New York Times Best Selling Author

The Chili Queen

“As satisfying as a John Ford movie, with just the right touches of humor and period detail.”—Kirkus Reviews

Even though life has been hard on Addie French, all her protective instincts emerge when she meets a friendless young woman on a train from Kansas to New Mexico. Emma Roby’s brother is seeing her off 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 different somehow. When Emma’s prospective groom fails to show up at the train depot, Addie breaks all her principles to shelter the girl at the Chili Queen, a place where men are “taken in and done for.” But once Emma enters Addie’s life, the secrets that unfold and schemes that are hatched cause both women to question everything they thought they knew. With Sandra Dallas’s trademark humor, charm, and pathos, The Chili Queen is both heartbreaking and funny, unpredictable and satisfying.


Author’s Note

I wrote the first draft of The Chili Queen nearly thirty years before it was published. After I finished it, I stuck it in a drawer, convinced that I couldn’t write novels. When I eventually turned to fiction, I pulled out the manuscript, rewrote it, and sent it to my agent, who liked it but said it was not publishable. I always liked The Chili Queen, however, so I never gave up on it, rewriting once more. It still didn’t work. Finally, I realized the problem was that all the characters were unpleasant people. Readers wouldn’t identify with a single one of them. So I rewrote The Chili Queen a final time, making the characters likable (and giving the ending a final twist,) and the book was published.


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