Back of the book:
These things I do, this melody of an ordinary day, keep the hours in order . . . Strange to think. The song of an ordinary life. Mine would be in these letters to you.
When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in Iola’s 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 lessons in faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything.
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.
“Thank you. I wanted to write it on paper and fold it up in a box to remind myself, the next time I couldn’t see anything but mountains ahead, that where there’s a mountain, there’s always a river flowing nearby.
Ultimately the river is the more powerful of the two.” (pg. 176)
“Other people’s judgment doesn’t have any power unless you offer yourself up for trial, so don’t.” (pg. 266)
“Fear builds walls instead of bridges. I want a life of bridges, not walls.” (pg. 291)
“Forgive me, Father, for asking for another day yet, and another beyond that, when this one is so very beautiful. We, in our humanness, cannot help but foolishly desire eternity in this life.” (pg. 341)
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