19. 4 out of 5

    JoAnne Pulcino

    FALLEN WOMEN Sandra Dallas Ms. Dallas is without a doubt a writer who understands and writes beautifully about women in their voices. Her talent in bringing women to life and exploring their relationships is marvelous. In 1885 wealthy New York socialite Beret Osmundsen receives word that her estranged younger sister, Lillie has been brutally murdered in Denver. Upon arriving in Denver, Beret discovers Lillie was a prostitute and she takes it upon herself to be an integral part of the investigation FALLEN WOMEN Sandra Dallas Ms. Dallas is without a doubt a writer who understands and writes beautifully about women in their voices. Her talent in bringing women to life and exploring their relationships is marvelous. In 1885 wealthy New York socialite Beret Osmundsen receives word that her estranged younger sister, Lillie has been brutally murdered in Denver. Upon arriving in Denver, Beret discovers Lillie was a prostitute and she takes it upon herself to be an integral part of the investigation and has to convince detective Mick McCauley to include her. The search takes her from the depraved Tenderloin district to the homes of the social set. As previously stated Ms. Dallas is a wonderful writer of women’s stories and especially in the old west. I believe this is her first attempt at a mystery, and as much as I admire her stretching herself, it was obvious very early on who the murderer was and really not much of a mystery. The main character’s unusual first name was to have been explained, but that never happened.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mookie

    Enh. Overall this book made me uncomfortable. It wasn't terribly written, just, wooden. I think it suffered from over-research, or rather, the lack of subtle integration of over-research. I still crave an understanding for Lillie's motivations behind her constant betrayals. Teddy should have been burned at the stake at the end. I figured out the murderer (and why they did what they did) about a quarter way in. I get that Mick (somehow both a roguish working-man Irishman, AND part of Denver's soc Enh. Overall this book made me uncomfortable. It wasn't terribly written, just, wooden. I think it suffered from over-research, or rather, the lack of subtle integration of over-research. I still crave an understanding for Lillie's motivations behind her constant betrayals. Teddy should have been burned at the stake at the end. I figured out the murderer (and why they did what they did) about a quarter way in. I get that Mick (somehow both a roguish working-man Irishman, AND part of Denver's social elite) and Beret (bit of a Mary Sue), admire each other, but their dialogues lacked spark. I honestly felt sorry for the murderer. (The confrontation was a terribly uncomfortable read). I think Beret's character got away with more than a 19th century woman could vouch for. There lacked an overall sense of redemption. And hold up, did Teddy just drop his blackmail suit against her? Why is Mick moving to New York? I lot of things I don't get.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    Sandra Dallas is one of my favorite authors. That being said this book was a little disappointing for me. I didn't like reading about a prostitute's murder and the opium dens. Sandra Dallas knows how to tell a story no matter what the content though. After reading and during my read I didn't like thinking about the drug addicts in 1885, the poverty, and what drove prostitutes to their profession. I am naive enough to think of the 19th century as not having the problems we suffer from now. I know Sandra Dallas is one of my favorite authors. That being said this book was a little disappointing for me. I didn't like reading about a prostitute's murder and the opium dens. Sandra Dallas knows how to tell a story no matter what the content though. After reading and during my read I didn't like thinking about the drug addicts in 1885, the poverty, and what drove prostitutes to their profession. I am naive enough to think of the 19th century as not having the problems we suffer from now. I know, my problem.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    I was so tempted to give up on this and not finish many times, but persist I did. I have been delighted by some of Sandra Dallas' previous novels, and some I have found just okay. This was a waste of time. Wa-a-a-ay too melodramatic, silly even. I was so glad this was a library book and I had not spent good money on it. I was so tempted to give up on this and not finish many times, but persist I did. I have been delighted by some of Sandra Dallas' previous novels, and some I have found just okay. This was a waste of time. Wa-a-a-ay too melodramatic, silly even. I was so glad this was a library book and I had not spent good money on it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Oona

    Compelling . Twisty turny plot. In addition to not knowing who the murderer was, the impression of the victim's life story kept changing. The characters were strong, especially the female lead. Other characters were in the background all along but became significant towards the conclusion. Only objection: repetitive observations about weather in Denver. Compelling . Twisty turny plot. In addition to not knowing who the murderer was, the impression of the victim's life story kept changing. The characters were strong, especially the female lead. Other characters were in the background all along but became significant towards the conclusion. Only objection: repetitive observations about weather in Denver.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kara-karina

    I am starting the year with DNFs but I promised myself to be ruthless if I don't like the book and stop reading it. Nothing wrong with Fallen Women, but I've been listening to it on audio and couldn't get into it within the first few chapters.DNF I am starting the year with DNFs but I promised myself to be ruthless if I don't like the book and stop reading it. Nothing wrong with Fallen Women, but I've been listening to it on audio and couldn't get into it within the first few chapters.DNF

