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Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola’s walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, ...
Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola’s walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola’s youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper--the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything for Tandi. Tyndale House Publishers
When trouble blows in, my mind always reaches for a single, perfect day in Rodanthe. The memory falls over me like a blanket, a worn quilt of sand and sky, the fibers washed soft with time. I wrap it around myself, picture the house along the shore, its bones bare to the wind and the sun, the wooden shingles clinging loosely, sliding to the ground now and then, like scales from some mythical sea creature washed ashore. Overhead, a hurricane shutter dangles by one nail, rocking back and forth in the breeze, protecting an intact window on the third story. Gulls swoop in and out, landing on the salt-sprayed rafters—scavengers come to pick at the carcass left behind by the storm.
Years later, after the place was repaired, a production company filmed a movie there. A love story.
But to me, the story of that house, of Rodanthe, will always be the story of a day with my grandfather. A safe day.
When I squint long into the sun off the water, I can see him yet. He is a shadow, stooped and crooked in his overalls and the old plaid shirt with the pearl snaps. The heels of his worn work boots hang in the air as he balances on the third-floor joists, assessing the damage. Calculating everything it will take to fix the house for its owners.
He's searching for something on his belt. In a minute, he'll call down to me and ask for whatever he can't find. Tandi, bring me that blue tape measure, or Tandi Jo, I need the green level, out in the truck.... I'll fish objects from the toolbox and scamper upstairs, a little brown-haired girl anxious to please, hoping that while I'm up there, he'll tell me some bit of a story. Here in this place where he was raised, he is filled with them. He wants me to know these islands of the Outer Banks, and I yearn to know them. Every inch. Every story. Every piece of the family my mother has both depended on and waged war with.
Despite the wreckage left behind by the storm, this place is heaven. Here, my father talks, my mother sings, and everything is, for once, calm. Day after day, for weeks. Here, we are all together in a decaying sixties-vintage trailer court while my father works construction jobs that my grandfather has sent his way. No one is slamming doors or walking out them. This place is magic—I know it.
We walked in Rodanthe after assessing the house on the shore that day, Pap-pap's hand rough-hewn against mine, his knobby driftwood fingers promising that everything broken can be fixed. We passed homes under repair, piles of soggy furniture and debris, the old Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station, where the Salvation Army was handing out hot lunches in the parking lot.
Outside a boarded-up shop in the village, a shirtless guitar player with long blond dreadlocks winked and smiled at me. At twelve years old, I fluttered my gaze away and blushed, then braved another glance, a peculiar new electricity shivering through my body. Strumming his guitar, he tapped one ragged tennis shoe against a surfboard, reciting words more than singing them.
Ring the bells bold and strong Let all the broken add their song Inside the perfect shells is dim It's through the cracks, the light comes in....
I'd forgotten those lines from the guitar player, until now.
The memory of them, of my grandfather's strong hand holding mine, circled me as I stood on Iola Anne Poole's porch. It was my first indication of a knowing, an undeniable sense that something inside the house had gone very wrong.
I pushed the door inward cautiously, admitting a slice of early sun and a whiff of breeze off Pamlico Sound. The entryway was old, tall, the walls white with heavy gold-leafed trim around rectangular panels. A fresh breeze skirted the shadows on mouse feet, too slight to displace the stale, musty smell of the house. The scent of a forgotten place. Instinct told me what I would find inside. You don't forget the feeling of stepping through a door and understanding in some unexplainable way that death has walked in before you.
I hesitated on the threshold, options running through my mind and then giving way to a racing kind of craziness. Close the door. Call the police or ... somebody. Let someone else take care of it.
You shouldn't have touched the doorknob—now your fingerprints will be on it. What if the police think you did something to her? Innocent people are accused all the time, especially strangers in town. Strangers like you, who show up out of the blue and try to blend in ...
