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.
You know that feeling that you get when you first start reading a book and you quickly fall in love with the main character? You hang on to their every word and feel the same emotions that they are feeling? That's how it was between me and Bethany Wylie. Bethany and her parents and her three sisters spend every summer on the Coal River in West Virginia. Her parents were born and raised there, and there were numerous aunts, uncles and cousins to visit with. Bethany forms a special bond with one of her cousins when she is seven years old. Reana Mae is six, and they become sisters and soul mates. What transpires over the next four decades between the two of them and their families range from poetic to painful...unimaginable and unbelievable. It had me wondering ~ Could their friendship remain strong?
I was in Wendy's yesterday, eating a salad while reading this book, and my mouth literally dropped open during one chapter. I lost a little lettuce and blue cheese, but I tell you, it was well worth it.
Prayers and Lies made me laugh, cry, and yearn to crawl into the pages to be with Bethany and Reana Mae, to hug them and tell them that everything will be okay.
Sherri Wood Emmons has written a beautiful coming - of - age novel that has now earned a spot in my favorite Top Ten Reads ever. I certainly hope that she is working on her next novel...I'll be waiting for it~
Visit Sherri's website at www.sherriwoodemmons.com