Because I have two tight book deadlines, I’m not letting myself read many books right now. In fact, I’m almost in book withdrawal. However, when Thomas Nelson made The Sweet By and By available for review, I had to get it. First, I have thoroughly enjoyed every Rachel Hauck book I’ve read. Second, I enjoy Sara Evans music. Third, I was very curious to see how this partnership would work out.
Let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed. This book doesn’t fit neatly in a category, which is probably why the publisher calls it general fiction. It’s not a straight romance, though there’s a strong romantic storyline. It’s not straight women’s fiction, though I’d say this thread is the strongest. Instead, I’d call this a relationship drama. The relationships between a mother and daughter. The relationship between the past and the present. The relationship between two people who love each other. Even the sometimes tenuous relationship between a woman and her soon to be mother-in-law. And the relationship between a person and God.
The story pulled me along because I cared deeply about Jade and even about her crazy mother Beryl. There were times I couldn’t understand how either of them was acting, but then there are times I don’t understand how I act. But the underlying theme of redemption left me feeling satisfied as I closed the book. Everything’s not resolved. And the epilogue was almost sugary-sweet, but by the time you reach that, you want Jade to have something wonderful happen.
So if you like books that revolve around relationships with a strong dose of Jesus, this book is for you.
A redemptive story from multi-platinum recording artist Sara Evans.
Jade Fitzgerald left the pain of her past in the dust when she headed out for college a decade ago. Now she’s thriving in her career and glowing in the light of Max Benson’s love.
But then Jade’s hippie mother, Beryl Hill, arrives in Whisper Hollow, Tennessee, for Jade’s wedding along with Willow, her wild younger sister. Their arrival forces Jade to throw open the dark closets of her past–the insecurity of living with a restless, wandering mother, the silence of her absent father, and the heart-ripping pain of first-love’s rejection.
Turns out Beryl has a secret of her own. She needs reconciliation with her oldest daughter before illness takes her life. In the final days leading to the wedding, Jade meets the One who shows her that the past has no hold on her future. With a little grace, they’ll meet in the middle, maybe even before that sweet by and by.