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Customer Reviews for Tyndale House The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1

Tyndale House The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1

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, spa...

Average Customer Rating:
4.76 out of 5
4.8
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24 out of 2596%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
Review 1 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
This review is fromThe Prayer Box.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great characters!

Date:March 31, 2014
Customer Avatar
Bookworm
Age:25-34
Tandi Jo Reese has a disturbed, disheveled life, but it is reshaped after finding the prayer boxes of left behind from her landlord, Iola Toole. Everyone has gone through troubled times and searched for a way out--which is what makes this book so easy to relate to.
The Characters have such depth that they feel like neighbors. Lisa Wingate has a great gift of storytelling and sharing aspects of life--both ordinary and extraordinary--that paint such a strong picture that the reader feels like they've been there, experienced the events, etc...
This story is inspirational, stimulating and emotive. Loved it.
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Review 2 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
This review is fromThe Prayer Box.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Yes You Can Go Home Again!

Date:March 28, 2014
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Teresa M
Location:West Columbia, SC
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Tandi Jo Reese made the decision to come to Hatteras Island to get away from a past that holds horrible memories; she has come back to the one place that holds the few precious memories from her abusive childhood. Now she needs to find a job so she can buy food and pay the rent on the little cottage that her landlady, Iola Anne Poole, owns.
Tandi and her kids had been living in the cottage for six weeks when she decided to check on Iola. Tandi knew the moment she stepped on the porch that the one thing most everyone fears had come and taken the ninety one year old away. Finding the door unlocked Tandi hesitantly enters hoping beyond hope to find the tiny lady well, but it wasn't to be. When the minister of music from Fairhope Fellowship Church drops by and offers Tandi the job of cleaning out Iola's house in exchange for the rent on the cottage, she agrees never dreaming the treasures she would discover inside that beautiful old Victorian House.
Having heard a few vicious rumors about Iola, Tandi is anxious to learn more about her and she wishes she had taken the time to get to know her before she passed. When Tandi arrives to clean the house it seems as though something is drawing her back to the room where she found Iola, lying peacefully on the antique wedding quilt. What Tandi finds is a lifetime of memories enclosed in beautifully decorated boxes. There she is introduced to a little girl, who like herself had a troublesome childhood and there Tandi will find the love of a Father who has been waiting for her to come home.
What an enjoyable read this was, Tandi was a character with a lot of flaws but also one that tugged at your heart. It was so rewarding to see the turn her life took after realizing who Iola's true Father was. The winding path this book leads you on to the satisfying conclusion was quite surprising. This is the first book I have read by Lisa and I know it won't be the last; in fact I liked this one so much I look forward to reading it again.
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Review 3 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Great Read

Date:February 8, 2014
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Wilani
Location:Franklin, NC
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The Prayer Box is well written and has a moving story both in the past of a lady who had a close walk with the Lord and that even after her death, her life was a great help to others in pointing them to God. Also a story in the present of a lady with a troubled childhood and past that finds hope and peace because of the prayer boxes she found in an old house on the Outer Banks. I loved this book and want to read more.
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Review 4 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Minister to others where you are

Date:January 13, 2014
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CFAM4
Location:Georgia
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This story was a little sad to me because it opens with the death of an older woman that no one seems to miss. However, the story was a great illustration of ministering to others regardless of where you are or your circumstances. I was inspired by the story and enjoyed it.
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Review 5 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:January 11, 2014
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nomer15
Gender:female
"The Prayer Box" by Lisa Wingate tells the story of Tandi Reese who is escaping from her abusive husband. In an attempt to disappear, she heads to the tiny community of Fairhope on Hattaras Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. After finding her elderly landlady, Iola Anne Poole, deceased in her home, Tandi finds herself commissioned with the task of cleaning out Iola Anne's beautiful old Victorian home. In the midst of her cleaning, Tandi stumbles upon the first of many prayer boxes, each box containing prayers written by Iola Anne, starting from the time she was a young girl. Reading the prayers helps Tandi piece together fragments of Iola Anne's life and helps bring healing to her own troubled past and present.
This book was the second Lisa Wingate novel that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The main characters had great depth and I loved the slow transformation of Tandi throughout the story. Overall, it was a great story. Faith themes were more subtly woven through the story, which was a nice change from some other Christian fiction novels available. A discussion guide at the back of the book lends itself nicely for use in a book club.
(I’ve received this complimentary book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)
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Review 6 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Inspiring book.

