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Book Review: The Sweet By and By by Sara Evans with Rachel Hauck

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Jade finally found the man to love her forever. When Jade’s mother is invited to her wedding, her presence dredges up the past Jade worked so hard to keep hidden. Will her secrets stay buried, or is it time for Jade to tell the whole truth?

The Sweet By and By has characters so real you can substitute their names for someone you know. From looking at the cover, you may think this is going to be a warm fuzzy book to read by a fire. Go ahead and read it by the fire, but let me tell you: the character on the cover is asleep because she needs the rest!  She's not in blissful dreamland.  After growing up with a neglectful mother and carrying her own secrets, that poor girl needs to lay down her heavy emotional baggage.

But don’t we all carry baggage? That’s what makes this book so relatable. So good. I could relate to Jade, even when I initially didn’t understand her and thought her whiny and suspicious. As the flashback scenes revealed the pain behind her actions, I began to root for her and hoped she could move beyond the pain of her past.

Her mother, Beryl, made me so mad I shook the book. Why? Because I saw two of my family members making the same mistakes as Beryl. Sometimes you want to bop people on the head and say, “Pay attention to your children; they didn’t ask to be here!” But just like those family members, Beryl needs prayer and a Savior, so I rooted for her too.

My only peeve is that the ending came too soon, a pivotal scene feeling a bit rushed. Overall, this story of accepting and loving the family you have, forgiving others as well as ourselves, and letting go of the regret from our past will stay with readers for a very long time.

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