Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas

Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas
Copyright 2009
St. Martin's Press - Fiction/Historical
305 pages

Hennie Comfort has lived in Middle Swan, Colorado, since the death of her first husband sent her in search of a new life. Now eighty-six and on the verge of having to leave her beloved home at her daughter's insistance, Hennie befriends 17-year-old Nit Spindle and is drawn to her by their mutual grief -- Hennie's, far in the past and Nit's more recent loss. As the two women endure the harsh life of Colorado in the 1930's, their friendship grows and they share secrets they thought they would never let go, helping each other in unexpected ways.

It's been several weeks since I read Prayers for Sale, my third read by Sandra Dallas. I can't say the details have stuck with me, but the general feeling remains. Hennie is a storyteller and a quilter and Nit is young and willing to both listen and take advice. Both are hard-working and come from similar backgrounds. Both have endured heartbreaking loss. Hennie slowly shares her story as they take turns visiting, quilting together and sharing food and conversation.

It's always surprising when a book that is essentially a quietly paced story is a page turner, but Sandra Dallas has a knack for making the pages fly and tossing in little surprises -- sometimes shocking, sometimes anticipated and satisfying -- that make her books eminently readable, the kind you want to shove into a friend's hands.

What I liked about this book: Everything. I like the pacing, the characters, the storyline, the surprises, the friendship, the writing style. There was nothing I recall disliking at all.
Prayers for Sale is sweet and rugged, full of hardship and grief and deep love, grueling hard work and gentle friendship. I like imagining myself in the place of such incredibly challenged characters, wondering whether I would survive and thrive or go to pieces. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy historical fiction and stories of friendship between women.

Update: After I wrote this review, I remembered the one thing about this book that really drove me nuts and that's the name "Nit". What a horrible name choice! No matter how hard I tried, I could never stop thinking of lice when I read that name.

Posts will continue to be short and sporadic, but I'm going to go ahead and try to dash out a review or two, whenever I have a few free moments, along with updates on arrivals and finished books. Happy Reading!

©2010 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Bookfoolery and Babble, you are reading a stolen feed. Email bookfoolery@gmail.com for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. I apparently never got around to writing a review, but I did enjoy the book and posted this as a teaser:

    "It [the sign] 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?"

    -- page 3, Prayers for Sale, by Sandra Dallas, 2009


  2. Bonnie,

    I loved that -- and the story behind the sign and Hennie's reply.

  3. I've never read any of Dallas's work but I have one of her books here - glad to see you enjoyed this one.

  4. I need to read this one. I actually have it but just haven't gotten around to it. I like Sandra Dallas's books... good, comfort reads.

  5. Loved this book--except for the name Nit! lol But it's a wonderful read and I'm so glad you enjoyed it as well.

  6. Kathy,

    I think you'll enjoy Sandra Dallas. :)


    That's a good way to describe her books: "comfort reads". The Persian Pickle Club is still my favorite Dallas book, but this one runs a close second. If you already enjoy her books, you'll love it. :)

  7. Tammy

    I thought about that, after I posted my review, but decided not to add a line to the review, since I'm so busy. The name Nit was, in fact, the only thing I disliked. What a horrible name!! I never got past it or managed to stop thinking of lice whenever her name came up.

  8. I've only read one book by Sandra Dallas, but I really enjoyed it. This sounds like another one I should try!

  9. Serena,

    Prayers for Sale was my third book by Dallas and it runs a close second to my favorite. Definitely go for it!

  10. Glad to see you enjoyed this one so much. I like Sandra's work, but this was not one of my favorites.

  11. Joy,

    I think this was only my third Dallas book and it fell right in the middle. I really liked it a lot (except for the name Nit) but she hasn't beat The Persian Pickle Club, yet. My third place was a good book but too similar to another book I read and liked better, not long before, so that's really the only reason it falls to third. I've enjoyed all of her books.


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