All I need to be entertained are cats within ear-scratching distance and a good book . . .OK, maybe that's not ALL I need, but it's a good start.

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Happy reading!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Prayers for Sale, by Sandra Dallas

“I’ve got a nickel. Is that enough for a prayer?”

“Lordy, are you needing one? No money will buy a prayer. I tell you, but I”ll give you one for free, if you’re in need of it.”

Prayers for Sale opens with the introduction of Nit Spindle, a young married girl new to the gold mining camp called Middle Swan, to Hennie Comfort, widow of Jake Comfort and town matriarch. Hennie’s husband Jake had teasingly posted the sign “Prayers for Sale” on their fence when Hennie commented that she didn’t think she had anything left she needed to pray for. But, Nit was a young woman with troubles, and she needed Hennie’s prayers.

Prayers for Sale is a collection of stories gathered from the days during the Civil War through life in the mining camps of Colorado, as told primarily by Hennie Comfort to Nit Spindle, usually over a quilting piece. The novel also tells the stories of the women who made their homes in the harsh conditions of the mining camp, their lives and livelihoods at risk daily. Women died in childbirth, the unprotected were swindled of their homes or property, and men died horrible deaths on the dredge boats.

Despite the inherent tragedy in some of the stories, the book isn’t gloomy. These are the facts of life, and Hennie infuses the stories with wit and wisdom as she shares them with Nit, who is beginning to show storytelling prowess of her own. Hennie’s own story is revealed throughout the book, bringing the reader through the conclusion of Hennie’s journey and the beginning of the next.

Sandra Dallas, through Hennie, is a wonderful storyteller. If you enjoyed books like Ava’s Man, Cold Mountain, On Agate Hill, or Roseflower Creek, you might also enjoy Prayers for Sale.

Prayers for Sale was published in 2009 by St. Martin’s Press.

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