- File Size: 6141 KB
- Print Length: 384 pages
- Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (August 16, 2013)
- Publication Date: August 16, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00CH7KXY2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,848 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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|Print List Price:||$15.99|
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The Prayer Box (A Carolina Chronicles Book 1) Kindle Edition
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From the Publisher
"Transcends simple hope and healing while capturing the heart of the reader." - Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of The Time Between
"Lisa Wingate writes with grace, beauty and so much heart." -- Sarah Jio, New York Times bestselling author of THE LAST CAMELLIA
"Tenderly woven. Skillfully threaded. A grab-your-heart story." -Charles Martin, -- New York Times Bestselling author of Unwritten
Wingate writes with a sensitivity and lyricism so effortless, weaving a community atmosphere with a comforting story of personal healing (ForeWord Reviews)
With a careful eye to detail and a beautiful, lyrical style reminiscent of those of Mary Alice Monroe and Patti Callahan Henry, Wingate vividly sets Tandi's struggles in a once beautiful Victorian mansion now falling to ruin and guarded by a cranky cat in a small town recovering from the ravages of a hurricane. [Starred review] (Booklist)
Relatable characters and vivid portrayals of events both current and historical create an enchanting, memorable pilgrimage into the fullness of faith and love. (Publishers Weekly)
Readers will delight in this gorgeously written, true gem of a novel. Realistic characters and a saga of life, love, and rebuilding make a gorgeous treat. [Top Pick] (Romantic Times Book Reviews)
Two-time Carol Award winner Wingate (Blue Moon Bay) has written a moving and inspiring story with interesting female characters and a colorful Southern backdrop. A good option for fans of Nicholas Sparks and Mary Alice Monroe. (Library Journal)
From the Author
The idea for The Prayer Box came as I was sketching out some short novel summaries at a publisher's request. I literally looked across the room, and saw a prayer box that had been given to me at a speaking event, and thought, What if the prayers of a woman's entire lifetime were recorded in prayer boxes? What would you learn about her if you opened those boxes, and how might it change you?
2. From idea to final revision, how long did it take to write?
The writing and revision of The Prayer Box took roughly a year. I knew that the book needed a coastal setting, that it would be the story of a life in ruins being slowly resurrected through the discovery of prayer boxes left behind by the owner of a house. I saw a small seaside community, struggling to recover from a hurricane, and a main character who was an outsider, seeking refuge. I knew that there would be connections between the life of the woman who created the prayer boxes and filled them with letters, and the life of the woman who finds the boxes. Setting The Prayer Box in the Outer Banks added some research time to the writing, but it also added a deep new dimension to the novel. The Outer Banks became a character in itself. It's an area rife with history and legend and that played an important part in the story.
3. Is there more to the story?
The follow- up to The Prayer Box releases in September 2014. The Story Keeper is set in North Carolina as well, but in the Appalachians. The two novels share a special historical mystery that I hope readers will enjoy discovering, but each book stands alone. A novella, The Tidewater Sisters, bridges the gap between the novels and brings resolution to the complicated relationship of Tandi and her sister.
4. What would you like to say to readers of The Prayer Box?
To watch, to listen, to value the God-given gifts of time, and joy, and people. We live in a culture of acquisition. We're bombarded by the idea that we are what we own... but we are so much more. Like Iola Anne Poole in the novel, we are the keepers of the grace river. We drink in and pour out, but most of all we must see. So many things compete for our attention. The world is blindingly busy, and all too often, we fall into patterns of fundamental discontentment. We don'thave to live that way. It's a choice. Happiness is an inside job. Gratitude creates gifts. Faith creates peace. These are the lessons I learned from Iola Poole. And yes, I know that sounds strange. How can you learn from the people in your head? How can they know anything more than you know? I think the answer is that God put them there in the first place.
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Tandi is a down on her luck single-mom whose life has been a whole lot of heartache. She's on the run from an abusive husband and flat-broke. Her kids are used to fending for themselves for the most part and their relationship with Tandi is shallow at best. You can feel the despair and desperation in her situation right from the beginning.
