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Prayers and Lies
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Prayers and Lies

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,788 ratings  ·  205 reviews
When seven-year-old Bethany meets her six-year-old cousin Reana Mae, it's the beginning of a kinship of misfits that saves both from a bone-deep loneliness. Every summer, Bethany and her family leave Indianapolis for West Virginia's Coal River Valley. For Bethany's mother, the trips are a reminder of the coalmines and grinding poverty of her childhood, of a place she'd hop ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Kensington (first published January 1st 2011)
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You know that feeling that you get when you first start reading a book and you quickly fall in love with the main character? You hang on to their every word and feel the same emotions that they are feeling? That's how it was between me and Bethany Wylie. Bethany and her parents and her three sisters spent every summer on the Coal River in West Virginia. Her parents were born and raised there, so they had numerous aunts, uncles and cousins to visit with. Bethany formed a special bond with one of ...more
An appropriate thought-provoking title for this book about acceptance and forgiveness: a remarkable story of love, friendship, being a teenager, the compelling need to be wanted and needed, lies, secrets, and the dichotomy of pain and joy. Bethany and her cousin Reana Mae draw you in to their lives: growing up in the Coal River valley of West Virginia. When Bethany begins to realize familial dark secrets, her world begins to change and she wrestles with integrity, loyalty, and devotion. Bethany, ...more
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This book was wonderfully written, and really had me in an emotional tirade about the characters: I was rooting for some, disgusted at some, and by the end, I came to understand.

I had two problems with this book, and that's why I down rated it:
1) There were too many names thrown at me right in the beginning, so many that I had to go back and reread the first few chapters after I was some way into the novel, so I could get everything straight in my head. Same with at the end, when everything wa
Pamela Browning
As a native West Virginian, I was very anxious to read this book. After completion, I have mixed emotions. I became pulled in by the story-line and loved the sweet-natured narrator. I thought Ms. Emmons was quite proficient in character development. She had me gritting my teeth while reading about Tracy's hatefulness and feeling as though my heart would break every time Reana Mae was mistreated...which unfortunately was often. The characters' Southern West Virginia dialect was spot-on.

The conten
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When Bethany meets her cousin Reana Mae, it's the beginning of a friendship that will last forever. Every summer Bethany and her family leave Indianapolis for West Virginia's Coal River Valley. These trips remind Bethany's mother of the coal mines and grinding poverty of her childhood. But because of their relatives, and Bethany's friendship with Reana Mae, they keep coming back. As Bethany grows older she learns that life in this small town isn't as simple as she once thought. The secrets of th ...more
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Probably because my mother's family arrived here pre 1700 and lived in cabins in the hills of the southern states and that my Grandma Effie Mae was such a prominent person in my childhood. She was born in the 1880s in southern Illinois and her tales of family, and she was a magnificent storyteller, of poverty and pride, of the spiritual and the spirits, of family legend and pride, instigated my lifelong fascination with genealogy and my love affair with Southern literature. My masters thesis was ...more
By far, one of the best books I've read in quite awhile. The story takes place in West Virginia and is told in Bethany's POV. The setting is late 1960's-1970's, with the last chapter being 1982. It centers mostly on Bethany and her cousin Reana Mae. It's a story which revolves around a family and extended family, and the lies and secrets. It's equal parts sad, happy and infuriating.

I am so glad I finally picked this up and read it!
Barbara Epperson
My rating might be a tad generous because this book's author lives in Indianapolis. The story kept my interest in spite of the extremely disturbing truths revealed in the telling.
Sarah (Workaday Reads)
Bethany and her cousin Reana Mae are soul sisters, inseparable during the summers when Bethany and her family stay at their cottage in West Virginia's Coal River Valley. As they grow up, Bethany realizes that not everything is as perfect as it seems, and every family has dark secrets. As these secrets come to light, Bethany's world is rocked, and she must decide how to react towards those she loves most.

