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Monday, June 6, 2011

The Sweetest Thing

Combining two of my favorites subjects to read about (the south and the great Depression), Elizabeth Musser takes her readers back to a turbulent time of fear and uncertainty during the 1930’s.   The Sweetest Thing is told through the eyes of two main characters, Anne “Perri” Singleton who lives a life of plenty, and Mary Dobbs Dillard who lives a life of want.  

Circumstances created by the Depression cause the lives of these two very different young women to collide and from that meeting a wonderful story of faith, friendship and coming of age is born.  This was the first book I’ve read by this author and I can’t believe I haven’t discovered her books sooner.  Her writing, which she refers to as “entertainment with a soul”, is vivid and emotional and I thought about these characters long after I finished this book. 

Surprisingly, there was quite a bit of mystery and suspense in this story which I wasn’t expecting.  Add that to the contrast of Anne and Mary’s lives and how they have been shaped by their different backgrounds and you’ve got a captivating story.

The author makes the characters and their struggles very real and vulnerable; this isn’t a sticky sweet Christian fiction novel where everything stays neat and tidy and everyone lives happily ever after.   The characters face hardships, trials and heartaches that are very easy to relate to.  I appreciate that Elizabeth intertwined faith all throughout this book and she created characters who felt and expressed things that all of us at some point have probably wondered.

I love the idea that Elizabeth took inspiration for this book from her grandmother’s diaries and explored what happened during this time period.  The Alms Houses written about in this book are still in use, although the names have been changed.  Based on how much I enjoyed this book, I definitely plan to read more titles by this author in the future.

Highly recommend this story!

This book was provided free for review by Bethany House Publishers



From Back of the Book:
Anne "Perri" Singleton's world is defined by the security of family, the camaraderie of friends at an exclusive, Atlanta's girls' school, and an enviable social life. She isn't looking for new friends when Mary Dobbs Dillard arrives from Chicago. Besides, "Dobbs," the passionate and fiercely individualistic daughter of an itinerant minister, is her opposite in every way.

But just as the Great Depression collides disastrously with Perri's well-ordered, friendship blossoms—a friendship that will be tested by jealousy, betrayal, and family secrets....

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