Prayers for Sale

Prayers for Sale

by Sandra Dallas

Hardcover(Large Print)

$33.95 View All Available Formats & Editions

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781410416940
Publisher: Gale Group
Publication date: 09/02/2009
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 385
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Award-winning author Sandra Dallas was dubbed "a quintessential American voice" by Jane Smiley, in Vogue Magazine. She is the author of The Bride's House, Whiter Than Snow, and Tallgrass, among others. Her novels have been translated into a dozen languages and optioned for films. She is the recipient of the Women Writing the West Willa Award and the two-time winner of the Western Writers of America Spur Award. For 25 years, Dallas worked as a reporter covering the Rocky Mountain region for Business Week, and started writing fiction in 1990. She lives with her husband in Denver, Colorado.

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?”

Reading Group Guide

Questions for Discussion
1. The sign outside Hennie’s house says “Prayers for Sale,” yet she doesn’t sell prayers. Why does Hennie keep the sign?

2. Although they’re decades apart in age, 86-year-old Hennie and 17-year-old Nit become fast friends. What qualities do they have in common? What makes them compatible?

3. As Hennie begins her story for Nit, she says, “Back then, I wasn’t Hennie Comfort. In those days, I was called by the name of Ila Mae Stubbs.” What other transformations has Hennie made in the intervening years? What about her has stayed the same?

4. As in her previous novels, Sandra Dallas did extensive research on the dialects and period details of the era in which Prayers for Sale is set. Did the rich evocation of a gold-mining town and the quilting lore, for instance, contribute to your interest in Hennie and Nit’s relationship?

5. Hennie’s voice drives the novel, and is filled with phrases and expressions uncommon today. What does Dallas’s commitment to verbal authenticity add to her portrait of Hennie? What expressions did you find especially memorable?

6. Quilting plays a central role in fostering Nit and Hennie’s friendship. Towards the end of the book, Nit says, “Quilts are like lives. They’re made up of a lot of little pieces.” Do you think this is true? Does the structure of the book reflect this perspective?

7. Were you surprised by the book’s final scene? What would you have done, if you were in Hennie’s shoes? Would Hennie’s life have been different if she had done so earlier?