What if people thought I was after the old woman's money, trying to steal her valuables or find a hidden stash of cash? What if someone really had broken in to rob the place? It happened, even in idyllic locations like Hatteras Island. Massive vacation homes sat empty, and local boys with bad habits were looking for easy income. What if a thief had broken into the house thinking it was unoccupied, then realized too late that it wasn't? Right now I could be contaminating the evidence.
Tandi Jo, sometimes I swear you haven't got half a brain. The voice in my head sounded like my aunt Marney' s—harsh, irritated, thick with the Texas accent of my father's family, impatient with flights of fancy, especially mine.
"Mrs. Poole?" I leaned close to the opening, trying to get a better view without touching anything else. "Iola Anne Poole? Are you in there? This is Tandi Reese. From the little rental cottage out front.... Can you hear me?"
A whirlwind spun along the porch, sweeping up last year's pine straw and dried live oak leaves. Loose strands of hair swirled over my eyes, and my thoughts tangled with it, my reflection melting against the waves of leaded glass—flyaway brown hair, nervous blue eyes, lips hanging slightly parted, uncertain.
What now? How in the world would I explain to people that it'd taken me days to notice there were no lights turning on and off in Iola Poole's big Victorian house, no window heat-and-air units running at night when the spring chill gathered? I was living less than forty yards away. How could I not have noticed?
Maybe she was sleeping—having a midday nap—and by going inside, I'd scare her half to death. From what I could tell, my new landlady kept to herself. Other than groceries being delivered and the UPS and FedEx trucks coming with packages, the only signs of Iola Poole were the lights and the window units going off and on as she moved through the rooms at different times of day. I'd only caught sight of her a time or two since the kids and I had rolled into town with no more gas and no place else to go. We'd reached the last strip of land before you'd drive off into the Atlantic Ocean, which was just about as far as we could get from Dallas, Texas, and Trammel Clarke. I hadn't even realized, until we'd crossed the North Carolina border, where I was headed or why. I was looking for a hiding place.
By our fourth day on Hatteras, I knew we wouldn't get by with sleeping in the SUV at a campground much longer. People on an island notice things. When a real estate lady offered an off-season rental, cheap, I figured it was meant to be. We needed a good place more than anything.
Considering that we were into April now, and six weeks had passed since we'd moved into the cottage, and the rent was two weeks overdue, the last person I wanted to contact about Iola was the real estate agent who'd brought us here, Alice Faye Tucker.
Touching the door, I called into the entry hall again. "Iola Poole? Mrs. Poole? Are you in there?" Another gust of wind danced across the porch, scratching crape myrtle branches against gingerbread trim that seemed to be clinging by Confederate jasmine vines and dried paint rather than nails. The opening in the doorway widened on its own. Fear shimmied over my shoulders, tickling like the trace of a fingernail.
"I'm coming in, okay?" Maybe the feeling of death was nothing more than my imagination. Maybe the poor woman had fallen and trapped herself in some tight spot she couldn't get out of. I could help her up and bring her some water or food or whatever, and there wouldn't be any need to call 911. First responders would take a while, anyway. There was no police presence here. Fairhope wasn't much more than a fish market, a small marina, a village store, a few dozen houses, and a church. Tucked in the live oaks along Mosey Creek, it was the sort of place that seemed to make no apologies for itself, a scabby little burg where fishermen docked storm-weary boats and raised families in salt-weathered houses. First responders would have to come from someplace larger, maybe Buxton or Hatteras Village.
The best thing I could do for Iola Anne Poole, and for myself, was to go into the house, find out what had happened, and see if there was any way I could keep it quiet.
The door was ajar just enough for me to slip through. I slid past, not touching anything, and left it open behind me. If I had to run out of the place in a hurry, I didn't want any obstacles between me and the front porch.
