Prayers for Sale

By Sandra Dallas
Binding:Hardcover
Publisher:St. Martin's Press, (4/14/2009)
Language:English



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Hennie Comfort is eighty-six and has lived in the mountains of Middle Swan, Colorado since before it was Colorado.  Nit Spindle is just seventeen and newly married.  She and her husband have just moved to the high country in search of work.  It's 1936 and the depression has ravaged the country and Nit and her husband have suffered greatly.  Hennie notices the young woman loitering near the old sign outside of her house that promises "Prayers For Sale".  Hennie doesn't sell prayers, never has, but there's something about the young woman that she's drawn to.  The harsh conditions of life that each have endured create an instant bond and an unlikely friendship is formed, one in which the deepest of hardships are shared and the darkest of secrets are confessed. 
 
Sandra Dallas has created an unforgettable tale of a friendship between two women, one with surprising twists and turns, and one that is ultimately a revelation of the finest parts of the human spirit.    
 
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From Publishers Weekly
In her charming new novel, Dallas (The Persian Pickle ClubTallgrass; 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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From Booklist
*Starred Review* The idea of selling prayers conjures images of pre-Reformation Catholicism or, at the very least, stops you in your tracks to think a bit. When Nit Spindle, a newcomer to Middle Swan, Colorado, spots Hennie Comfort’s sign, “Prayers for Sale,” she stops to buy a prayer and gains a friend. At 86, Hennie has a passel of stories to tell (one is how she got her name) and finds in Nit an eager listener and kindred spirit. In the telling of Hennie’s life—her two marriages, her brush with evil, her dead babies—and in the gradual elicitation of Nit’s lonely ponderings, the reader is treated to an oral history of a mountain town and the women who run it while the men are chasing their dreams of gold. Hennie considers passing along her stories and her knowledge of mountain life to Nit a fit pastime, in preparation for her departure from town. Like the lives narrated, this novel, by the author of Tallgrass (2007), runs the gamut of heartache, hardship, and happiness as Dallas skillfully weaves past into present and surprises everyone at the end. Fans of Lee Smith (Fair and Tender Ladies, 1988), Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees, 2002), and Kaye Gibbons (Charms for the Easy Life, 2003), will love this book. --Jen Baker 
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Sandra Dallas is the author of seven novels, including Tallgrass and New Mercies.  She is a former Denver bureau chief for Business Week magazine and lives in Denver, Colorado.


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