Secrets are funny things. People think of them as protection, but they're really poison! As the lives of a boisterous pastor's wife, polished news anchor, and beleaguered divorce attorney intersect, scandal threatens to topple their carefully constructed worlds. Can Scarlet, Grace, and Zach find their way back to laughter, love, and life?
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23 out of 23100%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Secrets over Sweet Tea - eBook
From the publisher's webpage: "Secrets can be funny things. We think they keep us safe, but more often than not, they spill out when we least expect and make a mess out of everything. It’s a truth Scarlett Jo Newberry knows all too well—a truth Grace Shepherd and Zach Craig are about to learn the hard way. As the lives of this boisterous pastor’s wife, polished news anchor, and beleaguered divorce attorney intersect in the tree-lined streets of Franklin, Tennessee, scandal threatens to topple their carefully constructed worlds. Grasping at survival, they embark on a journey of friendship and courage, desperate to find a way back to laughter, love, and life."
I immediately loved this book from the first chapter. I really enjoyed the way she describes every character. I especially loved the character of Scarlett Jo. I really identified with her. My favorite paragraph early on in the book,"But Scarlett Jo thought it was something else. It was because, for the most part, she was nothing but herself. What you saw was what you got. It had taken her a long time and a lot of pain to get there. And people responded to that." when referring to why she generally made friends easily and got along with others. I love the fullness of the characters.
Serious issues were portrayed with humor and tact. When I saw the title, I thought this book would be about gossip, but quite the contrary. There certainly was a lot of sweet tea, but it fit into the story well. The ladies learned to communicate, to deal with the past, and to allow friendship to grow. There was thought-provoking advice on how to guard the heart. The secrets and trials of all the characters were given quite a sensitive and lovely treatment by this author. Even a man’s point of view was given, and issues were resolved in a touching way. I thought the characters were real, human, multi-faceted, and likeable. I cannot say it better than Denise Hildreth Jones: “The journey was at times excruciating. The joys, however, have been breathtaking.”
At first, the characters can be difficult to keep track of (see my list below). I enjoyed the book and loved Scarlett Jo's ability to say and do almost anything and that she cared so much. Her exercise class comments are hilarious!! The book should've included some recipes, the desserts sound so good it would be good to bake them while you're reading.
I liked how Grace and Tyler handled each of their situations, turning to God and waiting on Him. But I'm not sure Grace should have gone as far as she did. I'm not sure about the "reclaiming" your heart part. On the surface it makes sense but I could see it being pushed to an unbiblical perspective. I would need to look into the non-fiction book she's written, Reclaiming Your Heart, to fully recommend this concept.
Scarlett Jo - married to Jackson (a pastor) and has 5 boys. Grace - married to Tyler (a professional hockey player) and has no children though she'd like them. Miss Daisy - Grace's dog. Rachel - best friend to Grace. Zach - married to Caroline and has 2 daughters (twins) but is having an affair. Adele - Caroline's mother.
Denise Hildreth Jones combines the stories of Scarlett Jo, Jackson, Rachel, Grace, Tyler, Zach & Caroline into one terrific read. Grace, Zach & Caroline must overcome their brokenness and discover their own path in life with help from Rachel, Jackson, and the lovely vibrant Scarlett Jo who must overcome her own past which she thought was buried deep. I loved Scarlett Jo and was disappointed the book ended.
I loved this book; makes me thirsty for some good old Southern Sweet Tea. What struck me the most in this book was the emphasis on finding your own heart. Until you know who you are and where you are headed, you will find it hard to help someone else or even resolve relationship issues. I have to love Scarlet Jo who was as authentic as they came; but even she needed to remember her heart and the hearts of those around her so she could pick up the pieces and move on. It was a good read for me for the stage in life I am in right now. It has helped me to want to know my own heart and to live passionately and authentically.
Although I found the first 50 pages of this book like the skin of a banana, you must get through them to discover a delicious, fascinating fruit or story involving a group of ladies who have typical marriage difficulties they are trying to hide. The book opens with Scarlett Jo, wife of Pastor Jackson, walking in her neighborhood, praying for the people in the houses she’s passing. There is Caroline and Zack Craig’s house with their two children, Lacy and joy. Zack, a divorce attorney who often sees the problems of divorces in his line of work, still wants to escape his own marriage, but is hesitant to talk to his wife Caroline about his feelings. Grace Shepherd, a UT graduate and a childless news anchor, is married to Tyler who is always finding them a different house to live in, causing frequent moves and promising that this is the last move. Only Grace’s brave move to quit her job as news anchor and open a tea house to serve dainty sandwiches and small scones causes the women to ban together to help her and in conversations become honest about their problems. Though friendship, honest openness about problems as well as dreams, and a wiliness to help each other, their marriages become strengthened. This is a great book for someone with possible marriage problems to read so they can benefit from the value of sharing problems with trustworthy friends and becoming stronger as individuals. It doesn’t sugar coat problems or indicate that all problems will disappear in every marriage, but it does indicate that just as crutches will help someone with a broken leg to walk, so will friends help support friends going through tough times.
I didn’t want this novel to end. The characters seemed so real and the author brought out so many causes of hurt found in the church today. Divorce is not pretty and this book addresses it with its baggage. And like life, this book doesn’t end with a fairy tale ending, but instead with eyes focused on Christ. I found myself totally identifying with Rachel, and wondering how I would have tolerated Scarlett Jo – what a character!
