Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Prayers and Lies” as Want to Read:
Prayers and Lies
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Prayers and Lies

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  2,502 Ratings  ·  257 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Prayers and Lies, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Prayers and Lies

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Missy
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
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
Emily
Nov 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Sharon
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Katherine
”Mother had a saying: ‘You don’t hang underwear on the outside line’ And our secrets stayed neatly cloistered within the family, where they belonged. That was our way for a long time, until we couldn’t hide them anymore.”

This book isn’t going to do anything to help combat Appalachian stereotypes, but there’s no denying the addictive quality of this Southern family drama.

Bethany Wylie and her family always vacation in West Virginia’s Coal Valley mountain to see her father’s relatives. Her mothe
...more
The
Mar 24, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
...more
Amy
May 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Krystlesta
Jan 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Bon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ginger
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
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.
Anne Crotty
Oct 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-lit
"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
...more
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
...more
Maggie61
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
...more
Lin
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lisa
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Apr 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 all...it kinda feels like "Me & Emma" but there is so much more to this one...it is soft and sweet while hard and harsh...if you liked "Me & ...more
Krissy
Apr 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pat Wogan
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jill
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: at-library, book-club
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.
Janet H.  Weaver
The story line and the message the book was sending was good, but the language and sexually explicit scenes were more than I could take. I wouln't recommend it if you are bothered by that type of writing. It was difficult for me to finish the book
Mich
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OMG.. GREAT READ... run out and get it right now... oh so very worth it.. atleast it was for me!
Apryl Rickert
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 !
Lee Anne
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: girlie, fiction
Captivating characters & intricate plot....reader keeps waiting for the "other shoe to drop". Not the happiest of tales....
Diane Macaluso
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Shirley
Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great page-turning novel about family secrets and innocence lost. Loved it.

Beth
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prayers and Lies by Sherri Wood Emmons is about the Wylie family the bond they share and the lengths they go to protect the ones they love.

The book is based told from Bethany's perspective in 1969 leading up to 1982. Cousins Bethany Marie and Reana Mae since the moment they met bond like they are sisters. We see the girls go through many challenges life throws at them. We see the secrets a family can keep and the lies they are willing to tell to protect themselves and the ones they love.

It's
...more
Liberty Arrow
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
This was a thrift store find for me, and I'm so glad I came across it! Such an interesting story with very intriguing characters. Bethany was the perfect narrator and I had a growing fascination for both Reana Mae and Tracy throughout the book.
This is one of those books that I never knew I needed to read and I would highly recommend it to anyone who needs a good coming-of-age story to dive into.
Karen
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many tales in one !

Great family generational history and coming of age story as experienced & seen through the eyes of a growing girl.
Fascinating & illuminating.
Becky Finfrock
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First Sherri Wood Emmons book I've read. She's a wonderfully talented writer, will be reading some of her others now.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sisterhood of the...: August 2014: Prayers and Lies by Sherri Wood Emmons 19 20 Sep 20, 2014 08:02AM  
  • What Happened to My Sister
  • Mothers and Other Liars
  • The Surrogate
  • Good Graces
  • Promises to Keep
  • Calling Home
  • A Life of Bright Ideas
  • All Fall Down
  • The Good Sister
  • What Happened to Hannah
  • Best Kept Secret
  • Close Your Eyes
  • The Kindest Thing
  • Hidden Wives: A Novel
  • Life Without Summer
  • Cracks in the Sidewalk
  • Girls in Trouble
  • After You
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 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
“Between the two of us, we made a sisterhood of misfits that sustained us both for a long time.” 0 likes
More quotes…