Date:December 30, 2013
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Texas girl
Location:Texas
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Like the pieces of stained glass art created by the characters in the book, Lisa Wingate writes a compelling story about broken lives restored to beauty through love, forgiveness, prayer and God's grace. She shows us that it is possible to break generational lifestyles and become the person God has designed one to be. It's a story of changed lives through the power of friendship, encouragement, community and truth as letters from the past speak new life into Tandi. I've read every book of Lisa's since "Texas Cooking". Whether she's writing about the Texas Hill Country, the Suburbs of Dallas, the Mid-West or the Outer Banks, she captures the unique qualities of each one and makes me want to go there.
I've bought and am using my prayer box!
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Review 7 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
This review is fromThe Prayer Box.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Superbly written

Date:February 11, 2014
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Cindi
Location:Pennsylvania
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
What a wonderful novel. I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed it.
The characters were true-to-life and had flaws that we can relate to. Tandi has been through so much and her lack of self-esteem is the result. Running away from her past is one more struggle that she has to endure. Can she make a new start on Hatteras Island?
Iola Anne Poole was a mysterious woman that kept to herself during her later years in life. Tandi finds Iola passed away in her home next to the cottage she rents from her. There are so many mysteries. When Tandi is left to sort through Iola's belongings will it create more questions? Will Tandi be able to find hope through what she discovers?
This is the first book, written by Lisa Windgate, that I've read. I am happy to have found another author to add to my list of favorites.
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Review 8 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
This review is fromThe Prayer Box - eBook.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 21, 2013
Customer Avatar
debwilson
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Iola Anne Poole has led a rich, long, vibrant life. She has had hopes fulfilled, dreams that have come to life, as well as disappointments known to everyone of the human race. She lived in a large Victorian style house on Hatteras Island, and she has left behind a legacy most of us can only dream of. The complex but unassuming woman has lived a lifetime of faith, and she leaves her story behind on pieces of paper, carefully tucked away in beautiful boxes.
Tandi Jo Reese finds herself commissioned with the task of cleaning out her landlady's home. She discovers eighty-one decorated boxes, one for every year since Iola was a young girl. Drawn to the scraps of paper, Tandi finds all the fears, hopes, thoughts, and dreams in the form of prayers from one woman that span over eight decades. Compelled to read Iola's story, Tandi temporarily puts aside her dangerous past with all the baggage, and discovers something that will change everything. Will she have the courage to live as Iola did? Or will Tandi succumb to the past?
This is exactly the different kind of story that Christian Fiction so desperately needs. You feel Tandi's pain of the past, and will find yourself completely absorbed in Iola's story. As bits of Iola's story were revealed through Tandi as she goes through the many boxes; I felt as if I was right there alongside her, making new discoveries and changing how I saw things as I read about Iola's life. It's the kind of book that makes you feel as if you are the main character, and you just can't wait to see what will happen next. An important book for everyone's must-read list, The Prayer Box is not to be missed.
This book was provided by Tyndale Publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 9 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
This review is fromThe Prayer Box.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Unconditional love

Date:November 7, 2013
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Shai
Location:Norfolk, NE
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The Prayer Box was such a phenomenal read that I had to put it down periodically just to pray. The story of a single mom trying to find a new beginning and healing will bring tears of joy, sorrow and revelation to the reader. When Tandi finds herself trying desperately to start a new beginning, she is drawn to the letters of an old woman she’s never known. The letters speak directly to God and in them, Tandi finds counseling for her own issues. The unconditional love she has never known, suddenly comes through Christians all around her who demonstrate what love should look like. Tandi and her children find a place of healing, purpose and a bright new future. This book is a must read!
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Review 10 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Well written and engaging book