Something shifted in the corner of my eye as I moved deeper into the entry hall. I jumped, then realized I was passing by an arrangement of fading photographs, my reflection melting ghostlike over the cloudy glass. In sepia tones, the images stared back at me—a soldier in uniform with the inscription Avery 1917 engraved on a brass plate. A little girl with pipe curls on a white pony. A group of people posed under an oak tree, the women wearing big sun hats like the one Kate Winslet donned in Titanic. A wedding photo from the thirties or forties, the happy couple in the center, surrounded by several dozen adults and two rows of cross-legged children. Was Iola the bride in the picture? Had a big family lived in this house at one time? What had happened to them? As far as I could tell, Iola Poole didn't have any family now, at least none who visited.
"Hello ... hello? Anyone up there?" I peered toward the graceful curve of the long stairway. Shadows melted rich and thick over the dark wood, giving the stairs a foreboding look that made me turn to the right instead and cross through a wide archway into a large, open room. It would have been sunny but for the heavy brocade curtains. The grand piano and a grouping of antique chairs and settees looked like they'd been plucked from a tourist brochure or a history book. Above the fireplace, an oil portrait of a young woman in a peach-colored satin gown hung in an ornate oval frame. She was sitting at the piano, posed in a position that appeared uncomfortable. Perhaps this was the girl on the pony from the hallway photo, but I wasn't sure.
The shadows seemed to follow me as I hurried out of the room. The deeper I traveled into the house, the less the place resembled the open area by the stairway. The inner sections were cluttered with what seemed to be several lifetimes of belongings, most looking as if they'd been piled in the same place for years, as if someone had started spring-cleaning multiple times, then abruptly stopped. In the kitchen, dishes had been washed and stacked neatly in a draining rack, but the edges of the room were heaped with stored food, much of it contained in big plastic bins. I stood in awe, taking in a multicolored waterfall of canned vegetables that tumbled haphazardly from an open pantry door.
Bristle tips of apprehension tickled my arms as I checked the rest of the lower floor. Maybe Iola wasn't here, after all. The downstairs bedroom with the window air unit was empty, the single bed fully made. Maybe she'd gone away somewhere days ago or been checked into a nursing home, and right now I was actually breaking into a vacant house. Alice Faye Tucker had mentioned that Iola was ninety-one years old. She probably couldn't even climb the stairs to the second story.
I didn't want to go up there, but I moved toward the second floor one reluctant step at a time, stopping on the landing to call her name once, twice, again. The old balusters and treads creaked and groaned, making enough noise to wake the dead, but no one stirred.
Upstairs, the hallway smelled of drying wallpaper, mold, old fabric, water damage, and the kind of stillness that said the rooms hadn't been lived in for years. The tables and lamps in the wood-paneled hallway were gray with dust, as was the furniture in five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a sewing room with a quilt frame in the middle, and a nursery with white furniture and an iron cradle. Odd-shaped water stains dotted the ceilings, the damage recent enough that the plaster had bowed and cracked but only begun to fall through. An assortment of buckets sat here and there on the nursery floor, the remnants of dirty water and plaster slowly drying to a paste inside. No doubt shingles had been ripped from the roof during last fall's hurricane. It was a shame to let a beautiful old house go to rot like this. My grandfather would have hated it. When he inspected historic houses for the insurance company, he was always bent on saving them.
A thin watermark traced a line down the hallway ceiling to a small sitting area surrounded by bookshelves. The door on the opposite side, the last one at the end of the hall, was closed, a small stream of light reflecting off the wooden floor beneath it. Someone had passed through recently, clearing a trail in the silty layer of dust on the floor.
"Mrs. Poole? Iola? I didn't mean to scare—"
A rustle in the faded velvet curtains by the bookshelves made me jump, breath hitching in my chest as I drew closer.
A black streak bolted from behind the curtain and raced away. A cat. Mrs. Poole had a cat. Probably the wild, one-eared tom that J.T. had been trying to lure to our porch with bowls of milk. I'd told him to quit—we couldn't afford the milk—but a nine-year-old boy can't resist a stray. Ross had offered to bring over a live trap and catch the cat. Good thing I'd told him not to worry about it. Letting your new boyfriend haul off your landlady's pet is a good way to get kicked out of your happy little home, especially when the rent's overdue.
