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The Prayer Box (Carolina Heirlooms #1)

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  6,467 Ratings  ·  891 Reviews
When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola's rambling Victorian house.Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola's walls, but every ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 1st 2013 by Tyndale House Publishers (first published August 16th 2013)
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AJ Best They are amazing. It's a Louisiana deliciousness (I assume that's where they are from since the book references Louisiana and when I had mine, a…moreThey are amazing. It's a Louisiana deliciousness (I assume that's where they are from since the book references Louisiana and when I had mine, a friend picked them up in New Orleans). They are kinda like donuts but are much much better!(less)
Penny May A prayer box is a box any kind of box that is special to you. Could be anything. I will not tell you what it is used for as it is a crucial part of…moreA prayer box is a box any kind of box that is special to you. Could be anything. I will not tell you what it is used for as it is a crucial part of the story.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
I first gave the book 4.5 stars, but I realized how much I enjoyed the book as I was retelling the books plot to my mother. It's just such a wonderful feel-good book. The kind that leaves you happy when you have finished reading it.

The Prayer Box is the first book in the Carolina Heirlooms series. There are also a couple of novellas you can read. I've read the last book in this series; The Sea Keeper's Daughters before I read this one and I was so enthralled by the book that I wanted to read the
Sep 19, 2013 Jackie rated it liked it
Once again I find myself wishing for the ability to give a book half-stars. I would give this one 3 1/2 stars. And once, again, I find myself a bit conflicted about a book. While I really did enjoy reading this book, it wasn't /isn't without its issues.

I struggled with Tandi. She was so spineless, and yet at the same time, had enough courage to get out of a bad situation and off of her painkillers. She was such a frustration to me that at times I wasn't sure I wanted to continue reading about he
Jun 27, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I am not free with five-star reviews. But when a novel leaves me teary-eyed and feeling a step closer to heaven there is nothing to do but hurry out and tell the world HERE is a book worth your time. I love stories that let me come along as characters who are at rock bottom slowly find their way back into the light. Add in a wonderful, old house in need of saving and I'm almost guaranteed to be a fan. But Lisa gave me so much more than a lovely story and rich characters--she gave me her heart. I ...more
Miranda Uyeh
Sep 25, 2013 Miranda Uyeh rated it really liked it
This book took some time for me to get into but once I did, it was amazing.

Tandi was a wounded woman who had recently broken free to become independent. At first I found myself upset with her because I expected more from her as a mother. But as the story went on, I discovered the root of her vulnerability—this was her first time being independent and she was trying to find her footing. She eventually grew into a strong, admirable woman, beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. I applaud L
I put off writing this review for nearly a week. Not because I couldn’t think of anything to say. (Those who know me would never describe me as speechless.) I wasn't under time constraints or laboriously engaged. Quite simply, Wingate’s novel spoke to me on so many levels. Frankly, I was overwhelmed, trying to rein in compress all of my thoughts/emotions/opinions into a mere paragraph or two. No sooner would I sit at the keyboard, my eyes would well up and rain; thinking about a lifetime of succ ...more
Aug 01, 2013 Virginia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-prayer-box
By Lisa Wingate

I will never be able to look at a cute little box again and think just cute. In my mind and heart, it will hold precious memories. Tandi Jo had been given just such a box when she was a young girl, but over the years it had been lost as she was tossed from family, to foster homes and sometimes to her beloved grandparents. The little box had meant so much to her. Her life almost destroyed many times over, Tandi brings her children to the Outer Banks, running yet again
May 29, 2014 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tandi Jo Reese, along with her two children, is fleeing from an abusive husband. She is also breaking her drug addition, fostered by her husband. She ends up in the Outer Banks, the one place of happy memories spent with her beloved grandfather. When her elderly landlady, Iola Ann Poole, dies she agrees to clean out the house in exchange for free rent for the small guest cottage. When Tandi discover's Iola's letters to God, she must examine her own life. Her childhood was one of neglect and disf ...more
Serena Chase
Oct 10, 2013 Serena Chase rated it it was amazing
The top three words that come to mind upon finishing this book? Beautiful, beautiful and ... beautiful.

OK, that was one word, but one so true about this story that it deserved to be repeated three times.

