Some storms bring destruction. Others bring salvation.In 1934 the tiny town of Barmy, Oklahoma, is in desperate need of a miracle. The cows are hungry, the rain won’t fall, most of Main Street is boarded up. Young aspiring trapeze artist Sugar Watson is dumped unceremoniously into this bleak setting with little money and only one thing on her mind—escape. Beulah Clinton, aSome storms bring destruction. Others bring salvation.In 1934 the tiny town of Barmy, Oklahoma, is in desperate need of a miracle. The cows are hungry, the rain won’t fall, most of Main Street is boarded up. Young aspiring trapeze artist Sugar Watson is dumped unceremoniously into this bleak setting with little money and only one thing on her mind—escape. Beulah Clinton, a Holy Ghost preacher, has dedicated herself to helping the distressed in this ragged little wasteland, and Sugar soon finds herself thrown in with Marigold Lawford, the simple-minded widow of the richest man in town, and Homer Guppy, a boy trouble follows like dust after a wind.Despite Sugar’s immediate distaste of Barmy, Beulah’s patience, Marigold’s kindness, and Homer’s unconditional love make her reconsider the meaning of home.On Black Sunday, the worst dust storm in history brings with it a choice: Sugar must decide whether or not to return home, leaving the hospitality—and love—of Barmy’s inhabitants. A stunning Depression-era literary novel with a touch of magical realism, Beulah's House of Prayer captivates until the very end....
|Title||:||Beulah's House of Prayer|
|Number of Pages||:||164 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Beulah's House of Prayer Reviews
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters captured me from the moment I began reading. And the descriptions made me feel the heat, the dryness, the dust. The attention to details made me feel like I was in Barmy, Oklahoma and knew these people. I can't wait to read more from this author!
Review part of TLC Blog ToursI read ''Beneath Still Waters' by Cynthia A Graham back in March of this year and was very impressed with her debut historical crime novel so when 'Beulah's House of Prayer' popped up for review with the 'TLC Book Tours', I jumped at the chance to be a tour host.Beulah Clinton, a kindly but fierce lay preacher, surprisingly isn't the main character of this story however she is the pivital character that the townsfolk's lives revolve around in this desolate dusty town. She arrives in Barmy with just her wagon drawn by two mules and sets up a boarding house where anyone in need of sustenance or comfort is always welcome.Sugar Watson, the narrator's mother finds herself stranded in town with little more than her fathers trunk and a coffin with his body inside. Self centred, with a tendency towards spitefulness when things do not go her way, Sugar is not a likeable young girl. With nowhere to go she reluctantly accepts Beulah's offer to stay for as long as she needs at the boarding house with her and another homeless boarder, Marigold Lawford a sweet natured, put upon young widow.Several of the chapters begin with an event reminiscent in the narrators mind which gently blend into the narration of the past to continue the storyline.Barmy is a 'godforsaken' place frequented by huge, violent dust storms which bring bad health and life threatening ailments in its wake. It tirelessly seeps in through every tiny crack or crevice and into homes to be inhaled and ingested by everyone. Dust tirelessly coats household surfaces no matter how many times it is cleaned away. There is no escape even from within the safety of their homes. The storms appear to foretell the arrival of bad news, upheavals, and crisis points for the townsfolk, with one almighty storm towards the end of the book bringing with it devastation and revelation in biblical proportions.At times it is an immensely touching tale with scenes so tender and heartbreaking that I was moved to tears. One such scene is of Homer Guppy, the towns 'bad boy' who doesn't want to leave the side of the dying Sugar because she would be afraid to be alone in the dark. (It's okay, no spoilers given.) The characters were utterly believable and I felt fully invested in them, I watched them grow, learn about love, sacrifice, and to care for, and be cared about, it genuinely hurt to feel their pain.Moments of humour are also evident as shown in a scene where Homer and Sugar are busy digging hole after hole in the yard, trying to find Beulah's buried mason jars full of money, unaware that they are being watched by an amused Beulah through the kitchen window.Beulah's House of Prayer is set during the depression era of the 1930's in the 'Dust Bowl' days of the Oklahoma Panhandle and is written with such depth of character, a light touch of southern gothic, and accompanied by a twist of magical realism. It was an absolute delight to read.Ultimately it is a tale of coming to terms with what you have and who you are, taking a long hard look at yourself and making amends. It is also about patience, friendship, hope, healing, redemption and forgiveness, and above all the power of love.I highly recommend this quick, heartwarming tale.
