Friday, December 31, 2010
Softly & Tenderly by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck
Softly & Tenderly is the second book in the Songbird series by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck, which continues the story of Jade Benson. After being happily married for two years, Jade's life begins to unravel with the discovery that her husband, Max, has a young son from a previous relationship. Facing the impending loss of her mother who is battling leukemia, Jade runs to her childhood home in Prairie City, Iowa. While trying to overcome feelings of betrayal, anger, and grief, Jade begins to question the life that she has built. The presence of Dustin, her first love, is both comforting and dangerous for Jade's tumultuous emotions. By returning home Jade reaches a crossroad in her life, but which path will she take?
After reading The Sweet By and By, the prequel to this novel, I definitely wanted to read Softly & Tenderly. I initially thought that the sequel may focus on Willow, Jade's younger sister, but it is very fitting that the authors chose to continue Jade's story. When reading most books, I expect the endings to tie up nicely because don't we all want to hear about the "happily ever afters"? Just as their debut novel introduced characters with flaws and weaknesses, Softly & Tenderly, serves as a reminder that marriages do not lead to "happily ever afters" where every issue is blissfully resolved. Each person in a family struggles with doubt, weaknesses, anger, sorrow, and sometimes deeply guarded secrets. Despite these hurdles, hopefully the power to unite in times of need and lean on their faith and each other, each family member will be healed by forgiveness and the power of love.
Like real-life, Jade's struggles are not resolved by the end of the book; but as a reader, I have my ideas about the direction that she might be heading. I look forward to reading the conclusion of the Songbird series, Love Lifted Me, upon its release during the winter of 2012.
Just as a side-note, this series would make a great Hallmark or Lifetime movie and to the tune of a country song.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookSneeze through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”