John's Reviews > Prayers for Sale

Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas
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's review
May 25, 2011

really liked it

This is by far one of the better books I've read over the past couple of months and will definitely be one of my favorites. This was also the first book that I’ve read that was written by Sandra Dallas and I expect to read more of her work for she has mastered the art of storytelling as far as I’m concerned.

This is a story of 2 women (86 year old Hennie Comfort and 17 year old Nit Spindle) who develop an unlikely friendship after the younger of the two arrives in Colorado from Kentucky, accompanying her husband who is looking for work in the gold mines. Hennie, twice a widow, was originally from Tennessee but has lived in Middle Swan, Colorado for 70+ years and is faced with eventually moving to Iowa so her daughter can take care of her.

The elderly Hennie takes Nit under her wings and a beautiful friendship develops as Hennie loves to tell a story (and she has plenty of them to tell) so they share stories as they quilt or visit throughout the day. In addition to both being from the south, early on in their friendship they learn that they have both lost a child. This creates a special bond between the women for Hennie understands the grief that young Nit is feeling as she arrives in Colorado.

As time passes and Nit becomes pregnant, Hennie is determined to get Nit and her husband acclimated to the hard and dangerous work that goes along with working in the gold dredges, before her scheduled departure from Middle Swan so she can be with her daughter. Also, Hennie realizes that she has to settle a ‘secret’ that has left her troubled over the years which is not revealed until the final pages.

This novel is loaded with tenderness, sharing, sweetness, laughter and yes, some tears.

Here are some of my favorite passages from Prayers for Sales that made me chuckle and put a smile on my face:

“I’m rougher than a cow’s tongue when it comes to quilting.”

“He was as handsome as a hog.”

“You’re as mean as a striped snake.”

“My tongue’s been going like a clapper in a cowbell.”

“Some folks called him Vinegar Joe, on account of he was so sour. He was a sooty-looking man, a complainer, and as hard as a pine knot.”

“… for he smelled worse than beaver bait.”

“…she’d have dried out like a marsh marigold.”

“But I’m as slow as rising cream.”

“…he was mad enough to chew splinters.”

“The girl was as skinny yet as a plucked porcupine.”

“Sometimes the young girl and old woman seemed like slices from the same loaf of bread.”

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