Friday, June 3, 2011

The Sweet By & By - Book Review

I received this book (and the sequel) from Jw on my birthday this year. I've been so busy with school and work that I didn't have a few hours to sit down and read. Leisure reading? That phrase is foreign to this college student..

Jade, a vintage consignment shop owner, is engaged to the love her life - lawyer Max Benson - and is certain she doesn't deserve him. The wedding will be perfect, due to her future mother-in-law's gracious spending and planning, but there's one problem. There's a little red envelope with her mother's name on it. Her childhood has hurt her, and she finds it hardly worthwhile to dig out the painful memories. However, she send the envelop. Then Jade’s hippie mother, Beryl Hill, arrives in Whisper Hollow, Tennessee, for Jade’s wedding along with Willow, Jade's wild younger sister. Tempers flare, lies surface, blame is thrown, and tears are wiped. 

[Click below to read more: SPOILER ALERT!]
Beryl has a reason for coming 3 weeks early: she is losing the secret war with leukemia.  Long story short, Jade AND her mother come around and let bygones be bygones - Jade not only learns to forgive her mother, but herself (for reasons that are too good to give out even in a spoiler) ! 

But Jade's not the only one forgiving. Jade breaks down on the way to Nashville in a little place called Beechgrove where her greatest blessing occurs. Somewhere within Jade has always been belief - in God. But one night outside that bed and breakfast, she confesses her sins, her pain, and her will to be forgiven. For the first time, Jade confessed faith in Jesus and prayed and wept for her child. (Argh, I let it go anyway!) Jade Freedom Fitzgerald was finally actually free.

The wedding goes a little awry, so to say. Jade's estranged father shows up at her wedding after Beryl calling him last minute, feeling it was the right thing to do.  Max walks his own bride down the aisle to the alter and after the ceremony her father she hadn't seen in over a decade had brought her a carriage with six white horses. Jade, after all she'd been through, finally believed in forever again.

Wow. Just, wow. This book surpassed my every expectation. The Christian novelist and Sara did a wonderful job of twirling bits and pieces of different eras, people, experiences, and emotions into one story. I even caught some of Sara's song lyrics tangled within the lines of the story, being the uber fan that I am of Sara Evans.

Jade's character was my favorite, not erratic or boring, easier to relate to. At the end of the book, something a preacher says to Jade after her encounter with Jesus struck a nerve with me and tears started rolling down my tired face at 3:30am. It was humbling, yet simple. It was a bit of information I already knew about our God, yet I had to read someone else learn it before I actually understood what a great blessing it is - to know that our God is static, never changing, never faultering, in His love and mercy for His children. It's hard to believe that someone like me, a lowly sinner, can be loved by such an important being, but HE does. There is no sin, no stain, too large for his grace to take away.

"In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore..."

1 comment:

Kristina Hammock said...

I love your new currently reading thing on the right hand side...very cool!