Grab yourself a cup of coffee and get cozy. You will be in for a long night of reading and you won't need the coffee to keep you awake. This novel will take you on a journey through the life of Jade Fitzgerald. A young woman trying to move forward, but forever stuck in yesterday. She has many regrets caused by poor choices. Many pains brought to her from simply coming from a broken family. Many memories that haunt her.
We journey from her past to her present. I have read books that take us from yesterday to present time and have had a struggle keeping up, but this one just seems to flow. From reading of today and then taking a glimpse back in time, we get to see the full view of Jade and her many mysteries to be uncovered.
Who knew, Sara Evans, could write? Rachel Hauck is at the top of my favorites list. Now, both of these ladies together bring a story of redemption and grace. I had purchased, Softly and Tenderly, the second book in the Songbird Series at the ACFW conference this year. I began reading and realized it was part of a series. I quickly got on line and ordered, The Sweet By and By. I waited patiently for it to arrive and was not disappointed at all. I encourage you to read them in order. The Sweet By and By is the backbone of the series.
This story takes us into the heart of Whisper Hollow, Tennessee. Here is something I love. Jade is almost hollow inside. She has carried such pain for so long and all she needs is to hear the whisper of God. Faith was always near Jade. It flowed from her grandmother's heart. But Jade felt she wasn't good enough for God. She thought she had made too many mistakes in life. Who of us hasn't been there? I know I have, but that is where the sweet grace of Christ comes in.
This is a journey of not just one woman, but many characters that jug at your heart as we watch them move through each trial of life. On some level you will fall in love with each of these broken people. This story opens with Jade inviting her mother to her wedding. A choice she isn't sure of, but one that will change her life. It's awesome to see how each choice Jade makes brings her closer to a God she didn't think loved her at all.
To say I loved this book simply isn't enough. It is one that you read and pass on to your friends. It's just that good.
Review : The Sweet By and By - Book #1 Songbirds Series - Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck - Jan 2010
Jade Freedom Fitzgerald's life is for once looking up - she owns an antique shop called The Blue Umbrella, she has a good set of friends and she is about to get married to lawyer Max Benson. Jade wants a nice, quiet intimate wedding but her interfering mother-in-law is planning an extravagant event including expensive red-enveloped invitations. The story starts with Jade contemplating whether to send an invitation to her hippie mother, Beryl, who's still living like it's the 1960s. As the wedding nears, all Jade's secrets from her past start to surface, such as ex-fiances, her estranged father and her dysfunctional family. Armed with her two close friends whose dreams are to go on Oprah, her trusty one-eyed dog Roscoe and her quirky antique shop, can Jade move forward into married life without losing who she really is and will she fit in with her husband-to-be's socialite friends and family or will it just be too much for her to handle? This collaborative effort by country singer-songwriter Sara Evans and Christian author Rachel Hauck is an amazing read which tells a story about chasing dreams, travelling endless miles to get where you want to be and having the faith that no matter how much you focus on the future, you have to open and accept the past in order to move forward.
As a fan of country star, Sara Evan's music and Rachel Hauck's novels, I was excited to discover that both women have joined forces and released an inspirational novel. The Sweet By and By is a collaborative effort that successfully blends the emotional story lyrics present in Sara Evan's songs with the character development and humor that defines Hauck's novels.
In The Sweet By and By, Jade Fitzgerald is a young woman who is the owner of a vintage, antique shop and just weeks away from marrying Max Benson, a successful lawyer from an upper-class family. With pasts that they both wish to forget, they agree to live in the present while embracing the future. After Jade reluctantly sends a wedding invitation to her estranged mother, Beryl, memories from the family's past set ripples of pain and regret into motion. These ripples soon turn into a wave of emotion that they must confront. While the women struggle to reconcile their past, Max also faces the return of his former fiance and a secret that he wishes to keep from Jade. Will Jade's and Max's love for one another surmount the obstacles that they face?
The Sweet By and By skillfully displays the complexities of family relationships and the power of forgiveness as individuals struggle to come to terms with their past actions and decisions. While reading this novel, I was drawn to the unfolding story of Jade's and Beryl's tumultuous relationship. Like this story, real-life is complex with no "perfect" endings. Our lives are always a work in progress.
I look forward to Sara Evan's and Rachel Hauck's upcoming novels in the Songbird series. Hopefully, readers will once again re-visit the lives of some of the characters in The Sweet By and By, especially Jade's younger sister, Willow.