Prayers for Sale

Prayers for Sale

by Sandra Dallas

NOOK BookFirst Edition (eBook - First Edition)

$9.99 View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now

Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429962377
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 04/01/2010
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 142,422
File size: 612 KB

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.


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, Prayers for Sale 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 old woman peered past the red geraniums in her deep front window at the figure lingering in the moon-white snow at the gate. In the gloom of the late winter afternoon, Hennie Comfort did not recognize the woman, who stood like a curious bird, her head cocked to one side as she looked at the fence, then the front door, and back at the fence again. Hennie watched, thinking it odd that anyone would wait there, mute as the snow itself. Why would a body stand in the cold when she could come inside by the stove?

Hennie had gone to the window to read her letter in the winter light, because the heavy snow had weighted down the wires, causing the electric to go out. It was too dark inside now to read, although Hennie knew the words wouldn’t be any different from what they were when she read the letter at the post office that morning.

For years, Mae had urged her to move out of the high country. This time, she’d made it plain that if Hennie insisted on another winter on the earth’s backbone, Mae would come to Middle Swan herself and pack up her mother and take her below, to Fort Madison on the eastern edge of Iowa. Mae was a loving daughter, but she was as stubborn as Hennie. “You can spend your summers in Middle Swan, Mom, but I insist that from now on, you live with us during the winters. What if you slipped on the ice and broke your leg? You could freeze to death before somebody found you.”

Mae was right, Hennie admitted to herself. If she fell, the snow would cover her up, and nobody would know where she was until she melted out in the spring. It was foolhardy for a person as old as she was to stay another winter on the Swan River. Besides, it was selfish of her to let Mae worry, and Hennie was always sensible of the feelings of others. But Lordy, she didn’t want to live on the Mississippi.

Hennie set the letter on the table and returned to the window to look at the woman, covered now in white flakes. She’d be frozen solid as a fence post if she didn’t move soon. So the old woman opened the door and walked into the snow in her stout shoes, her hands tucked into her sleeves. “Hello to you,” she called.

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?” The girl asked all this in a rush, as if she didn’t want to forget any of the questions she had pondered as she stood frozen- still in the cold.

“That sign’s older than God’s old dog.”

“How come you to sell prayers?”

“I don’t.”

“The sign says so. I’ve seen it three times now. I came back because of it,” the girl persisted. “I can pay, if that’s what you’re thinking. I can pay.”

Hennie chuckled. “That sign’s a story. I’ll tell it to you if you’ll come inside.”

“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.” Hennie put her arms tight around herself to squeeze out the cold, for she had gone into the storm without her coat.

“I need it. I do.”

“Just you come inside then and tell me why.”

“I can’t. I’ve got to get home and fix Dick’s supper. But I’d be obliged to you if you’d say a prayer—a prayer for Sweet Baby Effie, sweet baby that was, that is. Maybe you could ask that wherever she is, she’s not taken with the cold—I never knew it to be so cold—but just any words will do.”

“I’ll ask it,” Hennie said, turning and gesturing toward the house, but the girl wouldn’t follow. Instead, she took a step backward.

“I thank you,” she said, carefully laying her nickel on the crosspiece of the fence. Then she turned and fled. Rubbing her arms now against the cold, Hennie watched until the little thing disappeared into the storm. Then she picked up the five-cent piece and went inside, placing the coin in a mite box that she kept for Bonnie Harvey to take to church. Hennie herself didn’t attend ser vices, hadn’t in a long time.

As she sat down in a kitchen chair, Hennie picked up the letter, but instead of holding it up to the window to read again, she pondered the young girl. Something about her was familiar, although Hennie was sure she’d never seen her before. It might have been the way she said her words, which told Hennie she was from the South. Or perhaps it was because the girl was new in Middle Swan and appeared to be not a day older than Hennie herself when she’d arrived long years before.

Hennie looked out the window again, but there was no sign of the girl returning, no sign that she’d even been there, in fact. The old woman wondered why the girl wanted a prayer; she seemed to have a powerful desire for one. Well, Hennie knew the need for prayer in her life, and she would do what she could. So slowly, she knelt on her old knees beside the chair, clasped her hands together, and asked God to keep Sweet Baby Effie warm. Then she mumbled, “Now, Lord, there’s a girl, a poor girl, by the looks of her, that’s needing your help—and maybe mine, too. I’d like it right well if you could tell me what to do.” She paused and added, “And I’d be grateful if you’d find a way short of dying to keep me from moving in with Mae.”

Excerpted from Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas

Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Dallas

Published in 2009 by St. Martins’ Press

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher

Reading Group Guide

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

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.