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From the #1 New York Times author of Before We Were Yours.
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 Iola’s 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, spanning 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 for Tandi.

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This was a lovely, encouraging, and meaningful story. The last third of the novel was my favorite and the ending was absolutely beautiful. I can't wait to read the next book, The Tidewater Sisters.

“It hurt to read the words of the little girl who’d been sent away, who was alone and afraid that the people who were supposed to love her had instead forgotten about her. It dredged up too many memories, unearthed feelings I didn’t want to remember, scenes from my life that I’d been trying to bury for thirty-three years, pain that was pointless now,” Tandi confides in Lisa Wingate’s novel, The Prayer Box. This Christian contemporary women’s fictional paperback is three hundred and ninety-six pages, targeted toward readers who like pure romance blended in with leaving the past memories and starting over in one’s life. With no profanity or lewd scenes, it could be read by mature teenagers and older ages due to its topics of premarital pregnancy and racism. Secretive single mother of two, Tandi Jo Reese has left her past far behind, buried in painful childhood and adult memories. When she and her fourteen year old daughter and nine year old son rent the cottage on a large run-down estate in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, once again they try to start over and conceal who they really are. After six weeks of renting and behind on her rent, Tandi notices her next door landlord’s cat with one bitten ear and a shepherd’s hook tail wandering around aimlessly. Not seeing any movement in the big Victorian house, Tandi timidly enters the home, only to find ninety-one year old Iola Anne Poole dead in an upstairs bedroom. Since the weathered property has been donated to the nearby church according to Iola’s wishes, Brother Joe asks Tandi to start cleaning out the dilapidated house to offset the rent. When Tandi finds eighty-one creatively decorated boxes stacked in the bedroom closet, she becomes mesmerized in Iola’s past life of heartbreak, hardships and heroism through each boxes’ yearly contents and written letters. The more Tandi correlates her similarities to Iola’s life, the more the hardened, broken young mother softens and comes to terms with her own choices and how she is raising her children. With wrong relationships with men, a daughter who is unhappy, her quiet, shy son and a selfish sister, they are forced to grow and adjust to having someone care about them. Through the tears of broken relationships, sorrows of the past and the new-found friendships of the small town of Fairhope, Wingate does an excellent job honing in on how our past sins can be forgiven and forgotten by God and others. When one can learn from the past and change, she can become hope and help to others in need, especially when trusting and praying to God for His redemption. This book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for review purposes.

I favor books with strong female characters & this book doesn’t have one. Every chapter is from the perspective of the female protagonist, who seems incapable of choosing a kind man for a partner. Her husband was verbally

The Prayer Box is my first book by this author and I loved it! Lisa Wingate is a very talented author. Tandi Reese, and her two children, are living in a cottage, on the property of Iola Anne Poole. Tandi is trying to overcome a difficult past. After finding Iola dead, in her home, Tandi is asked to clean out the house. That's when she discovers the prayer boxes and begins a journey that will change her life. Iola Poole is a complex woman, strong in her faith, who continues helping others, even after her death. The story of her life is inspirational.

I wish I could read this book over and over again! Sometimes it's as if you want to write the words on your heart, stick them in the front of your head, and write them on your hand, so you don't forget them! So poignant! (: