Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Prayers For Sale"

Sandra Dallas' novels include Tallgrass, The Chili Queen, and New Mercies. She is a former Denver bureau chief for Business Week magazine and lives in Denver, Colorado.

She applied the “Page 69 Test” to Prayers For Sale, her eighth novel, and reported the following:
Hennie, a young Civil War widow, goes to Middle Swan, a mining town high in the Colorado Rockies, to marry Jake Comfort, a man she’s never met. Page 69 sets the tone for the book. Hennie’s life, with the death of her first husband and their child, has been difficult. And brutalized by the war, Jake is a flawed man. On page 69, Jake warns Hennie that marriage to him and life in a gold camp will not be easy. Hennie gets a glimpse of what the next 70 years of her life in Middle Swan will be like.

“War’s a terrible thing. I don’t intend to ever fight again.” His eyes glinted, and he turned away, pounding his fists into a jackpine. Hennie…stood quietly, waiting, until the darkness lifted from Jake. “I’ll not inflict my war on you,” he said.

“Mr. Comfort, I would not want a husband who closed himself off to me.”

“War’s not something to be shared.”

“War’s griefs are.”

“I said I’ll keep my dreams to myself…”

A day later, he warned Hennie, “A mining camp’s a hard place for a woman.”

“I’ve come from a hard place for a woman,” Hennie responded. “At least in a mining camp, there’s hope.”

On page 70, Jake proposes and they are married that day. "It was a fine marriage, as good a marriage as ever was, and Hennie never regretted coming to Colorado."
Read an excerpt from Prayers For Sale, and learn more about the book and author at Sandra Dallas' website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue