Tuesday, October 18, 2011

SOFTLY AND TENDERLY by SARA EVANS with RACHEL HAUCK

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.

This book is published by Thomas Nelson.
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