The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow

A Novel of Bright's Pond

By Joyce Magnin Published
Paperback ISBN: 9781426701641 $15.99 Buy
Welcome to Bright's Pond. Home of Agnes Sparrow!2010 Carol Awards Finalist

No longer able or willing to leave her home, the unusual Agnes Sparrow has committed herself to a life of prayer - prayer that has resulted in numerous miracles, both large and garden variety, including a prize-winning pumpkin.

The rural residents of Bright's Pond, a quirky Pennsylvania town, are so enamored with Agnes they plan to erect a sign in her honor on the interstate. Agnes wants no part of it and sends her sister to fight city hall. Their petitions are shot down and the sign plans press forward.

But when a stranger comes to call asking for his miracle, Bright's Pond is turned on its head and Agnes' feet of clay are exposed, forcing the town to its knees.


Review from Publisher's Weekly
"Quirk abounds in this tale of two sisters, Agnes and Griselda Sparrow.  When what seems to be miracles - healings from serious illnesses - the residents of the small Pennsylvania town of Bright's Pond naturally attribute them to Agnes.  Agnes' putative power attracts a stranger in need of an unstated miracle, and the plot thickens from there.  To pull off such a quirky novel, the characters need to be vividly etched, the writing consistently clever and the plotting persuasive on its own terms." PW 
Starred Review from Library Journal
"This unusual first novel introduces two quirky sisters who live in their familly's funeral home in the town of Bright's Pond, PA  Griselda Sparrow is protective of the overweight (as in 600 pounds) and often-taunted Agnes.  One day, however, Agnes decides to confine herself to their home and devote herself to praying for the townspeople.   When her prayers start to produce miracles, the town takes notice - a development that only complicates the sisters' lives.  Verdict - This delightful eccentric tale, with its colorful characters who pull at the heartstrings, will stay with reader long after they finish it." - Library Journal
"I enjoyed this novel immensely because it was so different from the norm, with unusual characters and lots of flavor.  Reading it was somewhat like watching a movie unfold, only better.  But in the end, I most appreciated the overriding lesson - that we are always to remember it is "To God Be The Glory" - and not to elevate any mortal person to higher esteem even if it seems God is working through him or her, because God is still the one answering the prayers and performing the miracles.  And no human being is without stain or blemish."  read the full review ~ Tina L. Scott - The Dabbling Mum
Testimonial of a Reader
"As I read your book, it brought to mind my obese friend, who is raising an obese daughter; all the while enabling her.  I once watched my friend eat chocolate chip pancakes, a soda, and follow it with an ice cream sunday.  Sharing it all with her daughter, and seeing nothing wrong with it.  Enabling someone to become overly obese is a sickness in itself.  It is like the wife buying beer for the alcoholic.  Some time in the near future, if think parents who contribute to the obesity of their children may be sued because of child abuse.  I enjoyed the book and the characters.  I felt as if I was living in a real town with real people.  The faith issues that struck me were enabling, a caregivers tolerance, love, prejudice, and forgiveness.  I applaud your courage of putting a face, a soul on an obese person.  It is a ground breaking novel because an overly obese woman is the main character, not because of her obesity, but because of her prayers.  Well done." ~ Irene Martin
"In The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, first time novelist, Joyce Magnin, writes with the timeless voice of beauty, truth, and goodness, and celebrates all three with a deft pen.  You'll fall in love with Agnes and see the world a little differently having walked with her through her trials and her triumphs.  An amazing debut!" ~ Lisa Samson - Christy-award winning author of The Passion of Mary Margaret and Quaker Summer, Women of Faith's novel of the year 2007.
"Beware of The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow just when you have become fully enchanted by its marvelous quirky zaniness, you will suddenly be taken to your knees by its poignant truth-telling about what it means to be divinely human. I’m convinced that ‘on our knees’ is exactly where Joyce Magnin planned for us to land all along." - Nancy Rue, co-author of Healing Waters: Sullivan Crisp Series 2009 Novel of the Year
"Can this really be Joyce Magnin's first novel?  The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow is an amazing book, tender and funny and profound.  Readers looking for the next Mitford will find a home in Bright Pond and won't want to move for a long, long time." ~ Kathryn Mackel, author of Vanished
"The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow is the perfect blend of comedic glee and deep compassion.  Magnin's characters are as real as a skinned knee, and as close to us.  Mostly, there is startling joy in this book and in Magnin's writing.  I look forward to reading more from this fresh voice." ~ Priscilla Strapp, Writer from Philadelphia, PA
"If the title weren't enough to pique my interest, the characters drew me in almost immediately.  They're quirky, well-portrayed, and remind me all too well of the people from the small town where I grew up--that is, except for Agnes Sparrow.  She's unique, to say the least.  The plot is well-developed and guaranteed to keep the reader guessing.  All in all, it's a fun read that conveys a message.  If you get to know Agnes and the townspeople around her, you won't soon forget them." ~ Richard Mabry M. D., author of Code Blue
"Grieslda Sparrow has taken care of her sister Agnes for as long as she can remember.  She's used to the line of people seeking prayers from Agnes and she's used to the stares her sister receives.  Because of the miracles happening due to the prayers of Agnes, the town's people want to erect a sign that welcomes visitors to their town. Then, the unthinkable happens and the town's inhabitants are turned upside down, their faith tilted.  Could it be they had their faith in the wrong place to begin with?
Narrated by Griselda, it's quickly noticeable that the town of Bright's Pond is the main character in the book, spinning tales around the Sparrow sisters.  THE PRAYERS OF AGNES SPARROW is full of characters the reader won't quickly forget.  Small town and quirky, you can't help but love every one. 

Even the crotchety old man who says Agnes is an abomination of God.  With subtle references, the reader is guided to God's truth; not man's.  A ten on the faith scale, this is a novel that will leave the reader looking for more stories by Joyce Magnin." ~
Cynthia Hickey of Author's Choice Reviews
"Agnes Sparrow lives with her sister, Griselda, in Bright's Pond, PA.  Her claim to fame is her ability to answer prayers for anyone who visits her.  A drifter, Hezekiah Branch, drops by and demands Agnes' prayers for him but is secretive about why he wants them.  The man stays for several months, doing odd jobs for the townpeople.  Suddenly, a good friend of Griselda is brutally murdered.  Branch eventually confesses, but people blame Agnes for allowing him to stay in Bright's Pond, polarizing the town.  Agnes begins to lose her faith in her ability to help people, and she feels guilty about another "murder" that she was involved with as a child.  Tensions strain the sisters' relationship.  However, a satisfactory ending closes the story. This is a witty, quick read that is both entertaining and insightful.   Characters are balanced and well-developed.  Recommended for light reading." ~ Church Libraries ECLA
"The power of prayer is strong, and sometimes they are answered.  Not all of them are, though, for reasons no one can understand.  Magnin has capture the essence of why people belive in praying.  Her characters are forthright, intelligent and sometimes witty, and readers will not soon forget this book." ~ Patsy Glans, Romantic Times Magazine





About the Author

Joyce Magnin

Joyce Magnin is the author of several books, including The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, named one of the "Top 5 Best Christian Fiction Books of 2009" by Library Journal. Her short fiction pieces and articles have been published in such magazines as Relief Journal, Parents Express, Sunday Digest, and Highlights for Children. A member of the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Fellowship, Joyce is a frequent workshop leader at various writer’s conferences and women’s church groups. She has three children and one grandson, and is mom to a neurotic parakeet who lives with her in Havertown, Pennsylvania.