Date:September 23, 2013
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Joan K. Landis
Location:Perkiomenville, PA
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I will not retell the story Lisa Wingate has so beautifuly written. I so appreciate Lisa's talent in portraying believable and well developed characters. This is an emotional journey and well worth your time and effort. Great job Lisa. Loved every momemt spent with your creation.
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Review 11 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
This review is fromThe Prayer Box.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Recommended!!!

Date:October 30, 2013
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S Scales
Location:Texas
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Tandi, a single mom with two kids, is untrusting and broke yet trying to figure out how to truly live. She ends up at Hatteras Island - the only place of which she has any good memories. How does she earn a living in a small community rebuilding after a recent hurricane? More importantly, is it possible to repair the damage done to her relationships with kids, especially her daughter, because of the years of neglect, drug abuse and prioritizing relationships with controlling men over them? She is able to rent a small cottage from Iola, a 91 years old lady who then dies alone in her Victorian house. There is some dislike toward Iola from the other residents of the Hatteras Island, so Tandi ends up with the job of cleaning up the large house. She is glad to have a job, but totally unprepared for what she finds - Iola’s prayer boxes. These collection of prayers - this written conversation through Iola’s life and cries of her heart to her Father - opens up the mysteries surrounding Iola. Tandi’s walls around her heart are slowly chipped away as she consumes these prayers. She then is needed to reveal how much Iola was truly a part of this community and a blessing to so many.
The Prayer Box is beautifully written by Lisa Wingate. The characters were real and honest - some I just wanted to envelop in a big hug, while others just needed a kick in the rump, but that’s life, right!?! The setting and the recent hurricane added their own challenges and benefits to the story.
It is a book that touched my heart and I know will touch yours.
(I read The Sea Glass Sisters: Novella Prelude to The Prayer Box. It was fun to see more back stories of some of the characters, but it is not necessary to understand The Prayer Box.)
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The Prayer Box from Tyndale House Publishers. It was not required that I give a positive review, but to solely express my own thoughts and opinions.
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Review 12 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

more like 3.5 but close enough to round up

Date:September 8, 2013
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Michelle Sutton
Location:Arizona
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
I have mixed feelings about this book. Some parts were riveting and I identified with the heroine, Tandi. Other times the book seemed to drag a bit and I found myself skimming. It's definitely women's fiction and not a romance. I don't mind stories where there are things tied to the past. I remember going to an attic once when a friend of my parents bought an old Victorian house and finding a lot of cool stuff in there from the 1800s. That part of the story was good. I also liked the interaction between her and the new friend who had terrible fashion sense. He wasn't the type of guy she went for, but was a good friend. It's probably the only healthy relationship she had.
I found it interesting that in some ways her childhood repeated itself. Her daughter seemed frustrated with her absence just like she was frustrated as a child by her mother constantly abandoning her to go out and have a good time. Her childhood seemed pretty tragic. I didn't care for her sister or the man Tandi was dating, Ross. He seemed pretty stuck on himself and manipulative, just like the guy she married before, only not as severe. Anyway, some parts of the story were riveting and others, not so much. The pace is slower than I usually read, but the author has a great writing voice and fabulous skills with word usage. People who tend to enjoy women's fiction will love this book.
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Review 13 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:August 31, 2013
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Rosie
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
A compelling, heartfelt, story!
It's safe to say I have not read a book like this one ever before, and I mean that in the best way possible. Wingate shares with us two stories separated by time. She artfully weaves Iola Anne's story into Tandi's in an intriguing way that pulled me deeper within the pages. The use of letters and a prayer box is such a beautiful concept!
Before I ramble about Tandi, I want to focus on Iola for a moment. This woman is amazing, generous, and compassionate. Her heart is so big. She doesn't even judge or feel any kind of bitterness toward her neighbors for how they treat her. That is simply amazing. People like Iola in real life are few and far between. We as readers need to learn from this wonderful fictional lady.
As for Tandi... Wow. She's been through so much. She has this strength within her, that she doesn't realize is there. Her life is truly messed up, but as she meets her landlady, through her landlady's prayer boxes, she is slowly transformed from the inside out. I don't want to spill too much, but I like watching positive actions get positive results.
To conclude, The Prayer Box fell short of my expectations by a small amount. I requested this book without realizing it is geared for women a generation older than I. Nonetheless, I found it a good read and Wingate's writing is up to par in her latest release.
I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!
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Review 14 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

