A beautifully written book written family story that deals with faith, family, love, betrayal and so much more. Even when everything seems to falling apart Jade finds the strength to fight for what she wants and needs. One of those books you just can't put down!
"Softly and Tenderly" by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck is a work of romantic fiction. It is the second in the Songbird series, following "'Sweet By and By," which I would have liked to read before this book. Perhaps my perspective might have been different if I had gotten to know the characters before the 2nd book. But I did not realize it was part of a series when I ordered it. "Softly and Tenderly" is not a fluffy, feel-good story! It's like life and there are lots of ups and downs and bumps and bruises along the way. The characters seem realistic and the situations they find themselves in - secrets, pain, sadness, joy, caring for relatives with cancer, infidelity, in-laws, death - are similar to the many things that fill every day, modern life for many people. It offers reminders or lessons of hope and leaning on the mercies of God and not on one's own understanding.
For some reason, "Softly and Tenderly" by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck was not a book that I enjoyed. It took me forever to finish it because I did not enjoy it. I would pick it up and read a few pages and then put it down because it did not hold my interest. I do enjoy romantic fiction but this book did not grab or keep my interest. I am not sure if it was the location in which the story took place or the characters themselves, but it was not a story I would want to read again and I have no desire to read the other three books of the series.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I am not expected to always give a positive review, just an honest one. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Why would anyone write a "Christian" book that is so immoral? These people are suppose to be strong, upstanding Christian people both in their church and community. They are nothing of the kind - they are instead very immoral. I would not recommend it to anyone. I only gave it a one rating because there is nothing lower.
Jade Fitzgerald Benson is married to a prominent lawyer with a powerful family name in a small town. She has admitted her past to her husband, but feels like she is continuing to pay the price as she waits month after month for a successful pregnancy. Max, her husband, has struggled with pill addictions since high school, and continues to see the ramifications in his own life and marriage. In addition, he has kept a secret from Jade that may be what tears them apart. June and Rebel, Max's parents, have their own past and present mistakes that are coming to light and changing the way everyone in the family thinks about each other. Beryl, Jade's mother, is dying of leukemia, and wants to die in her own hometown, where Jade grew up. When Max's and Rebel's most recent faults come to light, June and Jade decide to make a roadtrip of taking Beryl home to die. There, they have to each examine their pasts and decide which path to take for their future.
When I first started Softly and Tenderly, I thought "this has been done before." The story of the illegitimate son showing up on the doorstep of a couple who's having struggles has been written several times. However, even with the somewhat stale initial plot line, the story progressed in new ways, and the characters were well-written enough for me to become engrossed in their lives and become invested in the outcomes.
Additionally, the book seems to be part of a series, which I did not confirm until the end of the book, where it advertises the next part of the "Songbird Series." Although the book stands fairly well on its own, there were several places within the story where I felt like I was supposed to know some background information that I did not. The story probably would have felt more complete had I read the previous installment.
Overall, I would give this book 3 stars. I enjoyed the characters, and the storyline, but between the familiar storyline and the missing pieces from not having read the first book, as a stand-alone book, it could have been better.
In Softly and Tenderly, Sara and Rachel had me from the first sentence to the unexpected end! The story starts in spring in Whisper Hollow, Tennessee, with Jade and her mother-in-law in a favorite old pickup along a rough road. This sets the scene for a turbulent, fast-paced novel. It seems most novels I read these days are about women and relationships, and I am not sure if it is what's out there, or what I am attracted to. Having said that, this one stands out from the rest. Many issues are covered, from barreness, to infidelity, illigemate child(ren?) to big business ethics, but all interconnected in the way life is, and through it all God's mercy is underlying and sure.
These ladies have a way of drawing in the reader with words, and I could feel the jostling of the vehicle, the anger, the pain of a loved one suffering from cancer, the hopelessness, but also the peace. The scenes came alive and when the doe and her babies jump out in front of the truck, your heart about stops together with the women in the truck. When baby Asa calls for his Mom, the heart contracts with sympathy.
The reader will be anxiously waiting for the sequel, and not all issues are resolved in this first of a series.
I received this ebook free from ThomasNelson Publishers through their Booksneeze program for the sole purpose of writing an honest review. I was not required or asked for a positive one. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.