Having read and loved both of Cynthia Graham's historical mysteries with Sheriff Hick Blackburn, I was excited to jump on the tour for her newest book. Although retaining the historical fiction and economically struggling small town setting of her other books, Beulah's House of Prayer departs from the mystery genre and instead is a short literary novel with a bit of magical realism skillfully woven in. It amazes me the amount of story and character-building that Graham accomplishes in a relatively short (200-ish) number of pages. Although I leave her books wanting more, I never leave feeling short-changed by the story told and the characters I meet. Barmy is a dusty, down-trodden place but there is hope and yes, magic contained in the towns and its citizens that give it a beauty that transcends its dusty appearance. Our story is primarily told by the daughter of Sugar Watson, who ends up in Barmy at the age of fifteen and wants to get out. Offered food and shelter in a ramshackle house by Beulah Clinton, an evangelical preacher, Sugar meets Marigold Lawford, left on the streets by the greedy son of her dead husband. Marigold's lack of backbone and innate goodness frustrate Sugar, who looks at everyone she meets in terms of what they can do for her and how they can help get her out of Barmy. Sugar finds herself attracted to Homer Guppy, the town's trouble-making teen and who the town looks at with a mix of fear, caution, and sympathy because of the frequent beatings he receives at the hands of his alcoholic father. Marigold is drawn to the local Sheriff, Joe Brownfield, but feels it would betray her dead husband to care for Joe. This ragtag group with their various quirks and flaws quickly worked their way into my heart while Beulah remained mysterious--a sort-of all-knowing, all-seeing guide, not afraid to offer her strong opinions, prayers and bible verses. There are times that magical realism can sway to the 'too much woo-woo' side, and take over a story. In Beulah's House of Prayer, it creeps its way in and it is just the right amount, adding a unique and special touch to this book. Although my anticipation built as the pages turned and the story began rushing to its climax, I wanted to stay with these characters and was sad to see it end. An overall charming and wonderful read--highly recommended! You can see my review and a recipe for Garlic Soup with Croutons inspired by the book on my Kahakai Kitchen blog post here: http://kahakaikitchen.blogspot.com/20...Note: A review copy of "Beulah's House of Prayer" was provided to me by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in return for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own.
I've added this book to my highly recommended shelf! Graham is a story-telling powerhouse. Beulah's House of Prayer combines wonderfully odd but believable characters in a setting that is richly conveyed. Deep human insights are offered through a simple tale of one girl's arrival in a very small town. Gloriously told without a writerly device detected. Eudora Welty fans should add Graham to their must read lists.If you liked this book, check out Goldie Goldberg's The Paperbark Shoe.
Ms. Graham uses language beautifully to set moods and evoke emotion. During one description of a dust storm I looked out the window expecting to see darkness. But her true strength is in describing characters. Her characters are flawed, sometimes painfully and unattractively so, Yet we are taken on journeys into their pasts to see how pain and sorrow damages and then she pulls us alongside as people grow and change. An overarching theme is love requires sacrifice. Yet, Sugar learns that the sacrifices of love-hers and of others-lead to a fuller life.
