Nov 292010
 

Jade has finally lost her heart and will be marrying Max in just five weeks.

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Now all she has to do is to mail the invitations. Easy, right? Well, there is one of those invitations that Jade isn’t quite ready to send… the one to her mother. The mother she just can’t quite forgive. The mother who drove Jade’s father away. The mother who drove three other husbands away. The mother who deserted her.

Jade past may be murky but she’s pulled up her boot straps and moved on. Because that is what you are supposed to do. Right? It’s really a good thing that Max agrees that the past should stay in the past because Jade doesn’t want to dredge up all of that stuff again. She’s been through it once is there a reason to go through it again? Forgiveness is forgetting, right?

My Thoughts

Wow. This was quite a powerful book. From the moment I opened it I was hooked. I couldn’t help but empathize with Jade’s relationships with her parents and grandparents. I was crying before I was even through the first chapter!

I’m not giving you a long review of my thoughts but you can read the answers to the book’s discussion questions below.

Rating: A
Buy or Borrow: Buy – It’s a re-reader
Steam: None – Some references to steam & abortion.

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As part of the Christian Fiction Book Club hosted by Juju at Tales of Whimsey this month we’ve been asked to answer one of the discussion questions posed at the end of the book. As some of you may not have the questions in your book, I’ve typed them all and given short answers for each.

Discussion Questions

** Please, note – If you are unable to see the answer it’s because I believe that it’s a spoiler. Just highlight the area to review my answer.

  1. In the opening scene, Jade struggles with sending a wedding invitation to her mother. A deep wound has distanced them. Have you or anyone you’ve been close to struggled with inviting a parent to a personal and family-oriented event? Is there ever any benefit to not inviting a parent to a child’s wedding? Is there a benefit to putting the hurt aside for the day?
    My family is frequently fractured so it was very easy for me to put myself in Jade’s position. I didn’t invite my father to my wedding and often regret that decision. However, I know that including him in that day was probably a good decision – there would have been many others that were hurt and may not have attended if he had been included.
  2. In the opening scene, Mama — Beryl — struggles to open the back door of her parents old farm home because her arms are full. What does this symbolize? Are there physical things in your life that symbolize your emotional or spiritual life? Are they positive or negative? Can you change them?
    Absolutely! I frequently have scares when I’m driving thinking the car is out of control when I know that I’m just currently not feeling like I have a handle on my life. When I start to pray and ask for peace the scares stop and I enjoy driving again.
  3. In the pastor’s office, Jade has an odd experience. What did you think of this experience? Have you ever had something similar happen? How long did it last? How did you respond?
    I’ve had panic attacks for years. Finding peace is the only way to get past them and I’ve found that they are their worst when I’m not completely trusting in Him as I should.
  4. Jade and Max decide to let their pasts stay in the past. Is there wisdom here? How can letting the past stay out of the present benefit your heart and relationships? How might it hinder? When is it right to talk about the past? When is it best to let issues of the past go?
    There is wisdom in keeping your past in the past but only after it’s been dealt with. You can’t move past something until you’ve faced it, admitted your failures, forgiven others for their failures, and have begun to forget. There is a huge difference but a fine line between getting over something and avoiding it.
  5. Beryl is a product of the ’60s and “Summer of Love” generation. How did the philosophy of the day impact her life while growing from teenager to adult? Was there a significant event that began her spiritual journey? Did you have moment like this? How has it impacted you over the years?
    Grr. You just do not want to get me started on her! I’ve still not forgiven her! Ugh!! I need help!!
  6. When Jade was eight, her father Harlan left the family. How did this event shadow her through life? What is the significance of a father’s presence on a son’s/daughter’s life? How has your life been impacted by the presence or absence of a parent?
    Many times when a father isn’t present in a young girls’ life she’ll look for the figure throughout her life… until she finds that all she need is her Father. Even then, sometimes it’s hard to remember to focus on the Father that matters.
  7. Jade met Dustin in high school. How did this relationship impact her? What does he bring to her? Did you have a significant relationship as a teen? Think how such a relationship can help or hinder you. Would you do what Jade and Dustin did?
    Jade thought she had finally found that male relationship she needed and the person that would never leave her. She had to learn that you can’t put your trust in people – they will always disappoint – only God will ever be true the way we long.
  8. As an adult, Jade runs a vintage shop? What does this symbolize? How does her physical and external life reflect her emotional, internal life?
    I think that she just longs for things to be simpler and return to when she was a child before her world turned upside down.
  9. What created the wedge between Jade and Beryl? Do you and someone you care about have an unresolved issue? Do you want to resolve it?
    Jade desperately needed Beryl to be a mom and Beryl was unable to put Jade before herself. Jade never could forgive her mother for deserting her when she needed a mother’s comfort.
  10. Why didn’t Jade want to admit her part in the abortion? Do you have issues you are hesitant to face because you don’t want to take responsibility for the part you played? If you’ve lived through and overcome a hard situation like abortion or addiction, can you share your success with the group?
    To admit that she was responsible for something that Jade felt deep down was wrong was just more than she could deal with. There are many mistakes in my life that it ook me a long time to admit were my mistakes – especially when my mistake consisted mainly of just ‘going along for the ride.’
  11. When Jade is on the porch at Miss Linda’s, she senses a presence manifested by wind and heat. Have you ever had a supernatural encounter? How did it impact you? Did Jade understand in this moment that God loved her and forgave her? Do you realize this?
    I believe that when our situation calls for a physical manifestation of God that He will always be there. I think the Jade desperately needed to KNOW that she was forgiven and that it was okay to forgive herself.
  12. Why does Harlan show up at the wedding? What do you think of Jade’s response?
    I think that it was wonderful that he could finally admit that he was wrong. I think that her response showed that she had been forgiven and was able to forgive.
  13. It is important to remember the good years. In the epilogue, Jade wants to hang a calendar on the shop wall that represents a good year she had. Consider setting up a monument in your heart (on a wall in your home) to note the blessings you’ve received. If you are in a group, talk about the kind of year you’re having.
    So far this year has been crazy but I see God’s work more and more each day – in my life and in the lives around me.

