Prayers for Sale
by Sandra Dallas
St. Martin's Griffin
It’s 1936 and the Great Depression has taken its toll in the high country of the snow-covered Rocky Mountains.
Two women, one as old as the other is young, form an unlikely friendship --- one in which the deepest of hardships are shared and the darkest of secrets are confessed over the making of a quilt. Combining the raw brutality of gold mining with the comforts of home craftsmanship, Sandra Dallas has pieced together a novel that goes to the heart of the American experience.
A journey through love and sorrow, forgiveness and redemption, Prayers for Sale is ultimately a revelation of the finest parts of the human spirit --- and a novel no reader will soon forget.
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1. Hennie Comfort’s sign outside her house says “Prayers for Sale” and yet she doesn’t sell
prayers. Why does Hennie keep the sign?
2. As Hennie begins her story for Nit, she says, “Back then, I wasn’t Hennie Comfort. In
those days, I was called by the name of Ila Mae Stubbs.” What else has changed about
Hennie from her teenaged self to her 86-year-old self? More importantly, what
has stayed the same?
3. One of the themes of this book is surviving the “unsurvivable.” What would you
4. Another theme is forgiveness. Is there ever a time when forgiveness isn’t possible? Can
you relate to the way Hennie forgives at the end of the book --- and who she forgives? In
Hennie’s shoes, would you have forgiven? Would Hennie’s life have been different if she
had forgiven earlier?
5. What are some of the qualities you see in the women of Middle Swan that help them
survive life there? What is the most important quality?
6. Maudie Sarsfield says, “Quilting keeps me from going queer,” meaning “insane.” Why
would this be so? What is the significance of Maudie adding her initials to her quilts?
And what role do quilts and quilting play in the lives of the characters?
7. What is the most tragic aspect of Maudie’s life?
8. What is the most important lesson Hennie teaches Nit Spindle?
9. Is it ever too late to find true love? How do you define true love?
10. Discuss the phrase “deep enough.” What does it means in the story? What would it
mean to you in your own life?
11. Middle Swan is a cold, harsh town. What makes Hennie love it, and why has she stayed
all these years? What draws people together in such an environment?
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