Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Chili Queen” as Want to Read:
The Chili Queen
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Chili Queen

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  2,578 Ratings  ·  340 Reviews
Life may have been hard on Addie French, but when she meets friendless Emma Roby on a train, all her protective instincts emerge. Emma's brother is seeing her off to Nalgitas to marry a man she has never met. And Emma seems like a lost soul to Addie-someone who needs Addie's savvy and wary eye. It isn't often that Addie is drawn to anyone as a friend, but Emma seems differ
...more
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published September 5th 2002 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Chili Queen, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Chili Queen

The Help by Kathryn StockettTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk KiddFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie FlaggGarden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Quirky Southern Fiction
722 books — 1,845 voters
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. RowlingThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Return of the King by J.R.R. TolkienThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanA Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Royalty
747 books — 110 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Carole P. Roman
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Something smells at the Chili Queens's house of ill repute, and it's not in the kitchen. The Chili Queen is a tale about a tough as nails madam with a tender heart who takes in an abandoned bride, who repays her by turning her well-ordered life upside down. At times hilarious, at times tender, even sad, the Chili Queen is a colorful adventure of the old west filled with ladies of the night, bank robbers, and con artists. Sandra Dallas's wonderful prose recreates the honky-tonk atmosphere of fron ...more
Susan
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western, 2015-reads
This book was so much fun! If you are expecting a book about homesteading women sitting around talking about their quilt squares like I was, you are going to be surprised. I don’t want to give away any of the plot, but it was a different twist on a western with lots of surprises. This is my favorite of the Sandra Dallas books I have read so far.
Judy
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sandra Dallas writes about a wide variety of women--mostly from a historical perspective. Addie French is certainly an unusual protagonist. Addie is a madame of a brothel in a small New Mexico town. There is humor as Addie befriends Emma Roby, who doesn't realize shenis staying in a brothel! Not a boarding house. But things turn serious as Addie and her outlaw boyfriend, Ned Partmer, assist Emma on tricking her brother out of the money that is rightfully Emma's. It is a good story with tension a ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
I'm not the right audience for this novel, but I think it's an interesting book. It is fun in the last third of the book after a slow exploration of the characters and their relationships before the quick finish. Unfortunately I did not connect with any of them except a bit with the Chili Queen herself, nurturer and protector, even if flawed, comes closest. For me, it appeared that the author didn't get the genre tone consistently right either - drama, chick lit, con artist wry wink, old west mo ...more
Beth
Sep 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I did some of the other books by Sandra Dallas that I've read. It was very slow going until the last third, and I really couldn't connect with any of the characters. I don't think it was that the story was told from multiple points of view, it was more that their emotions and inner thoughts were portrayed so shallowly, I think. It's still a pretty good read, just not exceptional.
Sarah
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-queen-books
I picked up this book because it had the word 'Queen' in the title; no lie (part of my current 'queen' fetish). Regardless, I found the book to be very interesting. I enjoyed all aspects of this book. I like how the characters were constructed, the placement of the setting, and the building of the plot and subplots (figured out the first twist, but was surprised by the second). It has all the things that make a good afternoon read. I would recommend this book. Very entertaining.
Relyn
May 02, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: I wouldn't.
Recommended to Relyn by: Sandra Dallas
My first reading of this book was years ago - before I was on GoodReads. I am surprised that I ever liked this book or read it twice. What was I thinking? First, Sandra Dallas is obviously fascinated by prostitutes; they make it into nearly every book. Enough already! Tell a different story please. It's not that that story is unimportant, just that it's a theme she seems to be stuck on. Prostitution and quilting.

(view spoiler)
...more
Christina
I have mixed feelings about the Chili Queen because the novel tried to tackle too many genres. It started out fairly lighthearted and it almost seemed like I was reading a Janet Evanovich novel. In the late 1800's, Addie is leaving Kansas City to return home to Nalgitas, NM by train when she meets Emma Roby. As a mail order bride with conservative upbringing, Emma is on her way to Nalgitas to meet her future husband. Addie runs the "hook house" in Nalgitas but Emma mistakenly thinks it is a boar ...more
Sherrill Watson
Addie French is / has The Chili Queen, a "hookhouse" in Nalgitas, New Mexico, where she makes some great chili, among other things. She meets "Emma Roby" on the train back to Nalgitas, and Emma seems like a well-brought up young lady from Kansas, a mail-order bride however. Addie has a friend, Ned Partner (a bank robber) and a "woman" who helps around the "house," named "Welcome." The three of them scheme a plan to get Emma's money out of her "brother" John.

