1. Hennie Comfort’s sign outside her house says “Prayers for Sale” and yet she doesn’t sell prayers. Why does Hennie keep the sign?
2. As Hennie begins her story for Nit, she says, “Back then, I wasn’t Hennie Comfort. In those days, I was called by the name of Ila Mae Stubbs.” What else has changed about Hennie from her teenaged self to her 86-year-old self? More importantly, what has stayed the same?
3. One of the themes of this book is surviving the “unsurvivable.” What would you consider “unsurvivable?”
4. Another theme is forgiveness. Is there ever a time when forgiveness isn’t possible? Can you relate to the way Hennie forgives at the end of the book --- and who she forgives? In Hennie’s shoes, would you have forgiven? Would Hennie’s life have been different if she had forgiven earlier?
5. What are some of the qualities you see in the women of Middle Swan that help them survive life there? What is the most important quality?
6. Maudie Sarsfield says, “Quilting keeps me from going queer,” meaning “insane.” Why would this be so? What is the significance of Maudie adding her initials to her quilts? And what role do quilts and quilting play in the lives of the characters?
7. What is the most tragic aspect of Maudie’s life?
8. What is the most important lesson Hennie teaches Nit Spindle?
9. Is it ever too late to find true love? How do you define true love?
10. Discuss the phrase “deep enough.” What does it means in the story? What would it mean to you in your own life?
11. Middle Swan is a cold, harsh town. What makes Hennie love it, and why has she stayed all these years? What draws people together in such an environment?
Prayers for Sale