  25. 5 out of 5

    Journey

    this is awful. awful, misogynistic, and I kept hoping it would redeem itself but it did not. given the notes at the end, and some of Beret's comments in the book, I think the author BELIEVES she's giving a sympathetic look at prostitution. but tearing apart a CHILD for not being a perfect innocent is uh, not really sympathetic. Beret's sister, Lillie, is an adult when she dies, but a child when it all starts. (view spoiler)[she is a CHILD when Beret marries and it's implied the husband is skeeving this is awful. awful, misogynistic, and I kept hoping it would redeem itself but it did not. given the notes at the end, and some of Beret's comments in the book, I think the author BELIEVES she's giving a sympathetic look at prostitution. but tearing apart a CHILD for not being a perfect innocent is uh, not really sympathetic. Beret's sister, Lillie, is an adult when she dies, but a child when it all starts. (view spoiler)[she is a CHILD when Beret marries and it's implied the husband is skeeving on Lillie (in a passage about 14-year-old Lillie choosing a low-cut dress and the husband, Teddy, being delighted and calling her candy). she is probably still a child, or not much past it, when that FATHER FIGURE (as her and Beret's parents are dead) has sex with her. and then she's thrown out by her loving, devoted sister for it. and she's not far into her 20s when another father figure, her uncle, also has an affair with her. oh, and then her mother figure/aunt sells her to a brothel and later kills her. and yet! and yet! it is Lillie we hear about, Beret who is repeatedly told, and has to finally accept, that her little sister was not the angel she thought, that she was wild and wanton. yeah, it's not like it's very likely these ADULT FATHER FIGURES TO HER took advantage of her. (hide spoiler)] gross.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nancy H

    What an amazing book! I could not put it down. It is historical fiction but also a great mystery involving a 19th-century Denver and its prostitutes, who are being systematically killed. Or so it seems. The main character, Beret, comes to Denver to find out what happened to her sister, and with the help of a very nice policeman, Mick, discovers much more than she ever wanted to know. Working together, the two of them discover the sordid story of what actually happened and how it affected her fam What an amazing book! I could not put it down. It is historical fiction but also a great mystery involving a 19th-century Denver and its prostitutes, who are being systematically killed. Or so it seems. The main character, Beret, comes to Denver to find out what happened to her sister, and with the help of a very nice policeman, Mick, discovers much more than she ever wanted to know. Working together, the two of them discover the sordid story of what actually happened and how it affected her family in unbelievable ways. I certainly hope that Sandra Dallas is going to write more books featuring these two fascinating characters, and from the hint at the end, it will certainly be possible.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tonya

    Sandra Dallas is one of my all-time favorites. So her first mystery, I was so in. And I am glad!! I loved this book. Beret is on her way to Denver, to find out why her sister is dead. When finding out maybe her sister wasn't the person she thought she was, she is intrigued to find out more and also who the murderer is. Denver is my hometown, and I love that Dallas writes about what she knows best. I love how she carefully crafted Beret, Lillie and even Detective McCauley. I think the Butler was m Sandra Dallas is one of my all-time favorites. So her first mystery, I was so in. And I am glad!! I loved this book. Beret is on her way to Denver, to find out why her sister is dead. When finding out maybe her sister wasn't the person she thought she was, she is intrigued to find out more and also who the murderer is. Denver is my hometown, and I love that Dallas writes about what she knows best. I love how she carefully crafted Beret, Lillie and even Detective McCauley. I think the Butler was my least favorite person. I highly recommend this book for every Dallas fan or a fan of mystery! Indeed, fallen women... brilliant, bloody brilliant book. READ IT ASAP!!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mom2nine

    If you haven't read Dallas before, don't start with this book. Perhaps she is slipping a bit. Seems she researched about "fallen women" of the West and wanted to write a fair story, with respect for said women. The main character, Beret, was just too stupid, sorry for lack of better word. She continually put herself in dangerous situations, certain that she could protect herself; unfortunately she has no plans for protection. Everyone just happened to be wealthy: father and uncle made millions, If you haven't read Dallas before, don't start with this book. Perhaps she is slipping a bit. Seems she researched about "fallen women" of the West and wanted to write a fair story, with respect for said women. The main character, Beret, was just too stupid, sorry for lack of better word. She continually put herself in dangerous situations, certain that she could protect herself; unfortunately she has no plans for protection. Everyone just happened to be wealthy: father and uncle made millions, cop is from wealthy family, everyone found a way to get rich. Book is an easy read, an enjoyable few hours.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Normally, I like the glimpses Sandra Dallas gives us into times past. Through her writing, I've explored the days when the west was a new land, still being shaped and discovered. The women in her books have character, strength that they might not be aware of, but that helps them live in the raw, new land where they are settled. I usually learn something, too, which is always an added bonus. But this book just didn't make the cut for me. The writing didn't come to life. I abandoned it at page 114 Normally, I like the glimpses Sandra Dallas gives us into times past. Through her writing, I've explored the days when the west was a new land, still being shaped and discovered. The women in her books have character, strength that they might not be aware of, but that helps them live in the raw, new land where they are settled. I usually learn something, too, which is always an added bonus. But this book just didn't make the cut for me. The writing didn't come to life. I abandoned it at page 114. Beret, and her dead sister, and all the other surrounding characters just couldn't hold me. Sorry.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Not terrible. The continuity mistakes drove me mad though... ARGH! Story is pretty simple, and I had figured it out before Beret did (What the heck kind of name is Beret??). Saw the romance angle from a mile away too. There were plenty of misdirections and red herrings in this "mystery", but the hints were so ham handed that I'd be surprised most people don't figure it out before the reveal. A quick light read, and if there's a follow up to Beret's and Mick's story, I'd likely give it a go. Not terrible. The continuity mistakes drove me mad though... ARGH! Story is pretty simple, and I had figured it out before Beret did (What the heck kind of name is Beret??). Saw the romance angle from a mile away too. There were plenty of misdirections and red herrings in this "mystery", but the hints were so ham handed that I'd be surprised most people don't figure it out before the reveal. A quick light read, and if there's a follow up to Beret's and Mick's story, I'd likely give it a go.

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