Wednesday, January 5, 2011
SOFTLY & TENDERLY BY SARA EVANS WITH RACHEL HAUCK
Jade Benson is happily married to Max and runs two upscale 'thrift' type stores. She longs to begin a family of her own but has only been faced with miscarriages. Max seems to be very supportive and continues to encourage Jade about how much he wants a son of his own. Jade's world is turned upside down when the truth comes out that he already has a son by his ex-fiance. A secret that he and his mother have kept from her for the last 18 months. She has dealt with Max's addiction, the guilt of an abortion and the impending death of her mother and now this. So Jade decides to give her mother her dying wish. To take her home to her farmhouse in Iowa. Max's mother comes along and they make it a girls road trip in a pink caddy. Jade feels like some space between her and max will give her some room to breath. The problem is her first love and ex-husband, Dustin is there and is willing to supply all the comfort she needs. But as the end of her mother's days draw near, Jade questions her new found faith and tries to deal with the guilt of hating her mother for so many years. Is Jesus really who he says he is? Is He truly strong enough to help her through this mass of issues?
WOW! This was not at all what I was expecting when I picked up Softly and Tenderly. I guess I was thinking it would be a sweet southern type story but what a grand surprise I had! This is a story loaded with human emotion. Jade was a such complex character who was dealing with lots of baggage not only from her growing up years but because she was married before and had had an abortion. Max was a great guy who I think truly loves Jade but he also deals with baggage of his own. His own family's problems, his addiction to pain killers and a secret he's keeping from his wife. I reeled with emotion as these characters dealt with very difficult issues. I cringed when Jade and her mother-in-law caught her father-in-law in an 'indiscretion'. I felt my heart wrenching as Jade finds out that her husband has a son already by someone she also counted as a friend. I was afraid was I saw Jade leaning her heart toward her first love. I wept as Jade slowly said goodbye to her mother. I hoped as I saw that maybe something hopeful would come out of all this trauma. If you like an emotionally charged story where the characters are truly flawed and realistic, then this is the story for you. My only complaint was when I got to the back of the book and it said that the next installment isn't due out until winter of 2012. That's a long time to wait because the story did leave you hanging! A thank you goes to Booksneeze for providing this complimentary review copy.