Meanwhile, the three of them also plan
...more
Karin
Dec 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised by this book. It took me a while to really get into it because I honestly thought it was just going to be about a "hook-house" but by the end you realize it is about so much more. This book is about secrets, cheating, facades, depression, and over-coming lost love. Addie is a madam of a whore house, The Chili Queen, with a background no one can imagine. She, against everything she believes in, takes in a seemingly sweet and innocent Emma Roby. But Emma is not all she appears, tho ...more
Kathryn
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
This was such a good book. I don't want to give one thing away. If you like Sandra Dallas or maybe never read her give this one a try! It's a light historical fiction with a tiny touch of quilting. I've liked every book she has ever written
Ginger
Aug 24, 2016 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
dumb. how many times can you say whore in 1 book. oh wait, I don't need to find out. (next time- use a thesaurus.)
Cheryl
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Chili Queen was a unique book for me -- I enjoyed the author's humor as she created a clear picture of a "hookhouse" in the West. I liked the way Sandra Dallas created and developed the characters and plots. Every once in a while, her words made me laugh out loud. I didn't see the twists and turns of the plot coming.
Linda
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mkotch
May 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read the beginning, got bogged down (very unusual for me with a book by this author), and read the end. Just not as thoughtful or interesting as her other books.
Julie Kreun
This book was a selection for the Boyden Book Club. I found it entertaining and liked the unexpected twists in the book and the character development. It wasn't a deep read but it was fun and sometimes that just what you need.
Cassie Rodgers
I read this book so fast I didn't even do a half way review! Which would have been nice to see what I would have given it since it was way better in the beginning. The ending was ok, but the very ending was super awkward! I don't know what it was, but that last chapter sucked! Sandra Dallas failed there, the characters lost their color and the story lost it's charm. And those are the two most special traits of a Sandra Dallas novel. There was also a lot that should have happened in terms of stor ...more
Marleen
Nov 23, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sandra-dallas
In all fairness, I’m somewhat disappointed in Sandra Dallas' The Chili Queen. No doubt this author is very talented and I’ve certainly been enjoying 3 or 4 of her previous books, especially Buster Midnight’s Café, which is truly a little gem of original story-telling. It’s the authentic feel and freshness of her stories, and the quirkiness of her characters that mainly appeal to me. The people she brings to life are simple but extraordinary at the same time. That's what I like.
As for The Chili Q
...more
Anne Hawn Smith
I loved this book! It was engaging all the way through with a real twist at the end.. This is Sandra Dallas at her best. The characters seem alive with all their quirks and inconsistencies. At the end it is just pure fun. I also resonated with the names. I have relatives who are from What Cheer, Iowa and an Aunt Addie who lived here...hmmm and she was born in Jasper County! I felt like Sandra Dallas had looked at my genealogy;>)I have always been fascinated with the name. No one is exactly su ...more
Joyce
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Natalie
Hmmm...I'm not sure what to say about this book. I actually even feel a little sketchy putting in the western genre. It's mostly a chick-lit, set in an "old west" setting.

Addie runs a whorehouse but she lets her knew acquaintance, Emma board with her, when Emma is jilted by her fiancé. Ned is the outlaw that Addie "services" on occasion. Welcome is the larger than life black servant that works for Addie. The four concoct a scheme to cheat Emma's nasty brother out of some money.