I first encountered Cynthia A. Graham's writing with her debut, Beneath Still Waters, and I fell in love with her writing and her characters. She has such a way of writing historical fiction that doesn't stick out as taking place in the past, and the people are so unique and vivid that they still stay in my mind even though I read the book back in February 2016. Beulah's House of Prayer is her first stab at historical fiction with a touch of magical realism, and I was entranced throughout this entire book. I fell in love with the characters of this dusty small town in depression era Oklahoma from the first pages, and my love for them only grew throughout the book. The narrator is the main character's daughter, and the chapters start off with a few paragraphs of her life together with her family before seamlessly transitioning into the stories of the residents of a small town in the panhandle of Oklahoma. This made the book feel much more personal and in depth to me. Fifteen year old Sugar Watson arrives in Barmy, Oklahoma at the height of the Depression and the dust storms, with only three dollars to her name, a trunk containing her deceased mother's trapeze costumes, and a coffin containing her father's body. This was as far as the train would take her from Texas with the small amount of money they'd had, so she's stuck there, at the mercy of locals' charity until she can get word to her father's booking agent in Chicago, and the woman can arrange for Sugar to come back to the Windy City. Sugar meets Beulah Clinton, an elderly Holy Ghost preacher who rolled in to town some time ago and set up shop in a shack on the edge of town, feeding anyone who needs it and offering a bit of prayer and advice even when they don't need it. Sugar's taken in at once with few questions asked--it's like Beulah already knows everything there is to know about Sugar, so she comes to live with Beulah and another young woman named Marigold Lawford--who's having quite a hard time herself. The town of Barmy is half-boarded shut and the train doesn't even stop their regularly anymore. From Sugar and her refusal to be just a housewife because she was destined to be a circus performer just like her mother and father, to sweet, trusting widow Marigold who let everyone walk all over her because she never thought to put herself first--even when she's pregnant and penniless--to young Homer Guppy, the town troublemaker who gets into a ton of mischief as a way to work out his frustrations when his alcoholic father beats him mercilessly, Barmy is full of people who could just lay down and accept their fate, especially when the town seems to be slowly swallowed up by dust day after day. But they find a way to band together, to depend on each other when things seem bleak and hopeless. Sugar and Homer become friends over a search for Beulah's supposed fortune, and Sugar reluctantly comes to care for Marigold and Beulah after months of their cohabitation and friendship. I give Beulah's House of Prayer a five out of five. Hope is something that runs throughout this book, and it keeps all of the beautifully flawed characters going no matter how bleak life gets in Barmy. I really loved how another theme was that you have to sacrifice some things for love, but you'll get bigger rewards in return. Sugar learns this in spades in the end. The oppressive atmosphere, the depressing location, and the hopelessness of the economy and the weather during the early 1900s is so vibrant and lifelike that I felt the despair of the characters and their grasping for anything to hold onto that gave them a bit of happiness and hope. The smaller amount of magical realism that swelled towards the end of the book wasn't over the top, and it fit in well with the book. I love Cynthia A. Graham's writing and her ability to forge characters and settings that really come to life in a timeless way. (Also on Bewitched Bookworms, book received for free in exchange for honest review for book tour.)
Lessons on life in the dustbowlI won this book in a Goodreads giveaway for a fair and honest review. I read this book in one sitting, and although I enjoyed it for the wonderful and touching love story, I did find it hard to follow sometimes. The author frequently switches back and forth from the daughter's point of view to the mother's point of view. I found this distracting, when all I wanted to do was lose myself in this wonderful tale.I think the author does a really good job describing what it was like to live during the Depression and to experience the dust storms. The biggest thing expressed by this book is the need for people to be able to depend on each other. When you have nothing at all, you still have each other. If you have each other, you can get through anything together. As long as you have each other and faith.Oh.........and the ending appealed to me also..........I'm a HUGE horror fan.
I would describe this book as a mix of Alice Hoffman and Billie Letts. The publisher categorizes it as "magical realism", and the characters are down-home and relatable. The description of the daily struggles during the Dust Bowl are intriguing and I enjoyed the resiliency, spunk, and determination of the characters. I was rooting for them the whole way.
I loved this book!This book drew me in every time I picked it up - the characters were well developed and her writing style was just perfect. I can still taste the Oklahoma dust in my mouth.
3 WomenI love books with good strong characters and this has 3 wonderful women living and loving in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl. The style reminds me of Fanny Flagg---nostalgic and warm.