The Prayer Box is Poetry on a Page!

Date:August 25, 2013
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Wanda
Location:NC
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Favorite Excerpt:
Dearest Father,
Forgive me for not coming to this sooner, this writing to you.Time goes by in the storm-washed days, unpredictable moment to moment, a pouring in and then a washing away. The ocean is calm today, beautiful, sunlit, and placid all around. How difficult to imagine that it has rushed ashore, washed through buildings and cars, and wrestled boasts loose from their mooring lines. But what is left behind tells the tale. Trees down in the yard, mud against the pilings, and driftwood lining the nearby. On television, the news of businees destroyed and families waiting in line at the Salvation Army canteen trucks. Camping trailers prostrate in the surf, beached like the carcasses of great whales. Rubble on curbs. Houses that sit dark at night. No lights. No air. No families.
Yet amid all this, there is the water of grace. It flows in all directions, seeping into the hidden crevices, the darkest spaces. It comes with the stranger who rows by in a kayak when the water is yet high. "Just checking. Do you need anything?" he asks. The grace water moves in meals from hand to hand, in blankets, in trucks filled with supplies, in young men wearing military uniforms, in old men carrying chain saws, in lamp oil and candles. Light passed from hand to hand.
The water of grace. A sponge to thirsty lips. A trickle and then a flood.
Hope.
The rivers moves a mountain stone by stone, slowly widening it's path, flowing over each of us, cutting into each of us, washing through the places that are hard, that would seperate us from one another, from you among us and withinus.
After the storm, all are equal. All wanting. All needing. All in need of the water of grace from one another and from you.
I think of these things, and the tides are multiplied. They flow over me, stronger and more potent than the tides of destruction. The debris of anger, of desperation, seeps away, little by little. A tiny stone and then another. A mountain moving. Moved by all that is right.
There is so much good. So much grace. So much pouring into the river. A quiet water, this river of grace. Its work done in ways that do not seek attention. Yet it is there. Always there.
A shrimp boat rests in a parking lot not far away. You have seen this, of course. Such a strange thing. I would ask your help for the shrimper. His home is lost. There is a family to feed, the humiliation of moving children to a public shelter, meals taken from a canteen truck. The starting of a new school year, the holidays just months away, and they have nothing.
You know this man, I am certain, as you know each of us. You are always mindful.
And then I wonder, am I to think of a way to aid this neighbor? Is this why I have seen him today? Can these tired old hands still cup the water, pour it out? This old body that creaks and groans with small efforst, can it yet serve?
I think to myself,What can I do?
Then I look at this bit of paper, the one I have grabbed up because it was close at hand when I set about writing to you. I run a finger over the margins, touch the printed images. What does a lighthouse do?I ask myself. It never moves. It cannot hike up its rocky skirt and dash into the ocean to rescue the floundering ship. It cannot calm the waters or clear the shoals.
It can only cast light into the darkness. It can only point the way.
Yet, through one lighthouse, you guide many ships.
Show this old lighthouse the way.
Your loving daughter,
Iola Anne
Synopsis:
Tandi Jo Reese was running. Running from a controlling husband and a dangerous past. Running from an addiction to pain killers. She's also running from a broken past, a father who was an alcoholic and a family life that left nothing to be desired. Odd how she winds back up on Hatteras Island, the place where it all began, the place of her youth. Tandi felt drawn to the Island for reasons she couldn't explain. Moving into the cottage house of Iola Anne Poole was just the beginning of a new life for her and her two kids. When Iola dies suddenly, Tandi is given the option of living rent free in exchange for cleaning out Iola's stately old mansion and she quickly agrees. When she finds 81 prayer boxes in the closet of the "Blue Room" she realizes she's not just on a mission, but a life's journey. As the life of Iola Anne Poole unfolds, Tandi's life begins to change. With the help of Paul Chastain, a teacher at the local school, she sets out to prove something to the people of the Island. Can she find the life she's always wanted hidden in the pages of those old letters? Can she find true love amidst the storm?
