Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Sweet By and By

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Timestamp: 2010-01-08 04:42:54 UTC

Congrats to Carla Gade! Email me your address, Carla, and I'll send the book your way!

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Country music singer Sara Evans has released her first novel, co-written with established novelist Rachel Hauck and published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. I'm not a country music fan, so I wasn't familiar with her. This is the story of a soon-to-be bride who bears the scars of being born to restless, post-Woodstock hippie parents with few morals. Jade reluctantly invites her vagabond mom to the wedding, but she isn't prepared when Beryl arrives three weeks ahead of schedule. The closet spills forth its skeletons, forcing Jade to face both her memories and her mother.

A redemptive story from multi-platinum recording artist Sara Evans.
Jade Fitzgerald left the pain of her past in the dust when she headed out for college a decade ago. Now she's thriving in her career and glowing in the light of Max Benson's love.

But then Jade's hippie mother, Beryl Hill, arrives in Whisper Hollow, Tennessee, for Jade's wedding along with Willow, her wild younger sister. Their arrival forces Jade to throw open the dark closets of her past--the insecurity of living with a restless, wandering mother, the silence of her absent father, and the heart-ripping pain of first-love's rejection.

Turns out Beryl has a secret of her own. She needs reconciliation with her oldest daughter before illness takes her life. In the final days leading to the wedding, Jade meets the One who shows her that the past has no hold on her future. With a little grace, they'll meet in the middle, maybe even before that sweet by and by.

Multi-platinum recording artist Sara Evans has been honored with numerous accolades, among them the 2006 Academy of Country Music’s Female Vocalist of the Year and the Country Music Association’s Video of the Year for “Born to Fly." Evans has been named one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People" and won the hearts of television viewer's as the first-ever country star to compete in ABC's Dancing with the Stars. Sara is a Cabinet Member of The American Red Cross.

Best-selling and award-winning author Rachel Hauck lives in central Florida with her husband, Tony, a pastor. A graduate of Ohio State University, she left the corporate software marketplace in '04 to write full time.

Dysfunctional is an understatement for this family. The story moves back and forth between Jade's current life, her flashbacks of her troubled teen years, and her mother's poor choices. Jade must come to terms with the baggage of her life and realize that she can't blame her mother for everything. There are plenty of histrionics in the process, and her fiance deserves a medal for not running as fast as he can the opposite direction. While I didn't dislike the book, it did make me a bit weary. (I did like the way it portrayed consequences of certain bad choices, which can only be overcome by Jade facing her responsibility in her own past actions. ) Since I don't know anything about Sara Evans, I'm not sure if this book is simply another avenue of self-promotion or whether she has a genuine heart to be a Christian witness in the secular and self-serving world of country music. From a perusal of her website (and only Rachel Hauck's website is linked on the Thomas Nelson product page, which is not surprising, considering the fairly provocative pictures on Sara's site) and the prominence of her name and picture on the front and back covers of the book, I'm inclined to think it's the first, which is a shame. Her celebrity status wouldn't draw me to this book; on the other hand, if I saw evidence of a genuine heart for God, it would make me more prone to try out her music.

(A side commentary about the "co-written" part; fans of Sara Evans tend to give her most of the credit for the book, especially if they haven't heard of Rachel Hauck. I tend to have the opposite view, and I cite Sara's acknowledgements at the end of the book, where she thanks Rachel "for truly hearing me and 'getting' me and helping me put my story into words on paper.")

I'd love to pass this book along to one of her fans; let me know in the comments if you're interested (be sure to include an email). If there's more than one, I'll let Random.org pick the winner Thursday after 12:00 noon CST. (US Residents only)

You can purchase this book from the publisher or at Amazon.


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Carla Gade said...

It sounds like a great book. I'd love to read it.


carlagade [at] gmail [dot] com

SusanD said...

What an interesting book. I can so relate to this abnormally normal family. Thanks for sharing your insights on the book and offering it. I'd love to read it. Blessings, SusanD

Unknown said...

I read this book too. I have to say in my opinion when a book has a "co-writer" it's because a famous person has an idea, but can't write a lick. the co-writer WROTE the book.

Great review. I agree with what you said.

Unknown said...

Sara Evans and I are practically neighbors - both of us living in The Ham and all...

Oh the dysfunctional family - I can so relate. I don't think I really even thought dysfunction when I read it but now that you've said it...You're RIGHT!

I enjoyed the book and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

Sara Evans is a country music star. On her site, she looks like she's about 12, but I feel she's a little older than that :-).

Thanks for the different perspective. I always appreciate your opinion!!

Anonymous said...

thank you Linda for the opportunity to read this fabulous book...it's on my 'wish list.' I have enjoyed Rachel's other masterpieces.


Cathy said...

I really don't know anything about either author, but I'd like to read this book. Sounds interesting.

Mary Lou said...

Sounds like an interesting read. I really don't know anything about either person, but would love to read the book. Thanks for doing this.
Mary Lou

Carole said...

Don't enter me in the contest because it should be coming to me soon through PBS. I just wanted to tell you that I appreciated your review, Linda. I was drawn to the book by its title, and then more by Rachel as author than Sara. All I know about Sara is from seeing her on Dancing with the Stars recently, but I do hope she has a heart for God.

Carla Gade said...

Thank you so much for the book! I can't belive I won. Blessings!!!!