cover image The Bride's House

The Bride's House

Sandra Dallas. St. Martin's, $24.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-60016-7

Young, impressionable Nealie Bent catches the eye of many men in her Georgetown, Colo. mining town, none more so than rough, enterprising miner Charlie Dumas. Nealie, however, only has eyes for Will Spaulding, a wealthy engineer. She and Spaulding begin a torrid romance that culminates in her pregnancy and abandonment. She marries the faithful Dumas and dies after giving birth to a daughter, Pearl, who grows up close to Dumas, the man she believes to be her father. Dumas sees the worst in each of Pearl's suitors, so she remains a spinster until Frank Curry, once penniless but now wealthy, is finally deemed worthy. In time, the daughter they have continues the rocky family tradition when it comes to longing and love. The backdrop to all the melodrama is Bride's House, the family's beautiful Georgetown, Colo., estate. While Dallas demonstrates an excellent sense of time (tracing several decades), and renders this tumultuous era well (moving from the 1880s into the 20th century), there's little drama. The love lavished upon the house%E2%80%94the novel's real central character%E2%80%94is interesting, but no one who inhabits it is intriguing enough. (May)