(view spoiler)
...more
Diana
Mar 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Things are not always as they appear" should be the theme of this book.
Addie French, owner of a house of ill repute, the Chili Queen, is on a train. A man and woman get on the train and the man makes the woman, Emma Roby, sit next to Addie. Emma is on her way to marry a man she had never met. The groom to be does not make an appearance at the train station.
Emma goes to Addie's "boarding house." There are a lot of interesting characters in this book.
First, there is Emma's rough, demanding brot
...more
Adrienne
Jun 26, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
Addie French is a proprietor of a house of ill repute; on a train back to her establishment, the Chili Queen, she meets Emma Roby, who is heading to Addie's town, bound to wed a man she's never met because it will be better than staying with her domineering older brother, who has denied her her half of their inheritance. When they reach Naglitas, though, Emma's intended won't have her, and she turns to Addie for help--and even stays in Addie's home. Addie's lover, the bank-robbing Ned Pardner, c ...more
Melinda
I think that this book contains some promising potential, creative character development, historical settings and heightened imagery that continues for about 2/3 of the novel. Emma began as quite a mysterious character - a well-meaning woman who had experienced some unfortunate circumstances, but whose uncharacteristic actions caused me to anticipate an upcoming plot upheaval. Ned, for the most part, appeared to have good intentions, despite his history of robbing banks. Perhaps he just needed t ...more
Kaite Stover
The author tweaks the Western genre with her newest historical novel. Retired shortchange-artist-turned-madam Addie French meets Emma Roby, a meek and ladylike mail-order bride on the train to Nalgitas, New Mexico. Deserted at the train station by her groom, Emma makes her way to the Chili Queen, Addie's "boarding house." There Emma meets Welcome, the mysterious cook, and Ned Partner, an amiable and talented bank robber. At Addie's suggestion, Ned agrees to rob a local bank to avenge an insult m ...more
Judy
Nov 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wian-2016
Addie French's life hasn't been easy. But when she meets Emma Roby on the train to Nalgitas NM, she can't help but take this poor unsuspecting woman under her wing. Emma is going to Nalgitas to marry a man she has only corresponded with. Addie is sure that Emma needs her help, and when the prospective groom fails to pick Emma up at the train depot, Addie takes her in at The Chili Queen, her brothel. As their friendship develops or at least changes, secrets and schemes come to light. Each woman l ...more
Keilani Ludlow
Interesting book. I like the story, and I am fairly sure I like the characters, though they are all hookers, crooks, and cons. They're the Butch Cassidy kind of bad guys. They really aren't good or upstanding people, but they also aren't vicious or evil people and you can't help but like them. The main character is the proprietor of the Chili Queen, a hookhouse. She owns and runs it, but will help out on the busy nights. One day she does a good woman a good turn, against her better judgment, and ...more
Nancy
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second Sandra Dallas book I have read, and I like her writing and her stories a lot. They are not deep literature, but not light fluff either. She writes of old Colorado, the wild west, and interesting characters she creates. Dallas has the language down perfectly, using dialect and obsolete words with flair. The Chili Queen had many plot twists, half of which I guessed and the other half that totally surprised.
Addie owns a small brothel, and she is proud to be an independent busines
...more
Laura
Jun 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In reading the summary and the first few chapters, I thought this was a book about how a simple saintly woman would, through her wonderful example, turn a whorehouse into a nice respectable establishment. Once I started reading, I was feeling sad that the book was going to be so cliche. Then the book took an interesting turn, got much better and the story became something very very different than what it started out as.

I wish the author had not been so heavy handed with clues as to the twists.
...more
Chris
Not a bad story, in fact, it definitely keeps you interested in trying to figure out who's doing what to whom. The problem is that I just didn't like any of the characters. Addie is a madam on her way from Kansas City to Nalgitas, New Mexico, where she runs a "hookhouse." On the train she meets Emma, who says she's going to Nalgitas to marry a man she's never met to get away from a surly brother. When the man rejects the plain-looking Emma, she shows up at Addie's asking to stay a while. Soon Ad ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Bookworm Bitches : Novmeber 2013: The Chili Queen 15 126 Mar 30, 2014 08:44PM  
  • Still Water Saints
  • Holding My Breath
  • Set Me Free
  • The Seeds of a Daisy
  • Swim to Me
  • The Runaway Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts, #4)
  • Charity Girl
  • A Ticket to Ride: A Novel
  • The Art Of Men (I Prefer Mine Al Dente)
  • The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (The Darling Dahlias #1)
  • The Scent of God: A Memoir
  • The Book of Kings (Mister Max, #3)
  • The Gifted Gabaldón Sisters
  • Come Spring
  • Murder on the Titanic
  • For Better or For Worse
  • Mr. Thundermug
  • The Photograph
74078
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
...more
More about Sandra Dallas...

Share This Book

“Ned was always an admirer of sunrises. From his first days in the West when he was a runaway boy, he had been gladdened by the dawn over the prairie. He loved the beauty as the day began to break, the black sky softening into gray, the faint streak of yellow light, then flash following flash of violent color - rose and purple and magenta - as far as the eye could reach. He never failed to hold his breath as the sun slid over the horizon like a giant gold watch. If he rode late at night, he waited until sunrise to bed down. And when he stayed at The Chili Queen, he sometimes rose at dawn just to watch the day begin, going back to bed only when the color in the sky faded into blue, the pale shade of a shirt that had been washed again and again. Once, when the sunrise filled the heavens with streaks of pink and orange, Ned awakened Addie to see the wonder of it, but she muttered she had never seen a sunrise that was worth missing two minutes of sleep. She'd take a sunset any day. Not Ned. Sunset was the beginning of darkness; sunrise meant a whole new, glad day ahead, filled with the gift of surprise. From the first time Ned had seen the western sunrise, with the daylight washing over the prairie, turning the brown grasses to gold, he had felt his boy's heart lift and was filled with a sense of freedom he'd never even dreamed about at his father's farm on the Mississippi.” 0 likes
“Emma fussed with the cinnamon-rose starts she had planted all over the backyard. She was as tender with the roses as if they were her children, and every hour or two she watered them.” 0 likes
More quotes…