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Prayers and lies: A Novel

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When seven-year-old Bethany meets her six-year-old cousin Reana Mae, it''s the beginning of a kinship of misfits that saves both from a bone-deep loneliness. Every summer, Bethany and her family leave Indianapolis for West Virginia''s Coal River Valley. For Bethany''s mother, the trips are a reminder of the coalmines and grinding poverty of her childhood, of a place she''d hoped to escape. But her loving relatives, and Bethany''s friendship with Reana Mae, keep them coming back. But as Bethany grows older, she realizes that life in this small, close-knit community is not as simple as she once thought. . .that the riverside cabins that hold so much of her family''s history also teem with scandalous whispers. . .and that those closest to her harbor unimaginable secrets. Amid the dense woods and quiet beauty of the valley, these secrets are coming to light at last, with a force devastating enough to shatter lives, faith, and the bond that Bethany once thought would last forever. Spanning four decades, Sherri Wood Emmons'' debut is a haunting, captivating novel about the unexpected, sometimes shocking events that thrust us into adulthood--and the connections that keep us tethered, always, to our pasts. Advance praise for Sherri Wood Emmons and Prayers and Lies "From the first sentence, the voice of the narrator, Bethany, rings true and never falters. By the end of the book, I cared for every aunt and cousin, mother and sister, even the most troubled and dangerous. Prayers and Lies is the story of a family that knows how to love and forgive and get on with life." --Drusilla Campbell, author of The Good Sister "Through the careful rendering of this dysfunctional family, Emmons makes us fall in love with Bethany Wylie, the young girl at the heart of this story, as well as her wayward cousin, Reana Mae. The evolution of their friendship--the way they grow together and grow apart--is heart-breaking." --T. Greenwood, author of Two Rivers "Prepare to stay up all night reading! Sherri Wood Emmons perfectly captures the devastating impact of family secrets in her beautifully written--and ultimately hopeful--debut novel. With its evocative setting and realistically crafted characters, Prayers and Lies is a must read for fans of rich family drama." --Diane Chamberlain, author of The Lies We Told "A sweet, revealing tale of family, friendship, long-held secrets and includes the all-important ingredients of forgiveness and love." --Kris Radish, author of The Shortest Distance Between Two Women "I loved it." --Cathy Lamb, author of Such A Pretty Face The Kiss We always knew when Bobby Lee came home. Folks up and down the Coal River Valley heard the roar of his motorcycle on the gravel road long before he tore around the final bend, turning so sharp he lay nearly sideways on the ground. Sometimes he''d be gone weeks at a time, sometimes just a few days. But his homecoming never changed. He rode into the valley like a conquering hero. And Jolene, his wife, would come flying out of their shabby cabin, long red hair streaming behind her, just as Bobby Lee pulled into their little dirt yard. He''d be off the huge bike in a flash as she ran down the two broken and patched steps and into his arms. And then there would be the kiss--scandalous for that rural West Virginia community in the 1960s. We children would stand on our own porches or in the road, gaping at the two of them, our mouths and eyes wide. Usually, Reana Mae was waiting on the porch, too, but Bobby Lee didn''t notice her right off. His wife was such a whirlwind of red curls and short skirts and hunger that their daughter--thin, freckled, and silent--went unnoticed. After the kiss would come gifts, if his haul had been a long one. Sometimes, Bobby Lee drove his rig all the way from Charleston to California, and he brought Jolene and Reana presents from places like Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Usually a toy or coloring book for Reana. For Jolene, he brought clothes--shocking clothes. Like the halter top and hot pants he brought from San Francisco. Or the lime green minidress from Chicago. Jolene strutted around like a peacock in them, while the rest of the valley folk shook their heads and whispered to one another over their fences and laundry lines. Jolene was the first woman in the valley to go braless, her round, full breasts barely contained beneath the tight T-shirts and sweaters she wore. After the gifts and the hellos and the "What''s happenin'' in the world?" talk, Jolene would send Reana Mae off to her greatgrandma''s, then disappear into the house with her husband for the rest of the afternoon. Sometimes, Reana spent the night at her Grandma Loreen''s before Jolene remembered to come for her. Loreen would make up Jolene''s old room, and she''d fry pork chops and boil potatoes with green beans and bacon fat like Reana wanted, and she''d sing her the lullaby she used to sing to her own babies. And so, on those days, Reana Mae got cherished a little bit. Jolene wasn''t from the valley, though her people were. She''d spent most of her childhood up north in Huntington with her mama, EmmaJane Darling. Her father, whoever he might have been, was long gone before Jolene made her appearance at Our Lady of Mercy Charity Hospital in Huntington. Jolene came to live with her grandparents, Ray and Loreen, after EmmaJane died, and she was a handful. But Bobby Lee fell for Jolene the first time he laid his eyes on her, the day she came to the Coal River. She was just twelve years old then, but she looked sixteen in her tight black skirt, low-cut blouse, and bright-red lipstick. And Bobby Lee told his little brother, "I''m gonna marry that girl." Five years later, he did. And don''t you suppose Ray and Loreen were relieved to have Jolene married off? They fairly beamed at the wedding, didn''t even bat an eye when Jolene wore a short blue dress to be married in instead of the nice, long white gown with lace that Loreen had offered to make for her. "At least," my Aunt Belle had whispered, "it ain''t red." They were scandalous, those two, even in a valley that tolerated a good bit of questionable goings-on. Times were hard, after all, and people had to take their happiness when and where they found it. Folks in the valley were philosophical about such things. But Bobby Lee and Jolene Colvin, they pushed it too far by half. They didn''t go to church, for one thing. Everyone else in the valley spent long Sunday mornings at Christ the King Baptist Church, praying for redemption, hearing the true gospel, and assuring their eternal salvation. But not Bobby Lee and Jolene. They sent Reana Mae to church, though, every Sunday morning, scrubbed clean and wearing her one Sunday dress, her spindly legs bare in summer and winter alike. Folks sometimes said Jolene sent her daughter to church just so she could lie abed with Bobby Lee, desecrating the Lord''s Day. And the church folk were sugary sweet to Reana on account of it. But she never even smiled at them; she just stared with her unblinking, green cat-eyes and all those brown freckles. Not a pretty child, folks whispered. Small, knobby, wild- haired, and so quiet you''d hardly notice her, till you felt her eyes staring through you. You couldn''t hardly tell she was Jolene''s daughter, except for those eyes--just like Jolene''s. Reana Mae sometimes sat with my sisters and me at church, and she never wrote notes on the bulletin or whispered or wriggled or pinched. She just sat with her hands folded in her lap and stared up at Brother Harley preaching. Sometimes her lips moved like she was praying, but she never said a word. She didn''t even sing when Miss Lucetta started up a hymn on the piano. Christ the King Baptist Church was the glue that held that community together. The weathered white house of God had married and buried valley folk for longer than anyone could remember. Brother Harley, the pastor, was a heavy-jowled, sweaty, balding man who liked a good joke and a cold beer. When he didn''t wear his black robe, he donned plaid shirts with a breast pocket, where he tucked the white handkerchiefs he used to wipe the sweat from his forehead and neck. His daddy had been the first pastor of Christ the King Baptist Church, and he was hoping his grandson, Harley Boy, would take the pulpit when he retired. Brother Harley was great friends with my Great-Aunt Belle. Often on quiet summer nights, you could hear his belly laugh echo all through the valley when he sat on Belle''s porch, drinking beer and sharing gossip. His tiny, sharp-eyed wife, Ida Louise, didn''t join him at Belle''s. Folks sometimes wondered, quietly over their laundry lines, just why Brother Harley spent so much time with a rich widow and so little time at home. "But"--Loreen would sigh to my mother, her head bob
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9780758253248
9780758267948
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Grouped Work ID5a8af5a2-61a8-5871-4e35-fd7ffe4e2bd5
Grouping Titleprayers and lies
Grouping Authorsherri wood emmons
Grouping Categorybook
Grouping LanguageEnglish (eng)
Last Grouping Update2020-09-22 04:16:55AM
Last Indexed2020-09-21 04:42:20AM
Novelist Primary ISBNnone

