Sunday, February 20, 2011

Softly and Tenderly by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck

Softly and Tenderly (A Songbird Novel)

Considering that Sara Evans is a country artist, I decided to accept that it was going to be full of heartbreak, cheating spouses, tragic death, surprise kin, and a dog that was so tired of all the grief, s/he runs away, too.

I jest.  But just a little.

The protagonist finds herself pelted on every side as she is balancing the the knowledge of her husband's addiction, her husband's parents marriage that holds secrets she is commanded to keep, infertility, more secrets by her husband, having to care for an ailing mother then finding herself face to face with the husband she married too young and too soon resulting in a couple of kids not quite mature enough to make it work - but could it now?

As I write all the challenges this woman has to face, and I haven't even mentioned her professional challenges or friendship losses, I would seriously raise a sardonic eyebrow and say something like, "Sheez!  It isn't like it's Nicholas Sparks or anything!"  But then I rethink.

In my own life I experienced challenges that nearly did me in.  Still at the bottom of the barrel, another one slammed against me.  The truth is that when it rains, it pours OR things seem bigger when I'm in a bad place in the first place.  I can't decide which.  No, never mind.  I decided.  It pours.

So what can the protagonist do in this situation?  She reconnects with good-ole ex-hubby and he's grown up a lot just like she has.  If she chooses to start something with him, she will no longer have to deal with her current in-laws, she'd no longer be straddled with a kid she didn't give birth to, no longer deal with a husband with an addiction problem.  True, her friend is still dead and Jade is still Jade but wouldn't it be tempting?  

Perhaps this is giving too much away, but I found the story to be full of hope.  Jade decides she can do hard things.  She also discovers that gratitude can be found every day.  Loved it.

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