With a gift for crafting a story that digs into how a person's past can shape their view of themselves and of hope itself, Lisa Wingate never disappoints to deliver a first-class novel. The Prayer Box is just that sort of book. Through Tandi's eyes, we experience the life of a very real woman, sh
Denise Hershberger (100 Pages per Hour)
I really liked the last third of this book. But it took me the first third to get into the story. In all honesty I almost didn't read past 40% on my Kindle because I just wasn't engaged yet. But thankfully I was interested enough in what would happen that I kept reading and discovered the beautiful ending.

This book is a story within a story. The present day centers on Tandi who is a young single mother trying to keep her two kids fed. When her landlord, Iola Anne, passes away the church that inh
Jul 12, 2015 Staci rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
Rich characters are what appealed to me most about The Prayer Box. The main character Tandi comes across as very real. She wants to be a better person, but doesn't always make the best choices. A secondary character is Iola. The reader gets to know Iola through her letters and her story adds depth to the novel. The novel is full of a caring cast of characters and a few losers as well. All of them come across as so realistic. My heart went out to Tandi's son JT.

I really liked how the novel ended
Dec 19, 2013 Kathy rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this moving, easy to read, women’s fiction book. The story got better as it went along, so that by the end, you wanted it to keep going a bit more. Tandi is a woman with a rough past, and you feel for her, but sometimes she really annoyed me with her decisions in life. She would think in her mind about doing the right then, but then inevitably do the wrong. So it took me a while to come to like Tandi, but once I did the book became harder to put down until I found out how it all ...more
I found this to be a surprisingly good, very inspiring read!

(Don't have time right now, but I'll try to write more of a review later.)
Apr 03, 2017 Jen rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 06, 2013 Michelle rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. Some parts were riveting and I identified with the heroine, Tandi. Other times the book seemed to drag a bit and I found myself skimming. It's definitely women's fiction and not a romance. I don't mind stories where there are things tied to the past. I remember going to an attic once when a friend of my parents bought an old Victorian house and finding a lot of cool stuff in there from the 1800s. That part of the story was good. I also liked the interaction ...more
Jul 30, 2013 Casey rated it really liked it
One generation should teach the next. Sometimes that teaching isn’t done in the traditional form of speaking and sometimes those words come to us in the form of letters never immediately intended to affect our lives.

Words are so powerful. I’m constantly in awe of the potency they can have echoing down through the ages. Tandi has so much growing up to do in “The Prayer Box”. I couldn’t help but be a bit frustrated with her at times, but to watch her mature and change into the woman she is called
Julie Barrett
Jul 07, 2013 Julie Barrett rated it it was amazing
The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate
First wanted to read this book as part of the summer reads for the whole family campaign by JKS communications.
Love the setting for this in the outer banks and she recalls being there with her grandparents, closeby the house that was featured in 'Nights in Rodanthe'. There is also talk of the ship that didn't make ti to shore and the wild ponies.
She has run away from her husband in TX after having suffered an injury from falling from a horse-and she's attempting t
Brandi (Rambles of a SAHM)
Aug 25, 2013 Brandi (Rambles of a SAHM) rated it it was amazing
When we are young we are subject to the decisions of our parents. As we grow older we are responsible for our own choices. Many times however we fall into the trap of doing what we know. That is the plight of Tandy Jo Reese. She's grown up with completely dysfunctional parents and ultimately wound up in the foster care system. Things began looking up for her but she continually reverts to doing what she has grown up learning.

We pick up the story at the point where she has escaped with her two ch
Judy Collins
A beautifully poignant story THE PRAYER BOX by Lisa Wingate, with a past from one wrong man to another and a controlling one she managed to escape from, as she makes her way to the Outer Banks. (would recommend reading “The Seaglass Sisters- a novella), prior to “The Prayer Box”.

Tandi has no job and no means to support herself and her children and she is trying desperately to start over. She has escaped taking pills to drown her problems from Texas and wants to be a good mother and be a bette
Katherine Jones
Sep 03, 2013 Katherine Jones rated it it was amazing
Every page of this novel amazed and moved me, often also prompting just a wee bit of envy that so much talent should reside in one single writer.

With fresh prose and evocative word pictures, Lisa Wingate moves her readers into the life of Tandi Reese, a single mom with a troubled past who hovers on the brink of change–for better or worse. Tandi’s quest to solve the mystery of Iola Anne Poole’s life becomes the reader’s own. And Tandi’s journey of discovery through Iola’s left-behind letters to G
Aug 31, 2013 Holly rated it really liked it
I am finding that I really enjoy Lisa Wingate's writing. She takes her time telling the story of life allowing the reader to get to know the main character as well as those around them. The main character, Tandi, was a character that was easy to fall in love with and to root for as she struggled to get own her feet and take care of her children. She is very honest in her fears and her desire to survive.

