The Sweet By and By, by Sara Evans with Rachel Hauck
Though Jade and Mac are getting married, they have agreed not to share the skeletons in their closets. Both have secrets that they are ashamed of and don’t want to discuss.
Some of Jade’s problems revolve around her relationship with her parents. She can’t forgive her mom, Beryl, for being a selfish, irresponsible hippie, and has mixed feelings about inviting her to the wedding. She’s had no contact with her father since he abandoned the family years ago. Jade also hasn’t forgiven herself for something she did as a teenager, and it makes her feel unworthy of the good things that come her way.
Mac is a successful lawyer, but his mother is a meddling do-gooder who won’t allow Mac or Jade to make their own decisions. Mac makes excuses for her, saying she’s just trying to help. He loves Jade and forgives her for lying to him about several important things in her past. He is religious, but doesn’t care that Jade isn’t sure of her salvation.
Beryl wants to mend her relationship with Jade for reasons of her own. When she comes to town, things come out in the open and everyone has to face their past.
I would not consider this an inspirational romance; it’s more a mainstream novel, with controversial subject matter. There were some interesting twists, and the dialog was well-written, but the characters seemed shallow and the ending was unrealistic. I also thought the authors portrayed the “religious” people as close-minded and petty.
I think some people may find hope in the theme, which emphasizes that God’s love and forgiveness is there for everyone, no matter what they’ve done. However, I didn’t enjoy reading the book, and I don’t personally recommend it.
The publisher, Thomas Nelson, provided this book for review.