The glass doorknob felt cool against my fingers when I touched it, the facets surprisingly sharp. "I'm coming in ... okay?" Every muscle in my body tightened, preparing for fight or flight. "It's just Tandi Reese ... from the cottage. I hope I'm not scaring you, but I was wor—" The rest of worried never passed my lips. I turned the handle. The lock assembly clicked, and the heavy wooden door fell open with such force that it felt like someone had pulled it from the other side. The doorknob struck the wall, vibrating the floor beneath my feet. Behind me, the cat hissed, then scrambled off down the stairs.
Picture frames inside the room shivered on the pale-blue walls, reflecting orbs of light over the furniture. Beyond the jog created by the hallway nook, the footboard of an ornate bed pulled at me as the shuddering frames settled into place and the light stopped dancing. By the bedpost, a neatly cornered blue quilt grazed the floor, and a pair of shoes—the sensible, rubber-soled kind that Zoey, with her fourteen-year-old fashion sense, referred to as grandma shoes—were tucked along the edge of a faded Persian rug, the heels and toes exactly even.
The feet that belonged in the shoes had not traveled far away. Covered in thin black stockings, they rested atop the bed near the footboard, the folded, crooked toes pointing outward slightly, in a position that seemed natural enough for someone taking a midday nap.
But the feet didn't move, despite the explosion of the door hitting the wall. I tasted the bile of my last meal. No one could sleep through that.
The bedroom lay in perfect silence as I stepped inside, my footfalls seeming loud, out of place. I didn't speak again or call out or say her name to warn her that I was coming. Without even seeing her face, I knew there was no need.
Gruesome scenes from Zoey's favorite horror movies flashed through my mind, but when I crept past the corner, forced myself to turn her way, Iola Anne Poole looked peaceful, like she'd just stopped for a quick nap and forgotten to get up again. She was flat on her back atop the bed, a pressed cotton dress—white with tiny blue flower baskets—falling over her long, thin legs and seeming to disappear into a wedding ring quilt sewn in all the colors of sky and sea. Her leathery, wrinkled arms lay folded neatly across her stomach, the gnarled fingers intertwined in a posture that looked both contented and confident. Prepared. The chalky-gray hue of her skin told me it would be cold if I touched it.
I didn't. I turned away instead, pressed a hand over my mouth and nose. As much as the body looked like someone had carefully laid it out to give a peaceful appearance, there were no signs that anyone else had been in the room. The only trails on the dusty floor led from the door to the bed, from the bed to what appeared to be a closet tucked behind the hallway nook, and past the foot of the bed to a small writing desk by the window. Whatever she was doing up here, she didn't come often. What was the lure of this turret room at the end of the upstairs hall, with its gold-trimmed walls painted in faded shades of cream and milky blue? Did she know she was approaching her last hours? Was this where she wanted to die? Where she wanted to be found?
Excerpted from the prayer box by LISA WINGATE, Sarah Mason. Copyright © 2013 Lisa Wingate. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted September 1, 2013
I'm a North Carolina girl. I grew up in the Coastal town of Wilmington and was well acquainted with the beach, the sand, the surf, the fresh breezes, the old homes, the new-comers, and unfortunately - the storms. The all-so-very-devastating storms that would toss boats from one side of the barrier island to the other or totally snatch them from their very existence. I remember a whole block of ocean front houses disappearing after one of those major storms.
So being somewhat acquainted with the coastal life, I really appreciated Lisa Wingate's story. She has brought the sand, surf, and storms to life and also the people that perpectually populate the coast. But not only has she brought the North Carolina Outer Banks (farther north than my home area in southern tip of North Carolina) to life in spot-on descriptions, she has woven a story of lives troubled by the social mores of several generations, of dysfunctional families, and how the pain of the past can be faced, and how change is possible. It is the story of the care and bonding of folks who come together to mend storm-ravaged buildings and scared lives.
This is a story of prayer. Of letting God know your heart and then placing your burden in the hands of God and letting go of it.
