Softly and Tenderly is the second in the Songbird series by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck, and my review is a year (cough) a little overdue. But lucky for me, there is no time limit on great fiction. If you haven't read this series yet, now is the perfect time to pick it up since all three books have been released.
Evans and Hauck fill this story with women who are easy to like. Jade is your best girlfriend and her mother Beryl is an aging hippie with a lifetime of interesting stories. But my favorite character is Jade's mother-in-law, June, who volunteers her pink Cadillac for a road trip adventure Jade's not likely to forget. June is deliciously southern and deeply complex, and the dynamics of her marriage to Rebel make perfect fodder for book club discussions.
Women's fiction is not my genre of choice, but I make exceptions for any novel Rachel Hauck's name is attached to. Still, I knew I wasn't in romance-land anymore when I fell heels-over-kindle in love with a character who was not the hero. Seeing as how Jade's husband's name is Max, wearing my Team Dustin tee shirt to this review is probably inappropriate (but if Sara and Rachel ever give him his own book, I'm breaking it out of storage!)
Fans of women's fiction will find Softly and Tenderly a satisfying, if bittersweet, ride. Just be sure to pack your tissues because you will cry big, fat, chunky tears along the way.
Want more info? Here's the product description (from Barnes and Noble):
Maybe out there in the country she could catch her breath, learn to breathe again...
Happily married and owner of two successful boutiques, Jade longs to begin a family with her husband, Max. But when she discovers that Max has an illegitimate son-who he wants her to help raise-Jade's life is turned upside down.
She flees to her childhood home, a rambling Iowa farmhouse, with enough room to breathe. There-while her mother's health grows fragile, and the tug of her first love grows stronger-Jade begins to question everything she thought she knew about family, love, and motherhood. In the wide-open landscape, Jade begins to see a future that doesn't rest on the power of her past but in the goodness of God's tender mercies.