Softly and Tenderly - Sara Evans & Rachel Hauck
Released January 2011
Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth
Country musician Sara Evans pens her second novel with help from author Rachel Hauck. The second novel in the Songbird series continues Jade Benson's story
Jade and Max are happily married, or so it seems. Jade's continual struggles with fertility put a strain on their marriage. Max wants to try again, but Jade's been through a number of painful miscarriages and wants to take a break. As if this isn't enough, Jade walks in on her father-in-law and finds him half undressed with another woman. Worse yet, Jade's mother-in-law is with Jade when his cheating is discovered. Also, Jade's mother isn't going to survive her battle with leukemia and asks Jade to take her home to die. That's a triple whammy of negative events putting stress on Jade.
Jade's at her breaking point. Yet, life doesn't want to stop throwing curveballs. Someone drives into the front of Jade's store causing insurance battles as they try to rebuild. But, the worst is yet to come. Jade learns Max slept with his former fiancee, Rice, during his bachelor party. A child resulted from that one-night stand. When Rice dies in a plane crash, Max must step up and fight for custody of his son. Jade is furious that Max cheated on her and despondent over the loss of her friend. Jade decides now is the time to take her mother home. She's hoping that being home will help her deal with all these troubling events.
Softly and Tenderly is a great piece of fiction. I didn't read the original story, so I did feel like I'd missed some background. For that reason, I suggest reading the books in order. A lot is thrown at Jade all at once. I'm not sure I liked that, but it can happen. Her reactions to the stress in her life is very genuine. I'd want to run away too!
Watching Jade deal with each crisis as it occurs certainly makes for some interesting discussions. If you have a reading group, I highly suggest this novel. The ending leaves a lot open. I'm definitely curious to see how everything ends in the final book.