Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Sweetest Thing

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Sweetest Thing
• Bethany House (June 1, 2011)
Elizabeth Musser


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.


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.

The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser is a beautiful story of friendship between two young women in 1930s Atlanta, Georgia. Perri Singleton is the most popular girl in Atlanta, gaining the nickname of "girl of a thousand dates" for her beauty and charm. Mary Dobbs Dillard doesn't quite fit in like Perri when she moves from Chicago to stay with her aunt and attend school in Atlanta to help out her financially strapped family. Dobbs' father is a pastor who often gives away his own family's food to others in need, and in the midst of the Depression, there is always someone in need. Dobbs and Perri make an immediate connection, one so deep and rare that they become inseparable. But when Perri's father commits suicide after terrible financial losses, it plunges her family into their struggle to survive, removing her from the social circle she's always occupied and pushing her into the arms of Spaulding, a rich college boy who could return Perri and her family to the lifestyle they are accustomed to. Dobbs left Chicago with an understanding with Hank, but the allure of living comfortably makes her question all that she knew and held to be true, especially when illness threatens the life of her younger sister. There are some books that you read that don't pull you in because of the story: Perri and Dobbs' friendship is not an unusual story, especially with the Southern hook; you read them because of the writer, because of the beauty and elegance of the writing. This is that book. Musser pulls readers completely into the world of Perri and Dobbs, both facing terrible choices in their young lives and trying to figure out just where God fits in. Narration alternates between the two girls, and Musser does a remarkable job of portraying them through the actual writing styles. Dobbs' words tumble out almost on top of each other, bouncing from topic to topic with no warning or breath. Perri's chapters are more restrained, much like the young woman herself, she tries to portray a certain image of herself, even to readers. There's also a mystery here with stolen jewelry, but the real story is that of Perri and Dobbs growing up together. It's compelling and poignant and feels very, very real. With this novel, Musser has placed herself on my "favorite authors" list.