I love Jesus, but I have to confess that I do not always love Christian fiction. Many times while reading Christian novels I find myself thinking, "Cheesy, unauthentic and boring!" and reading about every third page. I really enjoy reading, and I don't want what little time I have available for reading for pleasure to be any of those things. But I really liked Softly and Tenderly. I felt like it was an honest portrayal of what it's like to suffer, feel real emotion and then lay those emotions, feelings and your will at the feet of Jesus. Several of the characters were funny and spirited. I actually laughed out loud a couple of times. There were a few villains as well. This book had enough twists and turns, both in the story line and in the characters' responses to them, to keep things interesting without frustrating the reader. I found myself wanting to hate one character, love another, shake the next one and applaud the next. I took away a few nuggets of truth and an appreciation for the story very nicely written by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck. It definitely gets a two thumbs of from me and I highly recommend it to you. I'll be waiting for the book that follows!
Softly & Tenderly is the second book in the Songbird series. I didn't know that when I requested the book. I had no problem reading the book and understanding what was going on without reading the first book. The book started out a little slow for me.
Jade is a married woman who is having trouble having a baby. Jade is also taking care of her mother who is battling cancer. Jade's world continues to be rocked when she discovers more secrets about her family. The worse being her husband has fathered a son that she did not know about until another tragedy strikes, which causes her husband to be honest. Softly & Tenderly reminds me of a Soap Opera set to print. There is a lot of drama and tragedy in the book. In my opinion too much drama and tragedy. The books ending was very good and left me wanting to read the next book in the series.
Jade's perfect life is falling apart and not just the fact that she can't get pregnant. Her perfect lawyer husband, max has serious flaws. He is self-centered and self-involved. If that were not enough to cap all that off Jade discovers his infidelifty has produced a son and that son is now 19 monthes old. Her husband has been secretly financially supporting him but physically and emotionally ignoring him until his mother dies. Now Max has decided that he wants to raise the boy with Jade. Jade is disallussioned to say the least. As if that were not enough Jade's free spirit mother is dying.
This is a great woman's book for any married woman or woman thinking of getting married. Jade is facing life's turns and having to deal with them as they too quickly happen all at once. I liked the way that this book looked at marrage straight in the eye and didn't pull punches. Sometimes life just isn't fair and the only way to get through too many problems to to drop out of life and slow down and only handle one problem at a time. This is what Jade is doing by dealing with the one problem that can't be delayed--her mother's death. This is a good book and I recommend reading it to anyone dealing with life and marrage.
This book was provided free for this review by Booksneeze.com.
When I first started reading this book I thought to myself that is not a spiritual book but that changed my mind once I had read more. I wish though when people claim to be a Christian that they really knew what the bible says but they twist scriptures to fit what they believe and that is wrong. The 2 major points I had did not like in this book are that the characters in the book believe in fate and believe in the afterlife such as Heaven and Hell. Both of those are incorrect and the bible actually tells the truth about such things and if only people would learn what the bible really teaches then they would be happy. GOD does not control our lives and there is no such thing as fate. Life just happens and as the one scripture says that unforeseen occurrences befall as all. Meaning things just happen and its not because its GOD's will or anything else. This can be seen in the scripture Ecclesiastes 9:11 which reads " I returned to see under the sun that the swift do not have the race, nor the mighty ones the battle, nor do the wise also have the food, nor do the understanding ones also have the riches, nor do even those having knowledge have the favor; because time and unforeseen occurrence befall them all."
The second thing that bothered me about this book was the mention of afterlife which I have talked about alot on this blog before and you can look at previous blog posts to see more lengthy things on it. But once again when you die, you die. You are in a sleepless state and that is it. In the scripture Eccl. 9:5: "The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all."Which means if the dead are conscious of nothing then they cannot look down upon us from Heaven or burn in Hell. You can read more on my other posts before.
I enjoyed the book and spent 2 day reading it but I wish people who claim to be Christian would actually not talk about stuff they know nothing about.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Wow! Wow! Wow! Okay, after reading the first book, "The Sweet By and By", I was hooked! I couldn't wait to begin turning the pages of, "Softly and Tenderly". Now although this book will bring you great blessings, I suggest you read, "The Sweet By and By" first. It is the backbone of this series. It brings you to the heart of Jade and her past. I love the character of Jade Fitzgerald. She is so believable. She is broken and searching. I feel so connected to her. Maybe because I was that girl once. That girl searching for real.
In Jade's world, everything is broken. She wants to escape her real and find solace for just a while. Her husband, her marriage, her in-laws and her own family are struggling. Everyone seems to have secrets, even Jade. The secrets these characters are holding are not only hurting themselves, but their relationships with one another.
Jade is devastated as her mother is dying. A mother she has had a love/hate relationship with all her life. This is one of my favorite parts of the book. I loved watching their brokenness turn to a sweet relationship. It didn't just happen over night. It took time. It took grace. It took the Lord.
Oh, the brokenness these characters feel just tugs at your heart. You want everything to work out perfect for these characters, but that just isn't real life. Things don't always turn out our way, but always and forever, God's way. He has perfect timing and a purpose for every pathway of our lives. Through our brokenness we get His healing and grace.
The character I didn't like? Jade's father-in-law, Reb. I think of him and I just get angry at his meanness. His name just sounds like pride. But I'll be, we still see God's grace and love for even a mean one like, Reb. There are so many life lessons in this book. So much to take away.
I applaud, Sara Evans, for stepping out and taking on the challenge of writing. You go girl! Job well done. I am now a huge fan. Rachel Hauck is already at the top of my favorites list. This book is filled with redemption and grace leading healing for these characters. I cannot wait to finish this series with the third book, "Love Lifted Me", in the fall of 2012.