I loved Tandi Jo's character. She had been dealt a hard life with nothing ever turning out the way she had hoped. Memories from the past gave her the mindset that no one could ever really love her. But she was a fighter and when she got knocked down she always came up swinging. She was determined not to let the things in life beat her down. She was a strong woman that had simply made some bad choices but when Iola's letters started taking root in her soul she was like a flower opening up to the sun. She was at her best, I think, in difficult situations and I admired her determination.
Paul Chastain was my idea of a true hero. He sat quietly on the outskirts until he was needed. But, when he was needed, he rose to the occassion. He was a very caring and sensitive man and he always seemed to know what Tandi needed the most. He never tore her down but, instead, always built her up. He was her very own champion, always rooting for her on the sidelines. I think I fell in love just a little with his character.
The Prayer Box is such a beautiful yet heart-wrenching story. A tears-rolling-down-your-face story but, at the same time, it is filled with hope, love, faith. A story that really speaks to your soul. Lisa Wingate's descriptions are so vivid you feel like you're a part of the story. Iola's letters to her Heavenly Father are like poetry on a page and showcase Lisa's God-given gift of writing. It is a story that I will read several times over. If you liked The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright you will love this book. I recommend it VERY HIGHLY!
**This book was provided free by the publisher for my honest opinion**
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Review 15 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:August 25, 2013
When we are young we are subject to the decisions of our parents. As we grow older we are responsible for our own choices. Many times however we fall into the trap of doing what we know. That is the plight of Tandy Jo Reese. She's grown up with completely dysfunctional parents and ultimately wound up in the foster care system. Things began looking up for her but she continually reverts to doing what she has grown up learning.
We pick up the story at the point where she has escaped with her two children from an abusive relationship. She has come to Hatteras Island to start over but starting over isn't always the easiest. At the beginning of the story I just did not like Tandy. She's a terribly negligent mother just like her own mother. Then Providence intervenes in the form of an old lady dying and a house needing cleaned out.
Iola Anne Poole has lead a quietly faithful life in her family's home on Hatteras Island. Upon her death her home begins to divulge her secrets to Tandy and that is what begins to make the difference to Tandy and eventually her children.
This is a beautifully written story about the power of grace, both given and received. One faithfully lived life can and does impact those around them in ways that go beyond what is visible. The power of the prayers of one person can reach and impact so many people. You will walk away from this novel pondering how your life impacts others now and how it will influence generations to come.
On a side note there is a secondary story of sorts going on over at the Seashell Shop. Treat yourself to the full story by reading the prequel, The Sea Glass Sisters: Prelude to the Prayer Box. It is available as an ebook for all the popular devices.
A book was provided to facilitate this review.
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Review 16 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

This book really makes your think about your life.

