Jodie
After an extended absence, the blog is up and running again! Miss me? :-)

Over Christmas, I read The Sweet By and By, a collaboration between country singer Sara Evans and author Rachel Hauck.

And I was amazed.

I'll tell you from the get go... at one point, I actually dropped the book while I was reading it. Dropped the book, sat up straight, and said, "Whoa!" That's a good thing, folks. Very, very rarely do I read a book that balls up a fist and hits me in the gut. Very, very rarely do I get emotional reading a book. This one got me. It's going on my list of favorites from here on out.

Sara and Rachel did a great job with the characters. They're not thrown in your face all at once. You get to know them, much like you'd get to know anyone you just met. Great way to keep me turning pages; I kept wanting to know more! And each little bit I learned made me want to learn the next and the next.

We begin with Beryl, an aging self-centered not-quite-former hippie who can't seem to commit to... well, to anything. But the main protagonist is Beryl's oldest daughter, Jade, who is about to marry the man of her dreams when the facade she's built around herself starts to crumble piece by piece by piece. Through flashbacks, we learn about Beryl and Jade's stormy relationship and about the past Jade believes shouldn't matter, even though it surely does.

The Sweet By and By is a beautiful story about broken relationships and forgiveness, about the past and its fingerprints on the present, about healing, and about love that abides through it all.

Pick this one up, y'all. It's well worth it. The Sweet By and By is one of those rare books that leaves a mark on your life and that you'll never forget.

--JB

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