Book Review: "The Sweet By and By" by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck

Jade Fitzgerald and Max Benson find their wedding day fast approaching with all the assorted relatives, and past baggage along with the joy, of their special day. Jade thought she left her past behind a decade ago, but when her gypsy-like mother, Beryl Hill, shows up with her younger sister, Jade's old insecurities come barreling to the surface. Can God's grace help to mend her family's broken hearts and somehow meet in the middle before it's too late?

This was a real surprise read for me. I've read several of Rachel's books before and enjoyed them but I wasn't sure how a book by her and a country singer would end up. Most times when there is a celebrity author fronting the book, you can tell obviously that they didn't really have a part in the writing and it's really the second author who has done most of the work. Also this sounds really sad but since I don't listen to country music I only knew about Sara due to her stint on Dancing With the Stars. Therefore I really had no idea how this book was going to end up.

I didn't have too much to worry. I was engrossed with the story as soon as I finished the first chapter. The characters are very engaging and the story draws you in almost immediately. I seem to not be able to avoid books with weddings so once again I enjoyed reading that aspect of the story. Also Jade's antique shop sounded extremely interesting and a place that I would like to shop around if I happened to be in the area. The book deals with characters who are flawed and realize that they hold these characteristics. I ached with Jade as she recalls her past and her feelings of being abandoned by everyone she loved. There were times when I wanted to shake sense into Beryl throughout the book and be like "Honestly? You can't understand why your daughter can't get along with you?"

I didn't have too many qualms with the story. The only thing was I felt that more could have been paid attention to the fact that both Jade and Max are keeping secrets from each other yet there doesn't seem to be heavy fallout when the truth comes out. It just felt that everyone accepted these "secret pasts" almost immediately just to get the plans with the wedding rolling on time. I would have liked a bit more realistic approach such as maybe extra counseling or something but otherwise I didn't really have any problems with the storyline. I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a quick read but very engaging and I didn't want to stop reading. Evans and Hauck make a fine writing pair and I am very eager to read the next book in the series. If you are looking for a book that's enjoyable yet will pull at your heartstrings, this is the perfect book for you.

The Sweet By and By by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck is published by Thomas Nelson (2009)

This review copy was provided by the publisher


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