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Softly and Tenderly (2011)


Just when life was starting to look up for Jade Benson - she's married lawyer Max and reunited with her mother Beryl - a whole new set of challenges come along. Desperate for a baby, Jade is heartbroken when her doctor informs her that she cannot carry full-term and her mother is diagnosed with leukaemia. When Max and his mother June start pressuring her for a child, Jade is torn between God's way and the modern options of surrogacy and adoption. When tragedy strikes and Max's ex-girlfriend is found dead, it seems that she left behind something for Max - a son. This revelation causes Jade to re-evaluate her marriage. Softly and Tenderly, the sequel to The Sweet By and By, is the sort of novel that shows that when your whole world comes crumbling down, good friends and family can help save the day. (PP)

The Sweet By and By (2009)


Jade Freedom Fitzgerald's life is for once looking up - she owns an antique shop called The Blue Umbrella, she has a good set of friends and she is about to get married to lawyer Max Benson. Jade wants a nice, quiet intimate wedding but her interfering mother-in-law is planning an extravagant event including expensive red-enveloped invitations. The story starts with Jade contemplating whether to send an invitation to her hippie mother, Beryl, who's still living like it's the 1960s. As the wedding nears, all Jade's secrets from her past start to surface, such as ex-fiances, her estranged father and her dysfunctional family. Armed with her two close friends whose dreams are to go on Oprah, her trusty one-eyed dog Roscoe and her quirky antique shop, can Jade move forward into married life without losing who she really is and will she fit in with her husband-to-be's socialite friends and family or will it just be too much for her to handle? This collaborative effort by country singer-songwriter Sara Evans and Christian author Rachel Hauck is an amazing read which tells a story about chasing dreams, travelling endless miles to get where you want to be and having the faith that no matter how much you focus on the future, you have to open and accept the past in order to move forward. (PP)

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