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    4 Stars Out Of 5
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    3.9 out Of 5
    (3.9 out of 5)
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    3.7 out Of 5
    (3.7 out of 5)
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    1. BC, Canada
      Age: 55-65
      Gender: female
      3 Stars Out Of 5
      A nice read!
      January 29, 2011
      BC, Canada
      Age: 55-65
      Gender: female
      Quality: 3
      Value: 3
      Meets Expectations: 3
      In this Christian romance, Jade is the center character who struggles with multiple issues from her past and in her present. In the midst of Jade's own struggles, her husband's and in-laws' issues impact her as well, and despair and depression overtake. Jade's relationship with God eventually sees her return to wholeness.

      I enjoyed the characters, and found them well developed and real. At times, I wondered how much more could happen to all of these people, and then I recalled the people I know who seem to be ‘hit' over and over again. Somehow, it seems that some people just do experience repeated tragedy and difficulty, and this memory made the story-line that much more believable.

      This is the second book in a series, and I found the references to incidents from the first book vague and dissatisfying - and all too frequent. I kept thinking that these references to the past were just a little bit of a mystery and all would eventually be revealed. So beware, you may want to read the first book (Sweet By and By) before you read this one!

      All in all, an enjoyable book - and has the potential to be a good series.
    2. Missouri
      Age: 35-44
      Gender: female
      4 Stars Out Of 5
      A real-life-like Journey
      January 10, 2011
      I breathe I write
      Age: 35-44
      Gender: female
      Quality: 4
      Value: 4
      Meets Expectations: 4
      In the book, Jade struggles with both current and past issues in her life. And as is often the case in life, several issues all converge on her at once, thus creating ‘a perfect storm' in her life. While she wants to go back to the way life was, life has created an impossible ‘going back' - so she must confront the present, as well as the past, and decide what next steps to take towards her future. Will her heart find the healing she desperately needs?

      This is a story that deals with a lot of modern day issues - abortion, addictions, miscarriages, affairs - and how these decisions impact individual lives, as well as, the lives of those they love, and how they affect life even years later. I found it to be a pleasant read, although, sadly, I bet it hits close to home for a lot of people who are dealing with some of the same pain in their own lives. While we want to live in a fairy-tale world, the reality of life is often much more painful. Jade's struggles and journey towards healing is one I am certain can encourage others in their journey. Sara Evan's development of Jade's character, pushes the reader forward towards the end of the novel to see if and how she can resolve her internal struggle.

      Thanks to for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest and fair review.
    3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
      Softly and Tenderly by Sara Evans, Rachel Hauck
      January 3, 2011
      i blog 4 books
      I kept thinking, "this is a soap opera," while I read Softly and Tenderly by Sara Evans with Rachel Hauck. About two-thirds of the way through, the main character describes her life in the exact same way. Good to know we were on the same page!

      Jade's life is falling apart. Guilt and shame from bad decisions in her teenage years, a rocky relationship with her mom, her in-laws' failing marriage, struggles with anxiety, the inability to conceive, her mother's impending death, her husband's addiction to pain pills ... and then she learns about her husband's infidility the week before their marriage and the son that was conceived as a result. As a new Christian, will Jade rely on her own ways or will she turn to Christ?

      This is "chick lit" at its best. I found myself falling in love with this crazy, trouble-ridden family and wanted everything to work out for them. The story evoked real emotion in me and I found myself tearing up several times. The struggles were real. Jade questions her faith repeatedly as she faces trial after trial. I actually liked that things weren't tied up in a neat package at the end. That's how life is. But ultimately, I felt that there was a great message of hope in spite of her circumstances.

      This is the second book in the Songbird trilogy (Sweet By and By available now and Love Lifted Me available Winter 2012). I am anxiously awaiting the conclusion to this gripping story.

      I received a free copy of this book in exchange from Thomas Nelson Publishers for my fair and honest review.
    4. 4 Stars Out Of 5
      A Heartfelt Journey Home...
      December 31, 2010
      Rambling Reader
      Quality: 4
      Value: 4
      Meets Expectations: 4
      Softly & Tenderly is the second book in the Songbird series by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck, which continues the story of Jade Benson. After being happily married for two years, Jade's life begins to unravel with the discovery that her husband, Max, has a young son from a previous relationship. Facing the impending loss of her mother who is battling leukemia, Jade runs to her childhood home in Prairie City, Iowa. While trying to overcome feelings of betrayal, anger, and grief, Jade begins to question the life that she has built. The presence of Dustin, her first love, is both comforting and dangerous for Jade's tumultuous emotions. By returning home Jade reaches a crossroad in her life, but which path will she take?

      After reading The Sweet By and By, the prequel to this novel, I definitely wanted to read Softly & Tenderly. I initially thought that the sequel may focus on Willow, Jade's younger sister, but it is very fitting that the authors chose to continue Jade's story. When reading most books, I expect the endings to tie up nicely because don't we all want to hear about the "happily ever afters"? Just as their debut novel introduced characters with flaws and weaknesses, Softly & Tenderly, serves as a reminder that marriages do not lead to "happily ever afters" where every issue is blissfully resolved. Each person in a family struggles with doubt, weaknesses, anger, sorrow, and sometimes deeply guarded secrets. Despite these hurdles, hopefully the power to unite in times of need and lean on their faith and each other, each family member will be healed by forgiveness and the power of love.

      Like real-life, Jade's struggles are not resolved by the end of the book; but as a reader, I have my ideas about the direction that she might be heading. I look forward to reading the conclusion of the Songbird series, Love Lifted Me, upon its release during the winter of 2012.

      Just as a side-note, this series would make a great Hallmark or Lifetime movie and to the tune of a country song.

      I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookSneeze through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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."
    5. Washington, DC
      Age: 35-44
      Gender: female
      5 Stars Out Of 5
      A Great Read
      December 13, 2010
      Washington, DC
      Age: 35-44
      Gender: female
      Quality: 5
      Value: 5
      Meets Expectations: 5
      This was a great book. It is a sequel to the book "Sweet By and By". It took a couple of chapters before I figured out who all the characters were but then it took off at breakneck speed.

      It's the story of a woman, Jade Fitzgerald, dealing with pain from the past and desperately focused on the future. She faces her husband's ultimate betrayal of trust which brings into her life a child, the very thing that she wanted more than anything to give him.

      In a girls' road trip to take her sick mother home to Iowa, the main characters go on a journey of self discovery, forgiveness, and moving forward. It's not without hiccups when Jade's first love is in the wings wanting to start over and her husband arrives to try and win her back.

      This book was fun to read and I couldn't put it down. It was romantic but in a real life way. You could feel the rawness of the characters as they dealt with some big issues that we all face sometime in our lives; like addiction, losing a loved one, facing a spouse's betrayal or dealing with shame from the past.

      I haven't read the first book but am looking forward to reading it to fill in some of the blanks.I hope that the author will write more to the saga because she left this reader wanting more!
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