Last week I told you about the new series of books I was reading by author, Lisa Wingate. I discussed the first book, The Sea Glass Sisters, which was written as a prelude to The Prayer Box. A few of the characters are the same but a new woman, running from her past comes upon the scene and her life is forever changed after discovering the prayer boxes.
Have you ever judged a person by the way they looked or what you thought to be true about them? I have always thought that we surely do not know what individuals have been through in their lifetime and why judge them for what may or may not be true? This book unfolds beautifully to teach the reader just that lesson; someone may not be as things appear.
A 91-year old member of the community, Iola Anne, mostly a recluse, has passed away in her home when the new renter of her guest house, finds not only the body but also a collection of letters that weave a beautiful tale of this woman's life. Drawn to reading the letters, Tandi soon realizes that this woman has been judged by others in the community for years and they never realized who she really was, how she got to live in the big house or how her continued support of others anonymously showed her love for a community and people unconditionally no matter what they thought about her.
Tandi is running from her past with her two children and attempting to put her life back together and is hired by the nearby church to clean Iola Anne's old home so she can make a little money to feed her children, but every day Tandi shows up for work, she is drawn once again to those letters. Slowly and steadily Tandi realizes that it is possible to put her life back on track by reading about the struggles and disappointments that Iola Anne faced throughout her lifetime.
All I could think about while reading this book was what a wonderful story of loving and treating others as you would have them treat you. But also a sad story because this elderly member of the community lived alone with her cat inside a huge house. No one understood her, no one came to visit her and the proof of that was the fact that her body was found after a few days of not seeing lights on in her house and her cat roaming around outside. I thought, how sad. We, often times do not take the time to stop and even say hello to someone in the busyness of our lives and what a joy we might be missing from not doing so. Tandi was Iola Annes's renter, she lived on the same property with her and never even spoke to her. After reading her prayer box letters, she was brought to tears not only for how Iola Anne lived all those years but for herself for not being able to talk to this wonderful woman and learn the lessons she had to offer in person.
I would definitely recommend reading this book. I, of course, would say to read "The Sea Glass Sisters" first, not because there is a tremendous amount of information about the main characters in this book but because it is a great "set-up" book for this novel. I believe you will enjoy reading about this woman and the lessons she has to teach through decades of letters written and stored away in her closet. I assure you some will apply to you as well.