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(From SandraDallas.com)A wise and sassy narrator, marvelous characters, and a plot that blends Hollywood scandal, lifelong friendship, mystery and romance—these are the specialties served up in Sandra Dallas’s offbeat, inspired debut novel.

Effa Commander is no spring chicken, but her spirit shines and her smart mouth still puts fools to shame. The fool in question is a gossip hound writing a scurrilous account of her beloved friends who, though departed, remain the most celebrated citizens of Butte, Montana: the great Hollywood legend Marion Street (nee May Anna Kovacks) and Buster Midnight, the boxing champion whose love for Marion led to the notorious “Tinseltown Crime of Passion” and the end of his career.

Prodded by her bosom buddy, Whippy Bird, Effa Commander takes pen in hand to set the record straight and tell what really happened on that violent night. But to do that, Effa Commander must recount the story of all their lives: hers and Whippy Bird’s and May Anna’s, and Buster and Toney McNight’s and Pink Varscoe’s. Childhood friends, they all became wives and husbands—with the exception of May Anna, of course. She went to work in Venus Alley, hitched herself to a big-time director just passing through on his way to Hollywood, and the rest is history.

Narrated by the irrepressible Effa Commander, this wry and loving chronicle of more than fifty years of friendship carries some universal, homespun truths about what’s really important in life.

This is my second Sandra Dallas novel, this first being Prayers for Sale, and I have to say I’m really loving her. It took my a chapter or two to get the hang of the voice of each book but once I did, I was hooked.

Set in a place and time I really don’t know much about I really got a feel of the hard scrabble life these girls lead and how it bonded them to one and other and the men in their lives. I love what this story had to say about friendship and loving your friends not matter how unlovable, at times, they may be. About being there to answer a call for help no matter how much time a slipped away from you.

Effie Commander and Whippy Bird are two women you want to have as your friend because you know they have your back. And Effie tells May Anna’s story the way a no brass tacks, true friend would, warts and all. There are people who saw the hard side of life but still lived a good life filled with love and caring.

I love when an author can tell a wonderful story filled with great characters, depth of feeling, and all the adventures of ordinary and extraordinary lives without  a lot of bells and whistles, without a ton of fanfare but when your done you really feel like you’ve experienced something rather grand.

I was very lucky in 2011 to discover a whole slew of authors new to me who have a whole, big, back catalog for me to discover. Sandra Dallas is high on that list. Right now I have The Bride’s House and Whiter than Snow waiting for me to read and I honestly can’t wait to dive in.

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