Updated: Thursday, 25 Mar 2010, 4:36 PM CDT
Published : Friday, 12 Mar 2010, 5:05 PM CST
Homespun is the word that comes to mind when i think back over this satisfying novel. It is told from the perspective of 86 year old Hennie Comfort. Her story begins in Tennessee just after the close of the Civil War. Grief over the loss of her husband and child prompts Hennie to accept a friend's invitation to relocate to the Colorado frontier.
Life in Middle Swan (Hennie's new home) is harsh and women who thrive in the 'ten mile range' face challenges you and I could not dream of. At the urging of her friend, Hennie has moved to Colorado's high country to marry a miner. The mines were scary, dangerous places; most women prayed just to see their husbands at the end of their long grueling days — many didn't. One day, Hennie's didn't.
Years later a young girl named Nit Spindle passes an old sign posted on a gate saying 'prayers for sale'. Of course Henni's prayers aren't really for sale but the sign serves as a catalyst to conversation and the women's shared experiences decades apart creates an instant bond. During their many hours together over quilting and coffee, the saga of Hennie's life slowly unfolds through the stories she regales to Nit.
Sandra Dallas excels at weaving past into present. She artfully draws the reader into a tale of friendship and hope, hardship and betrayals and ultimately forgiveness and the resiliency of the human spirit. This book celebrates women's lives and runs the gamut from heartache to happiness. It is simply a sweet story. Booklist recommends this title to fans of Lee Smith, Sue Monk Kidd, and Kaye Gibbons. A book club discussion guide is included in the back of the book.
—review by Virginia Kress, The Reader's Loft