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  9 Responses to “The Sweet By and By”

  1. 1. I LOVE that you loved this.
    2. You typed them all out? You rock.
    3. I love your take on why she loves vintage things. I hadn't thought of it that way but it makes total sense.
    4. I liked the Harlan aspect but felt it was too easy and should have been fleshed out a bit more.

  2. I really liked your review…it almost makes me feel bad that I didnt like it…:P I agree with Juju I liked your vintage analogy.

  3. I love that books, the written words from an author's heart, can touch our lives with such power! Thanks for sharing your response to this story. It really helped me appreciate it more. I could relate to Jade's family situation more than I could relate to her as a character.

    And I can relate to your panic attacks. I haven't had one in a few years. But there was a time in my life when I woke every morning afraid and would have to tell myself, "Nothing bad is going to happen today. You're safe. The folks you love are safe. etc." Somehow God changed that in me, and I'm so thankful!

    Blessings, Gina!

  4. Thanks, Ladies! I love doing these with each of you. It's fun to see what each of us thought before reading each others reviews and I love that each of us bring a different aspect to the table – because of our lives we each are pulled by different aspects of the same books.
    I'm gearing up for December's CFBC book – Grace. How about you?

  5. Great responses Gina! I love your answer to number 11. I completely believe that too. I haven't had any supernatural encounters (other than being saved, that's supernatural in itself), but my husband was born in Africa and he has tons of stories. I think God uses what He needs to, to reach the person in the way He needs to reach them.

  6. Look at you go! So great that you answered all the questions and with such openess. I had HUGE issues with Beryl throughout the book. I just wanted to reach in and shake her. I feel like even the end, Beryl never fully matures. I agree with Juju that Harlan's return was resolved too quickly. There was years of hurt that needed to be resolved, but it was only given a few pages.

  7. Gina: I can't wait for my December one either 🙂

    Tina: LOL Me too girl 🙂 *high five*

    Joy: Oooo I liked 11 too. That was probably my favorite part of the book.

    Renee Ann: The panic attack part was fascinating to me 🙂 I've never had one so it was cool to read such a good description of what it feels like.

  8. I agree, Gina–I'm looking forward to discussing Grace. I like that the choices in the book clubs I've participated in have been so different–from historical fiction to women's fiction to (for next month) Amish fiction. I'm ready for a sweet, quick read that will remind us what the point of all the December busy-ness is!

  9. Renee Ann: Oooo me too! Something that reminds us of the important reason for the season 🙂 *high five*

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