BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

THE SWEETEST THING by ELIZABETH MUSSER - REVIEWED

This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
The Sweetest Thing
 
• Bethany House (June 1, 2011)
 
by
 
Elizabeth Musser
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Elizabeth Musser, an Atlanta native, studied English and French literature at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. While at Vanderbilt, I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Aix-en-Provence,


France. During her Senior year at Vanderbilt, she attended a five-day missions conference for students and discovered an amazing thing: God had missionaries in France, and she felt God calling her there. After graduation, she spent eight months training for the mission field in Chicago, Illinois and then two years serving in a tiny Protestant church in Eastern France where she met her future husband.

Elizabeth lives in southern France with her husband and their two sons. She find her work as a mother, wife, author and missionary filled with challenges and chances to see God’s hand at work daily in her life. Inspiration for her novels come both from her experiences growing up in Atlanta as well as through the people she meets in her work in France. Many conversations within her novels are inspired from real-life conversations with skeptics and seekers alike.

Her acclaimed novel, The Swan House, was a Book Sense bestseller list in the Southeast and was selected as one of the top Christian books for 2001 by Amazon's editors. Searching for Eternity is her sixth novel.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Compelling Southern Novel Explores Atlanta Society in the 1930s.
The Singleton family’s fortunes seem unaffected by the Great Depression, and Perri—along with the other girls at Atlanta’s elite Washington Seminary—lives a life of tea dances with college boys and matinees at the cinema.  When tragedy strikes, Perri is confronted with a world far different from the one she has always known.

At the insistence of her parents, Mary ‘Dobbs’ Dillard, the daughter of an itinerant preacher, is sent from inner-city Chicago to live with her aunt and attend Washington Seminary.  Dobbs, passionate, fiercely individualistic and deeply religious, enters Washington Seminary as a bull in a china shop and shocks the girls with her frank talk about poverty and her stories of revival on the road.    Her arrival intersects at the point of Perri’s ultimate crisis, and the tragedy forges an unlikely friendship.

The Sweetest Thing tells the story of two remarkable young women—opposites in every way—fighting for the same goal: surviving tumultuous change. Just as the Great Depression collides disastrously with Perri's well-ordered life, friendship blossoms--a friendship that will be tested by jealousy, betrayal, and family secrets...

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Sweetest Thing, go HERE.

REVIEW 
THE SWEETEST THING
By Elizabeth Musser
Publisher Bethany House
ISBN#978-0-7642-0831-7
397 Pages

Back Cover: The Singleton family's fortunes seem unaffected by the Great Depression, and Perri--along with the other girls at Atlanta's elite Washington Seminary--lives a carefree life of tea dances with college boys, matinees at the cinema, and debut parties. But when tragedies strike, Perri is confronted with a world far different from the one she has always known.

At the insistence of her parents, Mary "Dobbs" Dillard, the daughter of an itinerant preacher, is sent from inner-city Chicago to live with her aunt and attend Washington Seminary, bringing confrontation and radical ideas. Her arrival intersects at the point of Perri's ultimate crisis, and the tragedy forges an unlikely friendship.

The Sweetest Thing tells the story of two remarkable young women--opposites in every way--fighting for the same goal: surviving tumultuous change.

Review: I was glad to receive a review copy of Elizabeth’s new book, The Sweetest Thing, takes place in Atlanta during the depression. I live in Atlanta so it was interesting to read and learn what the city looked like in the 1930’s and how people dealt with hard times.

Elizabeth pens a heart felt story of how two young ladies lives collide in the most unlikely way. Perri Singleton is a popular girl, used to the good life, planning social events and raised in a family with means. Mary Dobbs Dillard has grown-up poor. Her father was an evangelist and her family traveled around preaching revival. They had very little in worldly possessions but she was happy. Mary Dobbs knew a deep personal relationship with her Savior and had seen God provide for her family in very creative ways.

Mary Dobb’s Aunt has offered to help her Evangelistic brother and his family out by taking Mary Dobbs home with her to go to school in Atlanta. Overnight Mary Dobbs world changes in an incredible way. She’s never lived in a beautiful house or eaten so much on a daily basis. When Mary Dobbs starts to share stories about God with Perri Singleton she gets uncomfortable and wonders if they’re true. She never heard anyone talk about God like that. It was so personal.

Then tragedy strikes Perri’s life and her world turns upside down. Perri notices for the first time that Mary Dobbs has a kind heart, a listening ear and a zest for life a poor person shouldn't have. Perri and Mary Dobbs soon become unlikely friends.

Things get crazy as desperate people do desperate things in uncertain times. It’s easy to believe in God when times are good. Everyone’s faith is tested during the depression, even Mary Dobbs and her family. She seeks her mom’s advice with her doubts.

Her mom says, “My dear Mary Dobbs, faith doesn’t work that way. You don’t just believe in Him when you get everything you want…We share in the sufferings of others. We bear the burdens together. We take what comes and we believe. It’s not down here that it will all be equal and okay. It’s later!!!...Lord promises us sometimes we will have hardships and sufferings. He also promised he’d never leave us. His Holy presence is with us here..always!”

Mary Dobbs admits to her mom, “I don’t understand God at all.”

“Our part is to get to know God, as a father and a friend. But to understand Him? His ways are far past our understanding.”

I loved reading about these two girls and how each faced hardship differently.  Perri watches Mary Dobbs struggle with her faith and begins to see there just might be some truth in the stories she’s been telling and that God might be real!

The author tells the story from both girls points of view which I enjoyed. Each chapter switched from girl to girl the name of each was on the top of the chapter so you knew exactly who is speaking.

This book is so timely, as our economy took a nose dive a few years ago and we’ve been struggling ever since. Just like in the1930’s peoples faith has been tested. I loved what Elizabeth shared in her acknowledgements as she asks the question.

 “Does God provide in the midst of difficult circumstances?

I’ve been twenty years on the mission field watching Him provide for my family in original, and creative ways, let me answer the question with a resounding Yes! I have learned that the ways in which He provides is as important as the provision – and that it is His way, not mine!”

 So, true, so true. I highly recommend this story of faith, hope and love! And you’ll walk away from Elizabeth’s story knowing the greatest of these is love!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org

2 comments:

  1. I just finished reading this book.....loved it!! It is one of the best books I have ever read; absolutely fantastic. She did a great job portraying the Atlanta area, etc. I used to work there, shop there, and could identify with the book so much! A great read!!!

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  2. I have been looking for this kind of book.really find interesting and insightful. Everything you describe, makes it seems like a book I'd love.I loved this book for the beauty of the writing.
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