A young woman, an old woman, and the story of a lifetime…
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 the 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 everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, dating from Iola's youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper - the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life, filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything.
©2013 Lisa Wingate (P)2013 Blackstone Audio
I have to state up front that I had trouble understanding the narrator for this book. She had such a whispering, emotionally filled voice that at times I could not decipher what she was saying. I kept stopping and thinking that I would give up and return the book but the story just kept drawing me back. The message was positive, the characters well developed and believable and in the end I was won over. The themes of rebuilding and self discovery were strong. I'm glad I stuck with it and finished the book--the story was worth it and to me that's what really matters.
This is a book about a woman who has been weak and used for most of her life - but not all. She had a baby when young and kept it. She tried to be the country club wife to a Texas jerk and when she fled him ... but she didn't have the sense to bring along enough money to support her two children. She left her kids home alone way too often seeking pleasure / the good life. Not my favorite back story. [I say this as a guy who stayed home with 2 kids for 5 years. It isn't easy. But, looking back, those were 5 wonderful years.]
She flees to Cape Hatteras. She finds the gumption do get work as a handywoman. What she discovers is what all of us - guys and gals -- want to find. The power of a few strong grandmother-age women. Her boss and friends, her "landlady." They help her find some pride in herself.
Neither man in the story (the bad boy surfer boyfriend and the good boy school teacher) are fully developed. We never do learn what motivates them Without the power of a central idea I would not have kept listening.
What is that idea? Well, I would not buy this book looking for a love story; it isn't. If you want one, see almost any of the books by Charles Martin.
So, what is the idea for which I give this book 5 stars? I won't spoil it except to say that I am in awe of the woman who grew the prayer box(es) over a lifetime well spent. Her story is intriguing, moving and Ms. Wingate makes it feel real. I wish I knew her.
I agree with most of the negative things said about the narrator's inability to speak clearly except ... I do like her voice. If she can learn to convey soft sentences without whispering inaudibly ... she could be better than average. Not Amanda Roconi but worth listening to.
Really enjoyed it
Iola because of her depth of character and her interesting life.
friendly, expressive, comforting
I would take out Iola or Tandy to get to know them better. To see the expressions on their faces as they spoke.
At the beginning of the story I wasn't sure I was going to like it but then I was drawn in and couldn't put it down. I thought the story was thought provoking, enlightening and inspirational. The narrator expressed emotion very well with her voice. My only problem was that the narrator's voice was not always clear and easy to understand, especially when she was Iola's voice, which was a problem. I didn't want to miss a word! I don't think it was her fault but the recording.
Captured my attn & kept it. Lovely story w/ well developed characters that you can't help but love. Inspires prayer and lifts your spirits.
Excellent! This book was a surprise to me. I discovered it on the public library website and found that Audible had the audiobook. There were volatile situations which were handled with the utmost tact, giving all the descriptive evidence of the situation without gravitating toward lasciviousness or profanity. The ending was superb (in my opinion). This book is well worth the credit.
I'm so hooked on Audible.
I want to start with the the narrator, Xe Sands. She was the perfect voice for this story. I listened to this story from speakers and ear bud's and I never had a problem understanding her. This is a story of a town on a beach and a woman from her childhood to old age. To top it off, her life started in New Orleans when an entire country was trying to recover from slavery mind-frame. A raspy comfortable voice is exactly what this story needed. I loved how she interpreted each and every character. This is a story that I will listen to many times over.
I loved that Lisa was able to weave a story about the power of a simple prayer box into something so beautiful.
This was a beautiful story of how one woman can quietly move the history of a town that she loved only because it was the right thing to do. I'm so glad Lisa was able to bring this story full circle back to Tandi and give her the courage to do the same. BEAUTIFUL!
There were times that the narration was hard to understand. I appreciate the narrator trying to make each character authentic and different but there were huge sections that were just incomprehensible.
The characters were all believable and well developed. The storylines were interesting and well written... I really enjoyed Iola's stories in the prayer boxes and how it all came together.
I loved listening to both stories develop. Lisa did a great job with Iola's past and Tandi's situation. This was one of the best books I've listened to in awhile!
Xe Sands is one of my least favorite narrators. There is something in her voice, at the end of her sentences, that irritates the heck out of me...like a note of "poor pitiful me"...I've listened to her before and I knew the moment she started talking that I was going to have to endure that voice again...
Linda, avid listener
The book itself was very enjoyable. Just don't listen to it. Buy the book. Doesn't anyone preview a narrator to see if they can be understood? I almost stopped listening within the first few minutes. I couldn't understand what was being said. It was even worse when the narrator used a southern accent for a couple of the characters. I turned up the volume and hit rewind a number of times to hear what had been said. I really wanted to hear the story, so I endured it to the end.
The setting was interesting, taking place on an island in the Outer Banks of Florida. The plot and characters were engaging. You learned about a character through the letters she wrote to God. The book had a number of really good messages. I enjoyed the book, in spite of the narration.
It would be an interesting movie.
The book showed the comparison of a controlling person in relationships, and normal relationships. It showed the kinds of hurts women have in their lives that make them the target of controlling abusers. Abusers know the type of women that will allow the control in the relationship, instead of walking away immediately. Great job, Lisa.
I'm not the kind of person who re-reads books very often, but I recently read The Prayer Box on my Kindle, and it touched me so much that I wanted to read it again. I decided to add the narration to listen to while in the car. I normally preview the narrator prior to purchasing an audiobook, but I was preparing to go on a road trip and hurriedly purchased this audiobook at the last minute before taking a sample listen, and that impulsive purchase was a mistake. The narrator's voice, style of reading, and fake Texas accent were very distracting, and I didn't think the personality portrayed by the narrator's voice matched the main character's personality at all.
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