• The Prayer Box

  • A Novel
  • By: Lisa Wingate
  • Narrated by: Xe Sands
  • Length: 9 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (3,119 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

What listeners say about The Prayer Box

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A story that draws you in

Any additional comments?

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.

94 people found this helpful

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Hard to understand

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.

55 people found this helpful

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Great story, But...

I had heard so much about the story. I just couldn't wait to hear it. It really is a wonderful story of redemption, but for me personally, the narration was so difficult to listen to several times I almost gave up listening to it.

The narrator reads at a certain cadence and she never deviates from it so even when she's using her voice to be different people, her pattern is the exact same where she's a little breathy at the end of every sentence and goes up at the same point in every sentence in the book. Again, I loved the story but I will be careful not to purchase anything narrated by Xe Sands.

30 people found this helpful

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Felt like home!

Lisa Wingate describes Hatteras Island with such wonder that I felt like I could reach out and touch it. I felt like I was home in her words and the story was amazing. The narrator did the story such justice!! I'm going to listen again!!

20 people found this helpful

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Narrator did a poor job with most Characters

Other than the main character and her children it was very hard to understand the characters that had accents. She did not do a convincing job with the male characters. She detracted from an otherwise interesting story.

19 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A book for guys? For me it is.

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.

PS
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.

19 people found this helpful

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Beautiful!

What made the experience of listening to The Prayer Box the most enjoyable?

It just kept unfolding with hope. I also thought the narrator was the perfect voice for all the characters, other reviewers had difficulty understanding her but I did not. I actually don't think anyone could have done it more justice.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the whole thing, it was so interesting with so much depth, and so many layers yet it had a gentleness to it. I loved how the family of Tandi went from utter brokenness and hopelessness to hope and later actually healed as a unit and loving and believing in themselves and each other...and of course, the thread of God running throughout.

Which scene was your favorite?

The ending! I never saw that coming!

If you could rename The Prayer Box, what would you call it?

No other title would do.

Any additional comments?

I will definitely be reading more by this author and listening to this narrator. Well done to you both!

15 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Tough sticking with this one

I barely made it past the first two chapters of this book, but I kept thinking it might have some potential, so I pushed on to the end. The basic story concept is good, but it was terribly difficult to like the protagonist until the very end of the story. She abandons her children for hours on end without so much as a note, then she goes off the deep end when she thinks they might’ve been taken by children’s services. She gets her nerve up to escape an abusive relationship, and from all appearances is back in another one within days. She models numerous bad behaviors to her children, then she gets really upset when they do the same things. There is a deep feud with her sister, but we never really know why. The expected “redemption” arrives near the end of the book, but for me, the misery of the rest of the story just wasn’t worth it. The biggest redeeming value was the pearls of wisdom from Iola. The stars are all for her.

The thing that made it the most difficult to stay with for me was the reader. Nearly every word of the book and everything every character said was pronounced as if the person was on the verge of tears. That really started to grate on my nerves after a while. I could forgive the time she erred and made the cat one-eyed, but making all the characters sound so constantly pathetic was a really poor choice. I strongly recommend listening to the sample before buying the book.

13 people found this helpful

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The Prayer Box

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.

7 people found this helpful

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Narrator made it almost impossible to understand

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

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.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

Would you be willing to try another one of Xe Sands’s performances?

NO

Could you see The Prayer Box being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

It would be an interesting movie.

Any additional comments?

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.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Jill
  • 09-08-22

Captivating!

A beautifully narrated story which transports you to a special place. Both storylines past and present are mesmerising such is the mastery of the writer and narrator. This is the second book I have listened too by Lisa Wingate and I know I will be listening to many more....

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-02-20

A beautiful story

I thought this might be another predictable novel but it wasn't. The characters depicted very real situations and lives. There was such hope within such heartache.

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  • Nadia
  • 07-17-18

Depressing

Not sure whether I enjoyed it or not - the readers voice left me feeling depressed - wouldn’t read again

1 person found this helpful

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