The story was wonderful. As Tandi started reading Iola Anne's letter's, it hit me, "What a won
Aug 21, 2016 Pattya rated it it was amazing
Without a doubt the best book I have ever read. I started with the audio and about a third through it I changed to the ebook version so I could read and re-read parts, especially the letters. I would recommend this book to anyone and especially those who are lost in some way and need something or someone to help them to find their way again. Iola Anne will lead you in directions you won't believe. The history, the sights and the sounds of the outer banks were especially interesting to me as well ...more
May 29, 2014 Yvonne rated it really liked it
This is not a world shattering book, but when I closed the last page, I wanted to read more, probably because I'd love to find what Tandi found.

A book of cross generations connections, recovering from a haunted past, and finding courage to make tough decisions.

I'll definitely read more from Lisa Wingate.
Becky Forrester coleman
Jul 18, 2014 Becky Forrester coleman rated it it was amazing
Quite possibly one of the most beautiful books I've ever read.
Jan 23, 2015 Shirley rated it it was amazing
First book I've read by this author and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Wendy T
This was such a beautiful story. Loved it!
Aug 15, 2013 Wanda rated it it was amazing
Favorite Excerpt:

Dearest Father,

Forgive me for not coming to this sooner, this writing to you.Time goes by in the storm-washed days, unpredictable moment to moment, a pouring in and then a washing away. The ocean is calm today, beautiful, sunlit, and placid all around. How difficult to imagine that it has rushed ashore, washed through buildings and cars, and wrestled boasts loose from their mooring lines. But what is left behind tells the tale. Trees down in the yard, mud against the pilings, a
Susan Peterson
Aug 17, 2015 Susan Peterson rated it it was amazing
The Prayer Box took me on such an emotional journey. At times the stories of Iola Anne Poole and Tandi Reese are heartbreaking, full of hurt and turmoil, but overall there is a wonderful spirit of optimism in this book. Tandi is a single mom with two kids, who has left a horrible, dnagerous situation and escaped to the Outer Banks, a place with happy memories of times spent there with her grandparents. Her own childhood was a scary one, as she and her sister were bounced from foster families to ...more
Julie McComas
Sep 01, 2013 Julie McComas rated it it was amazing
Gripping is one way to describe the way this book affected my life for almost two days. It was near impossible for me to put it down, and when I did I continued to think about the characters.

Tandi Jo, the main character, is admittedly a bad mom who is making huge changes in her life in order to become a better mom, and person. As she and her two kids kids run from her dangerous past, they land in the small community of Hatteras Island. They barely scrape by while Tandi looks for work, but when h
Laura Grace
Aug 04, 2013 Laura Grace rated it it was amazing
This story was so beautiful and captured my heart!

Iola's story was amazing! Like Tandi, I felt as if Iola is a long lost friend that is so beautiful inside and out! I felt like I was sneaking off to come read more of her story like Tandi when she was sneaking away to come read more letters out of the prayer box in the blue room (when we both should be cleaning)! The heart that Iola had for the families of the Outer Banks was so mind changing for me because in so many little (and big) ways she
Leia Spencer
Oct 14, 2014 Leia Spencer rated it really liked it
I am not going to give a synopsis of the story. But I will tell you what I liked about this book. First off I would give it 3.5 stars, based on the writing and the subject matter. This book gave me goosebumps at the end. I loved how Tandi found healing through the old prayer letters written by Iola Anne. Tandi was in desperate need of healing. The book was written very positively though. The writings could have easily slipped into darker themes around abuse: child, wife and drug. The author must ...more
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Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the bestselling author of more than twenty novels. Her work has won or been nominated for many awards, including the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, the Oklahoma Book Award, the Utah Library Award, the Carol Award, the Christy Award, and the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her work was honored by the Americans for More Civility for pro ...more
More about Lisa Wingate...

Other Books in the Series

Carolina Heirlooms (3 books)
  • The Story Keeper (Carolina #2)
  • The Sea Keeper's Daughters (Carolina #3)

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“Fear builds walls instead of bridges. I want a life of bridges, not walls.” 29 likes
“The trouble with drowning in the mess of your own life is that you're not in any shape to save anyone else. You can't be a lighthouse when you're underwater yourself.” 15 likes
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