Solr Details

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authorEmmons, Sherri Wood.
author_displayEmmons, Sherri Wood
available_at_aacplLinthicum Library
Online OverDrive Collection
collection_aacplADULT
detailed_location_aacplLinthicum Library - Adult Fiction
Online OverDrive Collection
display_descriptionWhen seven-year-old Bethany first meets six-year-old cousin Reana Mae during a yearly family trip to West Virginia's Coal River Valley, it's the beginning of a kinship of misfits that saves both from a bone-deep loneliness. But as Bethany grows older, secrets in the small, close-knit community start coming to light with devastating effect.
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last_indexed2020-09-21T08:42:20.475Z
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local_callnumber_aacplFICTION (E)
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owning_library_aacplAnne Arundel County Public Library
Anne Arundel County Public Library Online
owning_location_aacplLinthicum Library
Online OverDrive Collection
primary_isbn9780758253248
publishDate2011
record_details
Bib IdFormatFormat CategoryEditionLanguagePublisherPublication DatePhysical Description
ils:a747550BookBooksEnglishKensington Books, c2011.312 p. ; 21 cm.
overdrive:09ec1125-4e65-4bf6-b86b-a4b480b6468feBookeBookEnglishKensington2011
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ils:a74755031997080787443On ShelfOn Shelffalsetruetruefalsefalsetrue
overdrive:09ec1125-4e65-4bf6-b86b-a4b480b6468f1Available OnlineAvailable Onlinefalsetruetruefalsefalsetrue
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subject_facetCoal River Watershed (W. Va.) -- Fiction
Families -- Fiction
Secrecy -- Fiction
West Virginia -- Fiction
title_displayPrayers and lies
title_fullPrayers and Lies A Novel
Prayers and lies / Sherri Wood Emmons
title_shortPrayers and lies
title_subA Novel
topic_facetFamilies
Fiction
Literature
Secrecy