It is a story worth the reading and worth the sharing with others. I'm passing my copy along to another reader whom I know will thoroughly enjoy it. I believe she in turn will pass it along to others. You see good things are to be shared. That, too, is part of the message in "The Prayer Box."DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review by the publisher.
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Posted August 16, 2013
What a wonderful journey watching Tandi grow. She doesn't think she has value as a person, but as she reads the prayed of Iola and is embraced by the people of Fairhope she learns she does have value to people and I think to God. I quickly cared greatly about her, I ached as she made mistakes where her children were concerned. I didn't like Ross and the way he put himself first. I received a copy as a book ambassador, I'm so glad I was able to read it.
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Posted December 9, 2013
"How do you finally move beyond the past?" Tandi Jo has moved into Iola Anne's small cottage on her property. Tandi Jo is asked to clean out Iola's kitchen and such when Iola passes away. Tandi Jo is drawn to the blue room upstairs where Iola passed away. There, in the closet, Tandi Jo will find love/strength/God/healing.
Tandi Jo doesn't think she has much to give, but she is so very wrong. She believes she is weak, but she is really strong. With new friends and Iola's closet, Tandi Jo can move beyond the past.
Posted November 7, 2013
The Prayer Box was such a phenomenal read that I had to put it down periodically just to pray. The story of a single mom trying to find a new beginning and healing will bring tears of joy, sorrow and revelation to the reader. When Tandi finds herself trying desperately to start a new beginning, she is drawn to the letters of an old woman she’s never known. The letters speak directly to God and in them, Tandi finds counseling for her own issues. The unconditional love she has never known, suddenly comes through Christians all around her who demonstrate what love should look like. Tandi and her children find a place of healing, purpose and a bright new future. This book is a must read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 30, 2013
Tandi, a single mom with two kids, is untrusting and broke yet trying to figure out how to truly live. She ends up at Hatteras Island - the only place of which she has any good memories. How does she earn a living in a small community rebuilding after a recent hurricane? More importantly, is it possible to repair the damage done to her relationships with kids, especially her daughter, because of the years of neglect, drug abuse and prioritizing relationships with controlling men over them? She is able to rent a small cottage from Iola, a 91 years old lady who then dies alone in her Victorian house. There is some dislike toward Iola from the other residents of the Hatteras Island, so Tandi ends up with the job of cleaning up the large house. She is glad to have a job, but totally unprepared for what she finds - Iola’s prayer boxes. These collection of prayers - this written conversation through Iola’s life and cries of her heart to her Father - opens up the mysteries surrounding Iola. Tandi’s walls around her heart are slowly chipped away as she consumes these prayers. She then is needed to reveal how much Iola was truly a part of this community and a blessing to so many.
The Prayer Box is beautifully written by Lisa Wingate. The characters were real and honest - some I just wanted to envelop in a big hug, while others just needed a kick in the rump, but that’s life, right!?! The setting and the recent hurricane added their own challenges and benefits to the story.
It is a book that touched my heart and I know will touch yours.
(I read The Sea Glass Sisters: Novella Prelude to The Prayer Box. It was fun to see more back stories of some of the characters, but it is not necessary to understand The Prayer Box.)
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Prayer Box from Tyndale House Publishers. It was not required that I give a positive review, but to solely express my own thoughts and opinions.
Posted October 22, 2013
Posted October 19, 2013
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings
Tandi is a tragic character right from the start, she escaped a bad relationship and has ended up in another without realizing it. She is stressed trying to raise two kids and running from her past. Through letters to God, Tandi ends up learning about her deceased neighbor that helps her change her life.
There were many many moments where I wanted to knock this character upside her head! She just had no sense and I just wanted her to realize that she was repeating her mistakes, it took a lot of time for me to grow to even like her. I loved the setting for the book, the town and its people were awesome. I wouldn't mind listening to more of their back stories and learning more about the history of the town and maybe less of Tandi's issues.