Date:August 23, 2013
Customer Avatar
worleybird98
Location:Hudson, Ohio
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Lisa Wingate is an amazing author. I almost dread seeing a new release, as I know that once I pick up the book I just can't put it down, and this is no exception! The general story line is good, about a woman and her two children that escape to the Outer Banks to leave addiction and abuse behind. But what is really remarkable about this book is how as the main character starts to find her own footing in life, each step makes you think and contemplate your own life and how you are living it. This book made me really think about my life, my faith, and how I help (or don't help) others. And I'm sorry, but the ending made me cry, and any writer that can bring a reader to tears obviously knows their stuff! So hurry up and add this book to your shelf - I've got to go out and start decorating my own prayer box!
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Review 17 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

One Word - Extraordinary

Date:August 22, 2013
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Peaches
Location:Colorado
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
When Iola Anne, a ninety-one year old woman, passes away in her sleep, a struggling young mother and newcomer to Hatteras Island finds herself in charge of cleaning and organizing the elderly woman's home. At first Tandi thinks it's just a job to get a little extra money, but soon it turns into more. The minute Tandi steps unto Iola Anne's home she begins an amazing journey, a journey that will change her life. Tandi comes across several prayer boxes from Iola Anne's life. Drawn to the boxes and letters inside, Tandi begins to learn a great deal about this precious lady and herself.
Always good at fleeing the past, Tandi soon realizes she can't keep running and it's time to face her fears and struggles head on. "You can't run from the past. You have to take it for what it is and realize it's part of you." Tandi begins to learn about faith, love, hope, and the sweet possibilities of opening herself up to the Lord.
One word - extraordinary! This book was truly remarkable and a delight to read. At first I was hesitant about starting it because, in all honesty, I thought it would be slow and maybe a little boring. Now I am ashamed to say I even thought that of sweet author Lisa Wingate. She did an incredible job writing this book and totally captured my attention- I could not put the book down! The story of deceased Iola Anne is precious; she's the kind of character you can look up to and admire. You can't help but love Tandi and feel compassion for her as she struggles with being a mother and just life in general. Lisa Wingate weaves together the lives of these two ladies in such a way that will leave you smiling and crying tears of joy at the same time. I highly recommend this book! You will not regret reading it.
I was given a free copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
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Review 18 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Two Women find their True North in God's Grace

Date:August 19, 2013
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True North
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
THE PRAYER BOX
By Lisa Wingate
Since she was a little girl, Tandi Jo Reese let everyone walk away with little pieces of her. Her mother took pieces, her father took pieces, and her sister Gina took pieces. Tandi even let men take pieces of her. Except for fond childhood memories of spending time with her grandfather on the islands of the Outer Banks in North Carolina, Tandi wondered if there was anything left of her self-worth. Running from a dangerous relationship in Texas, Tandi snuck away with her young son and teenage daughter, and drove towards the place where all of her good memories remained. With only a few dollars in her pocket, Tandi and her family landed on Hatteras Island in Iola Anne Poole’s rental cottage. At that point in her life, Tandi was as hardened as a barnacle on the bottom of a ship.
Iola Anne Poole was the creole daughter of a black slave and the white son of a wealthy shipping magnate in New Orleans. She was never recognized by her father or grandfather, but Iola Anne inherited all their wealth, including the house and cottage on Hatteras Island. Time and again, Iola was rejected because of her mixed race. Iola eventually ran to Hatteras because it held fond memories for her. As the years passed, the roof of the landmark house deteriorated because of the brutal coastal weather. In her final days, old Iola Anne schlepped heavy rain buckets back and forth to keep the rain from causing further damage. Iola had no money for repairs because she secretly gave it all away to hurting Island residents. Iola Anne even willed her house to the church next door.
When Iola died, the church put Tandi in charge of cleaning out the house. That was how Tandi discovered that Iola Anne was all alone in the world. Tandi discovered that Iola wrote intimate personal letters to God, her true Father. Iola preserved the letters in beautifully decorated prayer boxes. The prayer boxes lined her bedroom closet. Decades of prayers were written on scraps and stuffed into eighty-one prayer boxes. Iola reflected the light of God by praying and by giving.
Out in the world, Tandi struggled to become the person that the folks in the Outer Banks think she is. She befriended a souvenir shop merchant and her sister. Together, they provided loyal friendship, support, and protection for Tandi and her family.
Inside the comfort of Iola’s house, Tandi found God’s grace for her life in Iola’s prayer boxes. Tandi read every one of Iola’s prayers. Tandi was especially perplexed by Iola’s prayers for the mysterious Mulberry Girl. Tandi was surprised to discover that Iola was struggling to find her True North (it’s in there!). Iola, too, struggled to make sense of her life. In her prayers, Iola compared her life to a lighthouse that never moved. Reading the last of Iola’s letters, Tandi understood that God showed Iola the way to True North by casting her light of generosity on the Island people. Because of Iola, Tandi finds her True North as well, by making known Iola’s secret benevolence and thereby preserving Iola’s landmark house for the people of Hatteras Island. Tandi even discovered that she is the Mulberry Girl that Iola had been praying for for so many years. Tandi was connected to Iola, after all.
This is a beautiful story of how the lives of two women from different backgrounds connect in a most unusual way. It is also a story that demonstrates God’s grace. Lisa Wingate is a great writer. The Prayer Box is so well-written that the story immediately took me to that comfortable little reading room in my head. The transfer of the written words from my eyes to my brain was effortless. The word combinations that Lisa Wingate used to piece this story together are outstandingly descriptive and beautiful. When reading is this effortless, as it was in this book, the author quickly becomes one of my new favorite writers. When I discover a new favorite writer, I want to go out and read every book written by her. Thank God that Lisa Wingate has written many books!
Copyright 2013 True North Book Review. All Rights Reserved.
Tyndale House Publishers has provided True North Book Review with a complimentary copy for review.
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Review 19 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Compelling Women's Fiction

