Sandra Dallas's newest novel, Prayers For Sale, is set for release April 14, 2009. Run and reserve it now...it's so good! I received the novel early as part of the Amazon Vine program, and I'm glad I made the choice to read this one! Copied below is my review from Amazon.
Hennie Comfort knows she's getting old--she's 86--but she doesn't want to leave her mountain home of Middle Swan, Colorado, to go live with her daughter in Iowa. Still, there comes a time when Hennie figures she must face the facts and give in to her daughter's pleadings, so she sets the end of the year 1936 as the time when she'll begrudgingly move. But there's lots to be done in the months left, including befriending the new young neighbor, Nit Spindle, and working through some things Hennie's managed to set aside for many years. Thus kicks off Sandra Dallas's new novel, Prayers For Sale; sit back and let the story wash over you as the pages turn themselves.
Hennie's a real character, and a mainstay of the town since she came out seventy years before to marry Jake Comfort, sight unseen. Hennie's lifelong passion has been quilting, and just as she stitches quilts throughout the book, her own story unravels for Nit as she shares it with the lonely young woman. Hennie's figured out quite a bit about people in her long life, but she's still got a few things left to tend to before she leaves her home, and the friendship she develops with the much younger woman is the basis for the flashbacks into Hennie's life. The bond created between the two women is strong; centered around children both have lost, they find they can share each other's burdens over a quilting frame. Hennie doesn't actually offer prayers for sale, however; her prayers are frequent and fervent and she intervenes when necessary.
This is such a delightful tale with such strong, well-written characters that I hated to see it end. I could easily picture Hennie's dry sense of humor and her good will in trying to bring Nit into the town's social circle. In my mind's eye, I could see Hennie telling the stories as she worked over her "piecings", and I felt the same impact from them that Nit was experiencing. The ending is a bit of a surprise--not unwelcome, but surprising nonetheless. I was left smiling, knowing I will hold these dear people with me for a very long time. Highly recommended.