Posted October 11, 2013
Her characters are people I know, but only through her writing. She introduces these characters that I’ve never known or met before and they become my friends. This writer sees so much in people and life that she always brings me something new to appreciate.
The place she writes about I have never been but I would love to see. I love the ocean and the cities and vistas I have visited. I will look at them with new eyes now.
I absolutely believe in and love the idea of The Prayer Box. There are so many ways we don’t know about to help us keep in touch with God. This is truly a beautiful and thought-provoking way.
I realize why she named the book The Prayer Box (that is so important to the story). I, on the other hand would have named it ‘The Carpenters Daughter.’
Definitely a Do Not Miss this one.
Posted October 1, 2013
Posted September 28, 2013
This story was so beautiful and captured my heart!
Iola's story was amazing! Like Tandi, I felt as if Iola is a long lost friend that is so beautiful inside and out! I felt like I was sneaking off to come read more of her story like Tandi when she was sneaking away to come read more letters out of the prayer box in the blue room (when we both should be cleaning)! The heart that Iola had for the families of the Outer Banks was so mind changing for me because in so many little (and big) ways she helped her community without being known. She didn't brag or boast about it, but humbly worked for her Father with joy. Not only that, she prayed over these families and her community with a deep love that comes from the Father. She was so inspiring to me with her words of wisdom that God gave her as well as through the conservations she had with her sister-friend!
Tandi's story was so heart-wrenching in many places! It was hard to see her want to stop old habits and make a new lifestyle for herself as well as her family, but having the pain and anger from the past keep haunting her. At first I didn't really like Tandi, but as I learned her story along side Iola's I started to soften towards her and ached for the way she viewed herself. Always thinking she wasn't good enough and believing whatever trash talk people told her, especially Gina (I was so glad she stood up to her near the end). I felt that as Tandi learned from Iola that I was too. I was on the same journey with her of believing the words God tells us, rather then the negative words people tell us. Also seeing the river of grace that is constantly flowing around us.
Beside learning so much from these two stories, I learned so much about what prayer boxes can do in one's life. I have a prayer journal, but learning about where and how prayer boxes originated from the in "Note From the Author" makes me want to start a new tradition in my family! This story definitely inspired me in more ways than one!
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars (on a side note, the ending was perfect)!
Posted September 22, 2013
Lisa Wingate's THE PRAYER BOX is an artistically-crafted story which inspires hope and personal strength. After reading the book, I began to design and fill my own prayer box and to fervently wish I had one for every year of my life. (77) I also found myself wanting very much to be one of the women in the Sisterhood of the Seashell Shop.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 16, 2013
Posted September 13, 2013
The prequel to Lisa Wingate's newest novel is another 5-star read. This enjoyable story about the very special bond between sisters and mother/daughter relationships kept me up all night reading. The responsibilities and personal involvement of a 911 operator is an extra bonus.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 9, 2013
Posted September 7, 2013
Posted September 7, 2013
love this book...maybe my favorite of Lisa's...I can relate to the character Tandi...she feels like she deserves nothing good until she comes upon a woman named Iola whom she discovers has passed away..and as she is cleaning out her house for the church..she discovers alot of importanthings about Iola and herself...it show the importance of having God in your life and it shows us that nothing happens by accident..its all in God's plan...Tandi grows to see herself differntly because of Iola...cant say anymore i'll spoil it...just go buy the book!!tWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 5, 2013
Lisa Wingate is one of those storytellers who seems to be speaking to her readers individually. No matter what your situation in life, you will learn something from her stories that you can carry with you.
This book, like all of her others, is no exception.
This is a story of a woman going from a hopeless situation to a life filled with hope. It is a story that reminds us that we sometimes have to take a step of faith before we can reach our full potential in life. It also reminds us
that we are never alone. I highly recommend this, and all of Lisa's books, as must reads. You will love it and you will share it! I did.
