Authors: Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Goodreads: The Sweet By and By
Genre: Contemporary Christian Fiction
My summary: Jade is finally going to marry the man of her dreams. But she is also about to come face-to-face with the past she has spent her entire adult life running from.
My say: The Sweet By and By failed to charm me. While I enjoyed the story style (alternating perspectives from Jade to her mother Beryl) this story about communication (or the lack of) and forgiveness never inched its way into my heart. Much like the wounded bird Jade is compared to, it struggled to fly. I am however curious to see how Jade evolves in part two Softly and Tenderly due out this January. Maybe I will try book two in audio.
What I did not like: Jade. I spent most of the novel wishing I could shake some sense into her. She spends too long playing the victim and never taking responsibility for her actions. People who are too quick to place blame on other people always get under my skin.
What I did like: Beryl. Her journey through her memories (as she tries to find where she went wrong and how she lost the respect of her eldest daughter) was very touching. She is the kind of beautiful flawed character I rarely get to read; an ex-flower child of the 60s.
What I would have liked more of:
- Aiden. Jade's brother had a minor role but completely won me over. It is safe to say I have a minor character crush on Aiden.
- Willow. Jade's sister is all sauce and spirit. I have high hopes for her.
My cover thoughts: I like that it reminds me of a lazy summer day. But I think it also reflects how lost Jade was/is.
My star rating: 3 stars
My kiddie-o-meter: While everything is tasteful there are mentions to drug use, alcohol abuse, sex, infidelity, and abortion.
My favorite quote: "Even the wise need wisdom."
My Christian Fiction Book Club Discussion Q & A: The Sweet By and By was the Christian Fiction Book Club pick for November. After reading the novel, each member picks one discussion question from the back of the book to feature and discuss in a blog post. This is mine.
(SPOILER WARNING! Please highlight to read)
Jade and Max decide to let their pasts stay in the past. Is there wisdom here? How can letting the past stay out of the present benefit your heart and relationship? How might it hinder? When is it right to talk about the past? When is it best to let issues of the past go?
I think it is always best to put the past behind you. There is definite wisdom in not letting your past dictate your future. God forgives us and therefore we must forgive ourselves. But unsettled issues can hinder a person or relationship. It is so important to make peace with our pasts. The best bet is to deal with what you've been through and tell your spouse what happened so nothing ever blindsides you.
What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments field or link up to your post below.
My Christian Fiction Book Club Discussion note: Next month's read is Grace: A Sister's of the Heart Novel by Shelley Shepard Gray and will be hosted by blogger The Lemon Verveine Book Club, I do hope you will join us. The book is currently available for free on NetGalley.com under Avon publisher.
My final say: Has anyone ever read Rachel Hauck before? How does this story compare to her usual writing?