“Softly and Tenderly” is the second book in the Songbird series by country star Sara Evans and talented novelist Rachel Hauck. Jade Fitzgerald Benson has married into what she calls a “Southern soap opera”, with a husband who is a high-powered attorney and a recovering addict, a father-in-law who is angling for a political appointment and a mother-in-law who is travels in high Southern society and expects Jade to do the same. Yet Jade has a family soap opera of her own, with a terminally ill hippie mother and siblings scattered from Alaska to Guatemala, not to mention her own personal crises of multiple failed pregnancies and two antique stores with issues.
If that’s not enough soap opera content for you, don’t worry, there’s more coming as you get deeper into the story. Unlike soap operas, however, the characters in this book are capable of making decisions, facing their problems and working to solve them, leaning on their faith and growing as people and as Christians.
This is a great read, and well-deserving of the starred review that Booklist gave it. I have not read the first book in this series. The book stands complete on its own, and there is plenty of background in this book so that it is enjoyable without reading the first. However, that same background information may have spoiled the first book for me.
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