Saturday, January 7, 2012

Book Review: Softly & Tenderly

Author: Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck
Title: Softly & Tenderly
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publish Date: January 4, 2011
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Booksneeze and the publisher
Book Blurb: Maybe out there in the country she could catch her breath, learn to breathe again.

Happily married and owner of two successful boutiques, Jade longs to begin a family with her husband, Max. But when she discovers that Max has an illegitimate son—who he wants her to help raise—Jade’s life is turned upside down.

She flees to her childhood home, a rambling Iowa farmhouse, with enough room to breathe. There—while her mother’s health grows fragile, and the tug of her first love grows stronger—Jade begins to question everything she thought she knew about family, love, and motherhood. In the wide-open landscape, Jade begins to see a future that doesn’t rest on the power of her past but in the goodness of God's tender mercies.

Review: This is probably one of the most emotionally charged books that I've read in a very long time. If you were to lump it into a genre, it is Christian Chicklit. It is very heavy on "Faith" but never comes across as preachy, which I liked.

This is the second book in the Songbird series. (Oh do I wish I had read the first one..but I'll go back and get that one later). It reads like a soap opera. Jade has her issues, she thinks she's barren, her mother is terminally ill. Her husband Max is addicted to painkillers and has kept a child he had with his ex-fiancee from her. Then there's Max's parents...more secrets and infidelities there.

It really is hard to believe that this is Christian fiction, well, except that they seem to try to work things out, though at the end of the book the two marriages in jeopardy haven't been superglued back together.

The most likable character in the book is actually Jade's mom, Beryl. She's everything you'd expect an aging hippie to be; feisty and lovable, and repentant of some of her wild ways but with no regrets. She's not the mother you want to have, but she's the mother you want one of your friends to have. I found myself wishing she'd hang on, but it was obvious she wasn't going to make it. Her death was truly the climax of this story.

I could understand Jade and June and the way they dealt with things, but at times, Jade came across as a little to sanctimonious.  There was a little "do as I say and not as I do" thing going on with her. But then again..she found her father-in-law with another woman and then learned her own husband had a fling with his ex, at his bachelor weekend that resulted in a pregnancy.

Yeah...can you say drama and angst?

I can really picture Jade, June and Beryl making the trip in the pink Caddy to Iowa..that is until Jade breaks the top! This book really showed how these women started to make peace with themselves and God...and all their past choices.

I really enjoyed Softly & Tenderly...I'm going to pick up the first book, so I can be totally up to speed with the final book in the trilogy comes out this year.

Rating: 4 flowers


Danmark said...

I enjoyed this book by Sara Evans. I didn't know that Sara had written any books. I am a huge fan of hers, so it made me like the book even more to know that she wrote this, especially with all of her and Jay's children's running about. Even though I couldn't relate to the problems Jade faced in this book, I felt a connection to the character. It was a great book to see how God can take the worst situations and use them for His good. It really warmed my heart to know that good Christian books are still being written -- by new authors!!

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