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Alice's Tulips

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  3,047 Ratings  ·  356 Reviews
Alice Bullock is a young newlywed whose husband, Charlie, has just joined the Union Army, leaving her on his Iowa farm with only his formidable mother for company. Equally talented at sewing and gossip, and not overly fond of hard work, Alice writes lively letters to her sister filled with accounts of local quilting bees, the rigors of farm life, and the customs of small-t
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 16th 2000 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2000)
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(showing 1-30)
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Eighteen-year-old Alice has only been married for six months when her husband marches off to war for the Union Army. He left her on the family farm in rural Iowa with his stern mother. Alice was an immature city girl with a flirty, gregarious manner so the isolation and hard work of farm life was a big adjustment. The book is told in a series of letters to her sister, although many of them have much more dialogue than you would ever find in a normal letter. The correspondence is lively, gossipy, ...more
Kayla Turner
Jan 13, 2011 Kayla Turner rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Recommended to Kayla by: My 11th grade history teacher
This book is the most god-awful abomination on the face of the earth, next to the Twilight series. I had to read it for a history project and I was appalled. The main character Alice is a Mary-Sue. She's 100% perfect and possesses no flaws whatsoever. All the men in the town want her for themselves while her husband is at war and Alice does nothing to stop their advances. The book has no plot, even though the summary suggests otherwise. The whole "murder" theme doesn't even become apparant until ...more
Carole Roman
Dec 17, 2013 Carole Roman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great story! The character's are so real, they stay with you long after you close the book. The lost art of letter writing was how people communicated in the past. This book is a peephole into the life a young girl and we watch her grow up as war erases her youth and callowness. Realistic character, foibles and all both lovable and unforgettable. The irony in the ending is alone, worth the read.
Mar 07, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sarah by: Eunice from my knitting club
I forgot I had this book. Now I remember why I do. I enjoy the growth and self-realization of the heroine. I like the story-telling device (her letters to her sister) and that with only a few lines we get almost a full picture of her sister's story as well. It's earthy, but I like a bit of frankness. It does remind me that for as much as we lament "society" today, I would much rather be living right when and where I am.
Sep 23, 2016 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book got better as it progressed. It is a bit hard to get used to the one- sided storyline.

I did enjoy other books by Sandra Dallas more than this one.
Keilani Ludlow
I liked Persian Pickle Club more, I liked Buster's Midnight Cafe less. I usually don't give a summary because you can read that everywhere, but I have to give a bit of one to explain what I see. The main character, Alice, is left with her cranky mother-in-law on a farm near the middle of nowhere when her husband joins up to fight for the Union. She has been married about a year and when she married him, he worked in a store. She specifically did not marry a farmer, having been raised on a farm a ...more
Civil War era novel that is comprised of letters written during the war years to the protagonist's sister, husband. It's an interesting account of having to work a farm (Iowa)without men and with a crabby mother-in-law. It certainly kept my interest and held some dicey details. But I thought that the copy in the letters was at some points not possible or highly unlikely for a woman of that period. If the author had chosen a few dramatic decisions it would have been better. She tried to do too mu ...more
I really liked this book. It's a nice, quiet little read with likable characters for whom you hope against hope things will turn out well. I liked that it was composed entirely of letters written from Alice to her sister. Alice's voice was enjoyable and she interjected subtle humor into much of her writing. She reminded me somewhat of Scarlet O'Hara in the way that she matured over the course of the book. Having read The Diary of Mattie Spenser, I appreciated the references to characters from th ...more