Date:August 17, 2013
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Casey
Location:Oregon
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
One generation should teach the next. Sometimes that teaching isn’t done in the traditional form of speaking and sometimes those words come to us in the form of letters never immediately intended to affect our lives.
Words are so powerful. I’m constantly in awe of the potency they can have echoing down through the ages. Tandi has so much growing up to do in “The Prayer Box”. I couldn’t help but be a bit frustrated with her at times, but to watch her mature and change into the woman she is called to be was a great part of the story. Done with subtlety and yet depth so you couldn’t help but watch her blossom and deepen.
I really loved the letters shared throughout the entire book. It was the strong reason I choose to review the book and they didn’t disappoint. They add a dimension to the story that takes the reader from the past to the present and back again.
Characters are compelling and interesting and the story flows with a sense of interest for this reader. If anything, the story itself might have been a bit drawn out and overlong, but the telling in and of itself is enjoyable and fulfilling.
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.
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Review 20 for The Prayer Box, Prayer Box Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Story Based on a Beautiful Idea

Date:August 16, 2013
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Anonymous
Location:Columbus, GA
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Tandi Jo Reese has no idea that she’s made a life-changing discovery when she finds a closet full of mysterious boxes full of letters to her former landlord’s Father. Unable to resist, Tandi starts reading the letters, though she’s really been hired to clean the house that was left to the church next-door after her landlord’s death. When Tandi realizes that the letters are really prayers and that there’s one box full of them for every year of Iola Anne Poole’s life from her tenth year on, Tandi becomes protective of the letters—and even more determined to read them all.
At the same time, Tandi is trying to make a new life for herself and her two children, a life that she hopes will begin in the happiest place she ever knew as a child. Visiting with her grandparents on Hatteras Island was the one bright spot in her troubled life. She moves to the island because she longs for a stable refuge.
Though the story is contemporary, Iola’s story is woven throughout (as Tandi reads the letters), giving readers a sense of history—and the fun of two stories running parallel. As Tandi makes discoveries about the kind of woman Iola Anne Poole was, she also makes decisions about the kind of woman she wants to be—especially as she learns she has a choice! Iola’s past and other people’s opinions of her did not define her; Tandi fights to make this true for her life as well, in spite of opposition from people who'd rather she not change.
Tyndale House Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of "The Prayer Box" for my honest review. I am so thankful I got to read it. I recommend it to you.
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