Posted September 4, 2013
I am finding that I really enjoy Lisa Wingate's writing. She takes her time telling the story of life allowing the reader to get to know the main character as well as those around them. The main character, Tandi, was a character that was easy to fall in love with and to root for as she struggled to get own her feet and take care of her children. She is very honest in her fears and her desire to survive.
The story was wonderful. As Tandi started reading Iola Anne's letter's, it hit me, "What a wonderful idea!" In Iola Anne's letters to her Father we see what life was like for her growing up in the time she did. She shared every aspect of her life with Him, just like He wants each of us to do. I also enjoyed how through Iola Anne's words written so many years before Tandi's heart was touched. There is also times of tension and times when Tandi wants to give up. As in life there were times when you could chuckle along with the characters.
This is a feel good story that gave me moments to reflect, laugh, and cry. If you are an adrenaline junkie and need fast paced action packed story, this is probably not your book. But let's face it, life isn't like that and that what this story gives you, a dose of life.
Disclosure: I did receive this book from the author but was under no obligation other than to give my honest opinion.
Posted September 1, 2013
The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate
First wanted to read this book as part of the summer reads for the whole family campaign by JKS communications.
Love the setting for this in the outer banks and she recalls being there with her grandparents, closeby the house that was featured in 'Nights in Rodanthe'. There is also talk of the ship that didn't make ti to shore and the wild ponies.
She has run away from her husband in TX after having suffered an injury from falling from a horse-and she's attempting to get off of pain killers and just drives til she reaches the end of the road. She meets a 90 year old woman who rents her the bungalow out front and she and her teen daughter and younger son live with her.
She's trying to get a job with no luck as it's only April-tourist season won't start for another month or so. After she finds the old woman dead and learns the church will inherit the house and bungalow she agrees to clean the house for the church in lieu of payment for the bungalow.
Tandi also has met a guy there, Ross who house sits and does long haul trucking.
She is determined to just rid the house of all personal possessions til she reads a few of the letters the woman had written to her father. Then she discovers a rosary and knows she must go through every box before just tossing them out.
She has been feeding the cat but she has no idea how he gets in/out of the house and water in the bathroom is running at times-almost like a ghost wants her to do something n a certain room upstairs.
She's been finding so many clues as to who Iola Anne really was, and Zoey her daughter comes down with an illness that will keep her from her many jobs.
Really liked how this book moved along-never a dull moment. Troubles arise when her sister tracks her down and she does cause trouble...
Loved most the seashell store and all the design work, pink and light blue seaglass and what those working there mean to Tandi.
Few characters that are easy to keep track of while others are introduced.
Loved how she fought for what she believed in...
She feels a bond knowing others had to raise her and she finds out why...I liked this book so much I did buy 4 other books by this author.
I received this book from JKS Communications in exchange for my honest review.
Liked this book so much I also go her other works and the prequel to this one: Sea Glass Sisters.
Posted August 31, 2013
A compelling, heartfelt, story!
It's safe to say I have not read a book like this one ever before, and I mean that in the best way possible. Wingate shares with us two stories separated by time. She artfully weaves Iola Anne's story into Tandi's in an intriguing way that pulled me deeper within the pages. The use of letters and a prayer box is such a beautiful concept!
Before I ramble about Tandi, I want to focus on Iola for a moment. This woman is amazing, generous, and compassionate. Her heart is so big. She doesn't even judge or feel any kind of bitterness toward her neighbors for how they treat her. That is simply amazing. People like Iola in real life are few and far between. We as readers need to learn from this wonderful fictional lady.
As for Tandi... Wow. She's been through so much. She has this strength within her, that she doesn't realize is there. Her life is truly messed up, but as she meets her landlady, through her landlady's prayer boxes, she is slowly transformed from the inside out. I don't want to spill too much, but I like watching positive actions get positive results.
To conclude, The Prayer Box fell short of my expectations by a small amount. I requested this book without realizing it is geared for women a generation older than I. Nonetheless, I found it a good read and Wingate's writing is up to par in her latest release.
I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!