Prayers for Sale
  • Prayers for Sale
  • Prayers for Sale

Prayers for Sale

4.1 643
by Sandra Dallas
     
 

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A powerful novel of the secrets women keep and the lies they tell to survive life in a small, nineteenth-century Colorado mining town.See more details below

Overview

A powerful novel of the secrets women keep and the lies they tell to survive life in a small, nineteenth-century Colorado mining town.

Editorial Reviews

Caroline Preston
Despite its flaws…Prayers for Sale is as bighearted as Hennie herself, who hands out stout winter coats to miners' wives, saying they're hand-me-downs when, in fact, they're brand-new, ordered in secret from the Sears catalogue.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

In her charming new novel, Dallas (The Persian Pickle Club; Tallgrass; etc.) offers up the unconventional friendship between Hennie Comfort, a natural storyteller entering the twilight of her life, and Nit Spindle, a naïve young newlywed, forged in the isolated mining town of Middle Swan, Colo., in 1936. When the two meet, Hennie recognizes her younger self in Nit, and she's immediately struck with a desire to nurture and guide Nit, who is lonely and adrift in her new hometown and her brand-new marriage. As Hennie regales Nit with stories and advice, the two become inseparable and pass several seasons huddled around their quilting with the other women of Middle Swan. Even though Hennie maintains an air of c'est la vie as she unravels her life story, Nit and the reader soon realize there are tragedies and secrets hidden behind Hennie's tranquil demeanor. This satisfying novel will immediately draw readers into Hennie and Nit's lives, and the unexpected twists will keep them hooked through to the bittersweet denouement. (Apr.)

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Kirkus Reviews
Dallas (Tallgrass, 2007, etc.) offers another of her signature western heartwarmers, complete with knitting circle, this time set in a Colorado gold-mining town. In 1936, Hennie Comfort, who has lived in Middle Swan for 70 years, befriends newcomer Nit Spindle, whose husband has just been hired on a local dredge boat (the work is brutal and dangerous). Octogenarian Hennie feels an immediate kinship with 17-year-old Nit. Both are from Southern border states, both married as teens and both lost a child-Nit is currently mourning the loss of her stillbirth daughter; Hennie's birth daughter drowned as a toddler. They both quilt and Hennie, a founding member of the Ten-Mile Quilters, invites Nit to join the circle. Since Hennie will be leaving Middle Swan soon to live with her adopted daughter in Iowa, she decides to pass on to Nit all of her stories about the various characters who have inhabited Middle Swan. The 1936 plot-the two women's evolving friendship, Nit's new pregnancy, Hennie's romance with an old friend, even her forgiveness of a man who did her wrong long ago-is not much more than a backdrop for the stories Hennie tells about the past. Hennie's own history comes in pieces: Orphaned and then cheated out of her inheritance as a young girl, she married her beloved Billy at 14. After Billy was forced to go off to fight for the Confederacy against his will, a local bully terrorized Hennie and inadvertently caused her baby's death. After the Civil War ended, leaving Hennie a widow, a newly married friend invited her to Colorado for a very long-distance blind date with the man who became Hennie's beloved if imperfect second husband, Jake. While traveling west, Hennie found an abandonedbaby she and Jake raised as their own daughter, Mae. Despite a few surprise coincidences, the book offers little suspense, yet readers will be glad Dallas's likable heroines get their happy endings. Forgiveness and redemption are the themes of this gentle novel about hardscrabble lives. Agent: Danielle Egan-Miller/Browne & Miller Literary Agency

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312385187
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
04/14/2009
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

The stranger looked up, startled, a little frightened. She was a new-made woman, not much more than a girl, and Hennie had never seen her before. “Oh!” the stranger said, clasping and unclasping her bare hands, which despite the poor light, Hennie could see were red and chapped.

“I don’t mean to be nosy, but I was wondering how much?”

“How much for what?”

“A prayer.” The girl tightened the triangle of plaid wool scarf that covered her head before she thrust her hands into the pockets of her thin coat.

Hennie was confused for a moment, and then realizing what had confounded the girl, she laughed. “That sign’s been there so long, I forget about it.”

“It says, Prayers For Sale. I’m asking how much do you charge, and is it more if you’re in need than if you’re wanting just a little favor? Do sinners pay more than the righteous? And what if the Lord doesn’t answer? Do you get your money back?”

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