Alice's Tulips is another fine Sandra Dallas book. The plot is simplistic: women on their own, trying to farm and survive during the war between the states. Both there is nothing simplistic about the hardships that Alice and her mother-in-law faced. The two plucky women made their way and found room for others. Yet again, Sandra Dallas has intertwined information and a love of quilting as an integral part of the story. I was again struck by the honest, open view Sandra gives of small town life,
Oct 13, 2009 Kathryn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
The history told in this book about the Civil War era was fascintating. Sandra Dallas is awesome in touching every detail about the era she writes about. Alice was a wonderful character full of flaws, dreams, duty, and love of her husband. I thought the story was a bit slow but the last 20-30 pages brought the entire story line together and completed all the loose ends. I would definitely recommend it.
Sep 20, 2011 Julene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun read. Set during the Civil War and written as a series of letters to protagonists sister. Has a bit of suspense to make it fun. I liked the progression of the main character who I didn't love during the beginning of the book. I have my doubts about whether some of the slightly scandalous topics in her letters where commonly discussed during that time and would not let my daughter read this until she was in high school or older.
Mar 04, 2009 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women
This is one of my favourite books. Set during the American civil war, it's about the relationship between a young war bride and her mother-in-law, and a coming of age story. Told through letters sent to her sister, mother, and new husband, we see the evolution of a young girl into a young woman. It is wonderfully sculpted and beautifully told, with a very distinct voice. I loved this book, and often buy it to give to girlfriends for birthdays or other occasions.
Aug 22, 2015 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book very much. It was a quick read, as it was written in the form of sister to another. At first, I didn't like that it was only Alice writing, and never the reverse as well. However, as the book progressed, that didn't bother me anymore. It was interesting to see how Alice matured and changed over the course of the civil war and I liked how the title of the book was worked into the story. The characters of the book were interesting as well.
Kelsey Burnette
Such a charming little book. My Civil War theme continues. Alice narrates her story through letters to her sister and lots of great quilts. Lots of great female characters, and a little murder mystery thrown in for good measure.
Aug 20, 2007 April rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alice's letters to her sister while her husband Charlie is away to fight for the Union in the Civil war. I love the interactions between Alice and Charlie's mother and couldn't put down the book until Charlie came home.
Barbara Vinocur
I like stories taking place during the Civil War. This one is about young, newly married Alice and her letters about her life with her husband off fighting. I enjoyed it.
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Interesting book on Civil War time. I loved the quilting. I usually don't really go for the books written in letter form but this one is done very well.
Anne Steel
Dec 23, 2013 Anne Steel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the historical aspect of this book. I didn't think I would like the Letters to Lizzie format, but I devoured this book. Loved the history of quilts,
Nov 12, 2013 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book, I have never read a book about the civil war based on a northern perspective. This was well written.
Melissa Jordan
Jan 23, 2013 Melissa Jordan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book at least 3 times. Truly enjoyed this book.
Jan 11, 2017 Juliad rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Going into the book I was not expecting that much to happen just because the setting of the book was located in a small farm town. And at first my thoughts were right because the beginning of the book was extremely slow with lots of added details that are not really needed. I think they should have brought up the rape and murder earlier in the book to give people more of an incentive to keep reading. Overall I would not recommend reading this book if you're looking for a exciting read.
Oct 16, 2016 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It is quite certain that I shall live, and I have been such an object of my own pity that you may save yours for another occasion."
Nicely written in an archaic style without being difficult to read.
The text kept striking me as being simple. Oh, plenty happens, and there is even a nice double twist at the end. I suppose the naive transparency is appropriate to a very young bride writing to her sister while her husband is fighting in the Civil War.
I also have new insight as to why the appliqued
Elaine Wilcox
Jan 07, 2017 Elaine Wilcox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book and decided that Sandra Dallas is my favorite author. Quality writing all the way.
Oct 19, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked this more than expected. I guess I thought it was going to be 'hit you over the head with Christianity' and a story. It wasn't at all. The character of Alice was so alive-she really came right off the page. Loved how the author had me guessing a couple of times, too.

....mostly clean, nothing explicit. Good read!
Oct 19, 2016 Lora rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not impressed, moving on!
I love a few of Sandra Dallas' books...this is not one of them. It was interesting to a point and I did want to finish it. The letter format got quite boring by the end. And sisters writing to each other about things that make you blush (during Civil war times, when anyone could read your letter?) was a little too much. I did enjoy the overall story of a civil war soldier's wife and her mother-in-law coping while he was away.
Rachel Bhattacharyya
I have read several Sandra Dallas books and enjoyed each one. The combination of Dallas' descriptions of quilt history, quilt designs, and the role they played in women's lives juxtaposed with the story of the home life of a young Yankee newlywed during the Civil War is very effective.
Jan 15, 2017 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy the interconnectedness I am always finding . I love history and have an appreciation of women's struggles through time.
Feb 22, 2015 Erika rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Erika by: My history teacher
This book is about a newlywed named Alice, she lives with her husband's mother on Bramble Farm during the Civil war era. During the story she is accused of murder and is shunned from society in the town of Slatyfork. The entire book is letters to her sister.
When I first read what this book was about I thought this might be good. I thought there would be more action with the murder but I was wrong. I even tried to like Alice but that was nearly impossible. She was a terrible person. She told her
When her husband enlists as a Union soldier, teenage newlywed Alice Bullock must live on his family's Bramble Farm on the outskirts of Slatyfork, Iowa, with only her stern mother-in-law for company. The story is told through Alice’s letters to her sister over two and a half years, and are filled with accounts of quilting bees, the hardness of farm life, and small town customs. In her long, gossipy letters to Lizzie we experience Alice's life on the run-down farm. As the story unfolds, secrets an ...more
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Award-winning author SANDRA DALLAS was dubbed “a quintessential American voice” by Jane Smiley, in Vogue Magazine. Sandra’s novels with their themes of loyalty, friendship, and human dignity have been translated into a dozen foreign languages and have been optioned for films.

A journalism graduate of the University of Denver, Sandra began her writing career as a reporter with Business Week. A staff
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“Proverbs 31:27: “She looketh well to the way of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness.” 0 likes
“I don’t know how a woman can have such a poor view of herself as to show off poor stitching.” 0 likes
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