8. Have you read other novels by Sandra Dallas? Which characters do you recognize from her previous books?

Customer Reviews

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Prayers for Sale 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 663 reviews.
SHARON39 More than 1 year ago
This Sandra Dallas novel encouraged me to buy another of her books. I love books that bring me a sense of peace, contentment and appreciation for my life as it it. At peace with appreciating what is and what is really important in life. Hennie, the main protagonist is a story teller in a mining town during the great depression. Quilting , seeming to be the center of activity between women of the day provides the time to become close in relationships and promotes enduring friendships. This is touching, heartwarming, cozy and real. I really enjoyed it.
angelseverywhere More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book and was so overcome by it..heartfelt of love, sweetness and surprise..I expected it to end different but was so pleased and to its ending..brought tears to my eyes and a good thump in my heart....this is a must read ...I will definitely be looking for more of her books...
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
Sandra Dallas has a unique talent for writing griping and accurate historical western novels about strong, wise and courageous women. She is the Phillipa Gregory of western lit, educating us on western history even as she keeps us thoroughly engaged with her passionate story lines. Prayers For Sale is the story of Hennie Comfort, eighty-six, and Nit Spindle, seventeen. These women are united by the harsh conditions of life in Middle Swan, a mining town in Colorado. Though the winter weather is bad enough, it is the tearing emotional dramas that these two very different women will help each other through. I don't know any other author who can write so convincingly of strong, western women as Sandra Dallas can. She spares them no mercy, putting them through unimaginable hardships, but with their loyalty and friendships with each other they always survive in the end. I can't read a Sandra Dallas book (and Prayers For Sale is no exception) without feeling like I've made new lifelong friendships myself by the end. These are women to be admired, not pitied, and you might even find a few men to like mixed in! At the end of Prayers For Sale I was left feeling satisfied, a little more educated, and like anything can be endured or accomplished.
Prairieflower More than 1 year ago
This is the first book of Sandra Dallas I have read. My interest was grabbed from the first few pages and she kept my interest until the end. The characters were wonderful. The characters were easy to connect with and very human. I loved the story-telling throughout the book and how all the characters in the book were interwoven. This made the community of Middle Swan come alive and be believable. The female characters were warm, funny, vulnerable, compassionate, imperfect, strong and served as a great tribute to the women who lived, survived and thrived in decades past. This story also gives a great example of mentoring for women and how it can enhance the lives of the one being mentored, as well as, the one mentoring.
donnareads911 More than 1 year ago
Have you ever started a book and it had you from the first page? All the way to the end? This is a book like that! Dallas has done it again, embracing a time and place, and taking the reader deep into the lives of the most engaging characters. There have been precious few books like this in my life that have grabbed me so quickly and so well. And I have read a lot! Not only is the concept of the story well done, but it has the romance, the mystery, the sorrowfulness of life in the Great Depression. It will wrap around you like your grandmothers' homemade crazy quilt.
gretasgram More than 1 year ago
I was totally absorbed with this book. It spanned many years and I felt that I was there with them. The end was a little surprise. Normally, I see it coming, but not until almost when it happened. Very touching and meaningful book. Must read again.
Sheyin More than 1 year ago
Prayers for Sale is a touching story in which you could almost picture yourself living back 70 yrs. The story brought smiles & sometimes outloud chuckles. The characters were put together so well that I couldn't stop reading! In todays world, where there is much hate and voilence, this was a book with no cursing & was a most pleasure to read. Keep track of the characters, for there is a twist at the end!
PinkBaby More than 1 year ago
i thought hennie was a wonderful character. the way dallas described her. i could picture her sitting in her rocking chair inside the cabin. i also liked the way she named her characters to. like the young girls name was Nit it fit her she was a tiny woman. Also i normally dont like stories told within the present story. but i loved when hennie told her stories to the young woman. when one ended i couldnt wait for the next. dallas has told a very interesting story about a colorado mining town in the 1930s. it is one good book.
Rosedale More than 1 year ago
This is my first Sue Dallas book but will NOT be my last -- couldn't put it down -- it flowed so well and was just totally a great read -- would recommend to anyone that wanted something to hold their attention to the last page!!! Its a book where you can't wait to see how it ends BUT you don't want it to end!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Based on the title you'd be hard pressed to really know what the book is about. It's an amazing story, I read the entire book in a day. Granted I was camping and the rest of the crew was lazy and slept all day, so I had the time. This is one book that I will share and tell others about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book....It creeps up on you. I found myself being taken in by the characters a bit more with every page. No shoot 'em up, foul language, or explicit sex scenes. A nice book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Sandra Dallas, "Prayers for Sale," for more than one reason. She's a very descriptive author; I felt as though I was experiencing the story as I was reading it. Yet, her story wasn't overly descriptive as some I've read & had to skip through pages of boring descriptions. I like her writing style. I love to hear stories of how life was in the past. Hennie is a fine storyteller & takes, Nit, a young wife, under her wings. The two become close friends as Hennie tries to teach Nit how to live as a 'mountain woman' in the harsh environment & living conditions in the gold mining town, Middle Swan, Colorado.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a very easy read and the story line was over all heart felt. It was fairly easy to visualize the character but the best decriptions were of the landscape. This book could inspire a visit to the high mountains deep in the winter season just to feel the thin chilling air. The main characters are generous in spirit and evoke a genuine kindness towards human kind despite their personal sufferings. Although it was not entirely what I had expected I am happy that I had the chance to read this book. I will absolutely pass this on to a friend.
bookangel19 More than 1 year ago
This is a great book! The quilts and storytelling are all woven into American History. This should be the next required reading for high school students. A must read!
lisa88 More than 1 year ago
Prayers for Sale was an outstanding story of an old mountain woman giving of herself to others all of her life. The story how women grow close to one another through their friendship and past time of quilting, and how we need to look deep in our heart to find what is really important to our life. I highly recommend this book.
ChristineRose More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. Couldn't put it down after I started. The storytelling was amazing and very enjoyable. I highly recommend it.
TheBookFairy More than 1 year ago
Once I picked this book up and read a few pages, I almost put it down. The writing style was a little simple for my taste, but once I kept reading, I realized that the writing style was meant to compliment the content. This is a wonderful, touching story about two amazing women. It's not the type of novel I would usually read, but I'm glad I did. I highly recommend it.
Peida More than 1 year ago
Easily one of the best books I have read in a long time! The writing style fits the time period of the book - you can almost see the characters and the surroundings. It's so nice to have a book that is clean - no foul language, no descriptive sex, little violence - what a pleasure!
LadyHester More than 1 year ago
This author is a wonderful storyteller! She kept me enthralled as she flipped between past and present in a small Colorado mining town. The story spans from the Civil War to late 1930's depression era. Hennie is a sweet character and her frienship with young Nit is the foundation of the story. I hope all her other books are just as good.
bklindy More than 1 year ago
This book was so good I could not put it down. I di not want Hnnie to leave because they were all a family read the book to find out what Hennie's decision was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy to visulalize the characters and engages emotions with in the reader. Quick read too.
Penny Vineyard More than 1 year ago
the first time that i read this book i didn't expect to connect as deeply as i did, it is unexpected in the way that you start to review your beliefs and what you think is important. i have now read this book four times and shared it many times and it still touches me deeply
Lannie More than 1 year ago
This is an entertaining, emotional read. Newly married, 17 year old Kit Spindle is 17, is intrigued by a sign outside of a house which reads "Prayers for Sale". When she meets 86 year old Hennie Comfort, she learns that Hennie doesn't sell the prayers but gives them away. They become friends and Hennie helps her adjust to her new life by telling her funny or unbearably sad stories. All in all the stories reveal how hard life was in the past and how the human spirit can win out. Great bonding tale! I recommend!
need-to-read More than 1 year ago
Read this while recuperating from ankle surgery. It was just what the dr.ordered! Easy to follow with a comforting and interesting story. I too, like historical fiction. This book is one you can recommend to anyone, nothing offensive or controversial, just a good novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love that there is a historical fiction aspect of this book told via "flashbacks" if you will. You really feel the pain and strength of the characters. It is written well, i could not put it down. I highly reccommend it.