This was a haunting story that I couldn't put down. The secrets and events that happen within
Loved this first book of Sherri wood Emmons.
Bethany, one of four sisters is best friends with her wrong side of the tracks only child Reana Mae. The two are inseparable as children with Bethany's family spends summers at the cottage. Reana is more of a sister to her than Tracey her next oldest sister. Tracey is just mean and nasty and uses every opportunity to torment her sister and even more is Reana her target.
One summer, when Reana is 11, she is never to be found and Bethany finds that Rean
Anne Crotty
"The Bible says the sins of the father are visited upon the sons...But I believe it's the daughters who bear the brunt of most of the family sins. At least that's so in my family" So begins Sherri Wood Emmon's haunting novel about family secrets and salvation.
Bethany and Rena Mae are cousins. They spend every minute of Summer vacation together in the coal country of West Virginia. Bethany enjoys these summers away from her home in Indianapolis. It is during these summers that she gets a bit of
Jun 29, 2014 Lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, 16 or above
Recommended to Lisa by: Lucky find
I stumbled upon this book by accident at my local library. Honestly what prompted me to check it out was that it was set mostly in West Virginia. I'm a sucker for anything nonfiction OR fiction that takes place in my state. What was the most unusual part about the find is that my library has a section devoted to anything that takes place in WV, both historically and fictionally. I found this on the opposite side of the library in the regular fiction section. I read the 'blurb' and saw that it wa ...more
Ann Marie
This book was wonderful...four stars because --- there were just to many relatives in the first couple chapters and again in the last couple chapters...I know they were part of the story, I just hate having to read family trees...I can never follow them and I always have to go back and re-read...but this was a wonderful story and I would recommend it to kinda feels like "Me & Emma" but there is so much more to this is soft and sweet while hard and harsh...if you liked "Me & ...more
Bill Kupersmith
This novel features every catty cliché you've every heard about Appalachia - uncles sexually abusing pre-teen nieces, rape, incest, alcoholism, & that all the inhabitants have the same DNA. (Yes, genetics plays a role in this story.) Characters are right off the shelf: when Bobbie Lee rides onto page 1 on his motorcycle with Joleen on the back I thought, "Aren't you two supposed to be in a Reynolds Price novel?" To make the story more annoying, the Audible reader talked in what I assume was ...more
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Pat Wogan
I started reading this book in the morning and couldn't put it down! Emmons is a great story teller. She made even her minor characters real. I fini,shed the book in one day because I had to know how it ended! Don't start this book on a day you have lots of chores to do. Well written, good story, believable characters, and well-described settings. I give it five stars
I was a little confused at the beginning of this book but the storyline soon became clear and I couldn't wait to see what would happen to these characters. Very engaging !
Great summer read. Everyone in this family is so screwed up. It is not a matter of if everything is going to hit the fan, it is more a matter of when. This story reminded me of why I don't have the urge to look that close at my family tree.
Joelene Young
Such a great book. I loved the way this author not only had us relating to the characters but also painted the scene. As a young child we all seem oblivious to the family secrets which become so glaringly obvious as we grow older and seem to run into them around every corner. What and how we deal with that knowledge is what makes us who we are. Nancy, Melinda, Tracy, their little sister Bethany and their little Cousin Rae Ann find a whole lot to deal with in this family and the villagers that he ...more
Diane Macaluso
It took me awhile to figure out all the aunts, grandmas, uncles, cousins, etc., but finally just let the story pull me along! Didn't want to put it down!
Lee Anne
Captivating characters & intricate plot....reader keeps waiting for the "other shoe to drop". Not the happiest of tales....
OMG.. GREAT READ... run out and get it right now... oh so very worth it.. atleast it was for me!
Great page-turning novel about family secrets and innocence lost. Loved it.

Somehow, in some way, author Sherri Wood Emmons includes every back woods, country stereotype (incest, rape, prejudice, and domestic violence) in her coming-of-age story of two girls who form a lifelong friendship in the Appalachian mountains. Yet, because of her careful construction of characters, I walked away at the end of this book thinking, Wow, what a beautiful story. Even the so-called villains are sympathetic and the main character, Bethany, is truly one to root for. A wonderful (and fas ...more
Rori Rischak
I was an English major in college. I've had to analyze a lot of writing, and I've taken a couple classes specifically in writing. As a result, when I begin a new book, I'm usually pretty aware of a writer's stylistic decisions. I take note of how much detail an author chooses to go into, how main characters are described, what similes are used, how background stories are revealed.

But this book was different. This book sucked me in so quickly that I never got distracted by these technicalities. F
Melinda Lang
I did not like The Sometimes Daughter so I wasn't sure if Prayers and Lies would be any better. It was a better read but it lacked the substance/fabric/core that Emmons' other novel did. I had a hard time getting past the heavy West Virginia accent in the dialogue and found it very distracting, especially when key information was being conveyed by the characters. And too many characters had names so similar it was hard to remember who was who without looking back. The story itself had great pote ...more

Bethany, a seven year old girl from Indianapolis begins to spend her summers with her parents, sisters, and extended family at the Coal River in West Virginia. While the life here is much different from what she is used to, she quickly feels both at peace and at home here, and forms a tight, sisterly bond with her six year old cousin, Reana Mae. There is a simpleness here on the River that Bethy finds comforting. Though they may not have the "riches" that Bethy has at home, they have the "riches
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Sisterhood of the...: August 2014: Prayers and Lies by Sherri Wood Emmons 19 19 Sep 20, 2014 08:02AM  
  • What Happened to My Sister
  • Promises to Keep
  • Mothers and Other Liars
  • All Fall Down
  • Calling Home
  • A Life of Bright Ideas
  • Hidden Wives
  • Best Kept Secret
  • Good Graces
  • The Kindest Thing
  • Forever Sunshine
  • The Surrogate
  • When We Were Friends
  • Girls in Trouble
  • Life Without Summer
  • A Simple Thing
  • The Good Sister
  • Chosen
Sherri Wood Emmons is a freelance writer and editor. Prayers and Lies is her first work of fiction. She is a graduate of Earlham College and the University of Denver Publishing Institute. A mother of three, she lives in Indiana with her husband, two fat beagles, and four spoiled cats.
More about Sherri Wood Emmons...
The Sometimes Daughter The Seventh Mother The Weight of Small Things Defrocked: How A Father's Act of Love Shook the United Methodist Church Defrocked: How a Father's Act of Love Shook the United Methodist Church

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“The Bible says that the sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons to the seventh generation. But I believe it's the daughters who bear the brunt of most family sins. At least that's so in my family.” 3 likes
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