New York Times Best Selling Author

Piecework Newsletter
Volume VI, Issue One | March 2011

The Bride’s House To Be Published in May

The Bride’s House, the story of three generations of women who live in a Victorian house in Georgetown, Colo., is scheduled to be published in early May. Sandra’s tenth novel, The Bride’s House is set in an actual house that Sandra and her husband, Bob, purchased four years ago. Both the house’s restoration and the novel took three years to complete.

Here’s a capsule of the story:

Young Nealie Bent arrives in Georgetown in 1880 to work as a hired girl and dreams of living in the Bride’s House with Will Spaulding, a wealthy mining engineer from the East, who takes her on long walks through the mountains, as well as to the theater and to the town’s finest restaurant. Will is not the only one who pursues Nealie. Charlie Dumas, a laborer, wants to marry her, and although Nealie rebuffs him, Charlie refuses to give up. Ultimately, Nealie must deal with lies, secrets, and heartache before she chooses who will give her the Bride’s House.

Pearl, Nealie’s daughter, is raised by a domineering father, who keeps the Bride’s House as a shrine to Nealie. Pearl is 30 and well on her way to becoming a spinster when she meets the enterprising Frank Curry. When Frank asks for Pearl’s hand in marriage, her father sabotages the union. But Pearl has inherited her mother’s tenacity of heart, and her father underestimates the lengths to which the women of the Bride’s House will go for love.

Susan is the last of the strong-willed women to live in the Bride’s House. She’s proud of the women who came before her. Their legacy and the Bride’s House secrets force Susan to question what she wants and who she loves.

Set amid the boom-and-bust history of a Colorado mining town, The Bride’s House brings to life an unforgettable era and three unforgettable women.

Sandra loves her own “bride’s house,” and she hopes you will love the book.

Read the first chapter >>

How I Wrote The Bride’s House

Two weeks after Bob and I bought what we call the 1881 Bullock House in Georgetown, Colorado, (we named it for its builder, Charles Bullock), my daughter Dana and I went to Turkey. I got the idea for the first section of The Bride’s House when I was sitting on a balcony in Istanbul, gazing out over a garden filled with fig trees to the sea (and decided I had to write this book just so I could tell how it came about.)

The idea for the second part came to me a year later on a bus in Fiesole, high above Florence, as we rode down a steep hill into the city. The third part, well, I should have taken another trip, because I went through half-a-dozen stories before I finally hit on one that worked. I finished the book just about the time we finished remodeling the house.

I’ll be sending out postcards listing my Colorado appearances for The Bride’s House. If you’d like to receive one, please send me your address at

Sandra’s Picks

Hell’s Belles
By Clark Secrest. University Press of Colorado.
I’m doing research on the seamy side of Denver and pulled out my copy of Hell’s Belles, written by my old college buddy Clark Secrest. Now I know that not everybody is interested in the subject of prostitution. In fact, one reader emailed me recently to say that judging from my books, she thinks Colorado must have had more prostitutes than any other state. But Hell’s Belles, which I think is the best book ever done on prostitution in the West, is worth reading. First, it is a well researched and written social history; Clark worked for both The Denver Post and the Colorado Historical Society, and his expertise as both reporter and historian are obvious. In addition, Hell’s Belles is entertaining without being salacious. Prostitution was a fact of early Denver (and probably is of today’s Denver, too, but that’s beside the point.) I read such works as this because they are feminist history as well as western history. Okay, I admit it—and because they’re fascinating. I guess I am a bit of a voyeur.

Child of the Fighting Tenth: On the Frontier with the Buffalo Soldiers. By Forrestine C. Hooker. University of Oklahoma Press.

Forrestine Hooker—”Birdie” to everyone who knew her—grew up in 19th century military posts in the Southwest. Her father, a white officer who commanded a troop of African-Americans called Buffalo Soldiers, fought Indians, but he often made them his friends. The Commanche chief Quanah Parker was a frequent guest in the family home. A novelist in later life, Birdie writes with insight and affection about the Indians as well as the Buffalo Soldiers. But it’s the everyday incidents that make this book compelling, the practical jokes and kindnesses of the soldiers and their dependents. When the Indians incarcerated at one post were starving because corruption and government bungling had held up their rations, the soldiers pitched in and paid for food out of their own pockets.

Hooker’s description of a troop caught for days on the Staked Plains without water is as good an account as any soldier ever wrote. And her story of her own lost love, through pride and miscommunication, makes you wonder what “might have been.” But then if Birdie had married her sweetheart, she might not have written this wonderful book. –SD


Here’s a partial list of Sandra’s signings for The Bride’s House. The list is not yet firm, so please check back for further information.

May 2, 2011
Denver, CO
7:30 p.m.
Tattered Cover
2526 East Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80206
May 3, 2011
Denver, CO
5:30 p.m.
Murder by the Book
1574 South Pearl Street
Denver, CO 80210
May 5, 2011
Denver, CO
Details TBA
Luncheon Speech
Friends of Penrose Library
Penrose Library, University of Denver
Denver, CO
May 7, 2011
Frisco, CO
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Next Page
409 Main Street, #101
Frisco, CO 80443
May 10, 2011
Fort Collins, CO
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Readers Cove
1001 East Harmony Road, Unit C
Fort Collins, CO 80525
May 12, 2011
Evergreen, CO
5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
Hearthfire Books
1254 Bergen Parkway, Suite D118
Evergreen, CO 80439
May 13, 2011
Fort Collins, CO
6:00 p.m.
Old Firehouse Books
232 Walnut Street
Fort Collins, CO
May 14, 2011
Lone Tree, CO
2:00 p.m.
Barnes and Noble
8374 S. Willow Street
Lone Tree, CO 80124
May 17, 2011
Omaha, Nebraska
6:00 p.m.
8702 Pacific Street
May 18, 2011
Cedar Rapids, IA
Time TBA
Barnes and Noble
333 Collins Road NE
Cedar Rapids
May 19, 2011
Fort Madison, WI
3:00 – 5:30 p.m.
802 Avenue G
Fort Madison, IA
May 20, 2011
Oak Brook, IL
7:00 p.m.
Barnes and Noble
297 Oakbrook Center
Oakbrook, IL
May 21, 2011
Batavia, IL
3:00 p.m.
Batavia Public Library
Talk/Book Signing
10 South Batavia Avenue
Batavia, IL
May 21, 2011
Batavia, IL
6:00 p.m.
Prairie Shop Quilts
Reception / Book Signing
1911 West Wilson Street
Batavia, IL
May 23, 2011
Mequon, WI
7:00 p.m.
Next Chapter Books
10976 N. Port Washington Road
Mequon, WI 53092
May 24, 2011
Oconomowoc, WI
7:00 p.m.
Books and Company
1039 Summit Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI
May 25, 2011
12:00 p.m.
Lake Forest Books
Venue TBA
Lunch followed by talk and signing
June 5, 2011
Golden, CO
2:00-4:00 p.m.
Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum
1213 Washington Avenue
Golden, CO

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