The Sweetest Thing
By Elizabeth Musser
Published by Bethany House
Anne "Perri" Singleton's world I 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....
The Sweetest Thing is the saga of two friends, who endure heartbreak and trials beyond what most teens ever face. 1933 Atlanta showcases the wealth and poverty of the era. Elizabeth Musser is a master storyteller, who weaves her magic into characters that come alive on the page. It reminded me so much of my childhood friends, that I didn't want it to end. Novel Journey and I give The Sweetest Thing a very high recommendation. A perfect summer read.
Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan, editor
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 the 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!
Reviewed by: Nora St.LaurentFinding Hope Through Fiction