Iola Poole was a lovely woman who didn't understand many wrongs that had been done to her throughout her life. She was sent away from her home and family at a young age to live at a Catholic home for orphans and overheard some ladies call her an "anathema" which means curse or something to be shunned. It took many years before she'd realize why they would say that about her, and even afterwards the sting of rejection from her own family would be something she carried. Hiding her true identity of who she was from her neighbors, and even her husband for a time, was something she bore alone. However, she found solace in her letters, written to Father, that she placed in prayer boxes. Those prayer boxes are the treasure that Tandi will find, years later, and slowly begin to piece together Iola's secret.
What Tandi discovers is an amazing woman, with a great capacity to give, anonymously, to meet the needs of those in her community and beyond. Even when many treated her poorly because they did not understand her true heritage, she never stopped praying and giving generously, even up to her death.
What happens and how it all pulls together makes for a great story. Tandi learns a lot of hard lessons along the way, but with the help of some people who treat her compassionately and genuinely care about her well-being, she grows stronger and is able to stand on her own two feet.
An excellent read that will grab you and engross you throughout the entire book!
It has become a big deal for me when I find an inspirational book (because ultimately that is what a "christian" book should do--inspire people) that is beautifully written and properly edited.
The Prayer Box is all that and ever so much more. I was pulled into the world Ms. Wingate created right from the start. I WANTED to be in Tandi's world and was truly hoping against hope that she could be the person she always hoped she would be.
The way Iola's story was told filled me with such love and admiration for her as a person and real sorrow for the wounds and injustices inflicted upon her. I was inspired by her simple and heartfelt letters to her beloved father. I was moved and inspired by her selfless acts of love and concern for the very people and community that shunned (and even reviled) her. Thinking on her beautiful spirit and lonely, anonymous death broke my heart. I wonder how many Iola's I have missed--we all have missed--in our busy, insulated, unmindful lives?
This book was a rare treat and I am ever so grateful for the author's gift of storytelling. I didn't want the book to end because I felt so very connected to the entire cast of characters. There are people whose redemption is still in the future--what is to come of them? I so hope there will be more books from the outer banks and Ms. Wingate. It's a real joy to have loved every page of this book and been inspired AND challenged by so many of them. I have printed several excerpts from the book and put them in my journal to reflect on as they speak to where I am in life's voyage.
I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this story.
Tandi is a complex and engaging protagonist and narrator. Much like a real person, there are things to like about her, such as her intelligence and resilience, and things you hope will change, such as her hands-off parenting and tendency to glom onto men who do anything but appreciate and love her. Perhaps that's why it's so gratifying to see her form a sisterhood with the Seashell Shop women, get to know Paul Chastain, and build a life on Hatteras after the definition of a troubled life.
Iola, for her part, is a compelling deuterotagonist. In fact, she made me wish Lisa Wingate wrote historical fiction, because her story is just as interesting as Tandi's. Her prayer box letters are touching and filled with deep faith, despite her own travails, such as being banished to a convent school for her mixed-race heritage. Because Iola's part of the novel is epistolary and not as consistent as Tandi's, I felt like I missed out on getting to know this character, but it wasn't a turn-off because the historical and contemporary stories mesh together well.
Lisa rounds out her story with other well-drawn characters such as Paul, a man who doesn't fit the stereotype of a romantic hero but is the kind of guy Tandi needs, and Zoey, a daughter who is deciding whether to follow her mom's path or believe she can be and do better. Finally, I like that the Christian element of The Prayer Box, while present, is not overpowering. You can safely presume Tandi will find faith, but her journey feels authentic, not clichéd. Saying the Sinner's Prayer and going to church, Lisa hints, won't fix everything for Tandi. What will, is finding God--and Christ in Him--and believing who He says she is and always was. I love how Iola, through her prayer box, had an opportunity to teach Tandi this.
Top international reviews
This is a beautiful book about a damaged individual growing into a self-confident one with the help of a loving local community who take her in without judging her. Most of all though she learns about the life of Iola her landlady through the prayers she left behind.
It shows how we are all valued and loved by God and that He is a God of seconc chances even when we mess up.
I did find it a little long at times and the end was somewhat abrupt but overall a good read
Yes this is a romance, but that takes a lesser role in the story which focusses instead on friendship, mutual support and the story of Iola who was an unseen influence for good in the town and indeed in Tandi's life. It is not at all a preachy book and I recommend it highly.
Will only REALLY appeal to those open to a 'spiritual' open mind. You don't have to be religious, just open minded to spirituality I think.
For those open to that - 4.5 stars.
Wholly recommend this you will truly feel for the character