Just read Softly & Tenderly by country singer Sara Evans and author Rachel Hauck.
It’s the second book in a series. I haven’t read the first book, The Sweet By and By.
I enjoyed Softly & Tenderly.
On the outside, Jade’s life is going well. She has a successful business and a loving husband. On the inside, she yearns for a baby. Her mother is dying. Her in-laws are dragging her into their messy marriage. Her husband Max has several secrets that threaten to undo his and Jade’s marriage as well.
When Jade’s mother insists on returning home for her final weeks, Jade reluctantly agrees since, in spite of the reason for the trip, it will give her a much needed respite from Max and his unraveling life. Her mother-in-law comes along.
The book is well-written and has a strong sense of place and character. I wasn’t sure how it would be, picking up Jade and Max’s story in the middle, but it wasn’t a big problem. The backstory was enough to bring the reader up to speed, but it didn’t bog down the story. The writers often use color and color descriptions to set up the emotions the characters are dealing with. This works … mostly. There were a few places that I felt it verged on overdone and too flowery, but that’s a small consideration in an overall very good book.
I felt the conclusion arrived a bit abruptly. Jade had been insistent about what she was not going to do. With little fanfare, self-examination, or acknowledging the lessons learned though, she agreed to the task after all. A savvy reader saw that ending coming but I would have liked her to struggle with it a bit more, even (or especially) in the doing. But perhaps that is the core of book 3.
Love Lifted Me is due out next month.
Overall, I enjoyed it but I didn’t fall in love with it.
I recommend Softly & Tenderly, however, starting with book 1 would be best.
I received an e-copy of this book from Thomas Nelson for review purposes but it did not influence my thoughts or feelings about the book.