Denise Jones’s book, Secrets over Sweet Tea, was an interesting read. The characters were delightful and seemed to be life-like. In fact, I could picture people I know as some the characters in the book. The main characters are Scarlett, who is a quirky pastor’s wife, Jackson, who is the pastor, Grace, who is going through a divorce, and Zach, who is struggling to save his marriage. Scarlett is able to read people very well and always seems to know what to say to them to help them see truths. Grace is a sweet woman who is not loved by her cold husband and goes to a lawyer, Zach, to get a divorce. Meanwhile, Zach has a secret of his own: he has been having an affair because he feels his wife does not need him anymore. Scarlett gives friendship to Grace and helps her to find her heart again and live freely while Jackson takes Zach under his wing to help him do the same. Throughout this book, the author stresses that everyone has brokenness in their life, but God can heal us if we come to Him. I found that this is a message that we all need to hear because there is so much hurt in the world and it is true that God can heal so that we can live freely.
Scarlett Jo has a secret, and so do others in town, including Grace and Craig. As a pastor's wife, Scarlett Jo seeks to help those in need, like Grace and Craig.
I really liked this book. Scarlett Jo is funny and crazy, something others don't always appreciate. She is friendly to those in her neighborhood and church, wanting to help those who are struggling, like Grace. Other characters in the book have their quirks as well, which makes for a great read.
In the town of Franklin, Tennessee are 3 very different couples, with 3 very different secrets. As these couples learn more about each other, they learn that they each have their own secrets, secrets they don't like, but as they learn more about each other they realize that they can help each other heal...with God's help. This is the first book I have read by Jones and I loved it. The setting in this book is Franklin, Tn, which makes for a sweet and tender read. While this book has some sadness and tenderness, it's a great, sweet read that shows what hope you can have when you have Jesus. This was an easy, southern read, that painted a beautiful picture of what life looks like when you have Jesus, not always easy, but always hope-filled. I loved this book!
Realistic characters, theme and storyline made this book a great read. Not just a fun story, but enough "true to life" in the situations and characters to make it hard to put down. I loved the themes emphasizing that we are all broken in some way, and the only help for us is in God.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I loved the southern characters, and had the right amount of humor. I would also recommend it to any one who is going through a divorce or just need some positive thought in their life.
Being from the north, I enjoy reading books set in the south. Jones does a great job creating deep characters who are pretty realistic. Scarlett Jo is the boisterous wife of a pastor of a church plant. They have five boys. She kind of reminds me of my pastor's wife so I was entertained by her. She walks through the town of Franklin, TN every morning praying over each home and the families that live inside. She lives out loud and full of joy.
I loved the theme of reclaiming your joy. It really hit home for me. Scarlett Jo and her husband, Jackson, use their experience and wisdom to guide others in reclaiming their God-given joy.
It's a great uplifting story especially for those experiencing marital difficulty.
Denise Hildreth Jones' latest novel, "Secrets Over Sweet Tea," is a must-read for women as it is such an accurate portrayal of women and the many fronts that we may put on in order to mask our true feelings and hurting. Scarlett Jo is not your typical pastor's wife as she is loud, wears bright clothes that others point out she shouldn't be wearing at her age and speaks her mind (although she is working on knowing when not to speak!). Scarlett Jo takes a walk every morning and prays and sings. She is a people watcher and prays for her neighbors and tries to help them in any way that she can. Grace and her husband Tyler move to the street and Scarlett Jo reaches out to Grace and welcomes her to the neighborhood. As the lives of these two women intersect secrets are spilled, their friendship is strengthened and lives are changed.
Scarlett Jo is such a wonderful and fun character to spend time with. I would love a friend like her! Grace is a character whom tugged at my heart so much throughout the book. She is so successful professionally, yet there is so much hurting and heartache in her personal life as her husband Tyler has turned to alcohol. I love the setting of the book as well and the bits of Southern culture mixed in. This is a wonderful book and one that I will share with others and reread several times.
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Review 15 for Secrets over Sweet Tea - eBook
Riveting Heart Stories!
Date:April 17, 2013
This highly anticipated book exceeded my expectations. The stories could be about real people with real problems living in a REALLY fallen world. Each character's story is told beautifully and honestly. I have recommended this book to every reading woman I know. In addition, I highly recommend the companion book, Reclaiming Your Heart. I own every Denise Hildreth Jones book out there. Her writing draws me into the characters' hearts so well that I feel obligated as their friend to finish the book.
I have to confess up front that I like anything this author writes...both fiction and non- fiction. She is from the South....and this is reflected in her style.....very enjoyable and appealing. You will not be disappointed.
Secrets over Sweet Tea is an in depth study of relationships, and how, as the title alludes, secrets help or hinder this. Denise is a great author, bringing the reader into the heart of the story with vivid imagery, and perceptions. Scarlett Jo is an in your face neighbor, making you face those hidden parts of yourself you would rather not face, but truly a woman of God, a forever friend who does whatever she does with only good in mind. Really, Denise could not have found a better person to be the keeper of secrets than Scarlett. Tender, deep, sad, and quirky, this novel caused me to look deep into my own relationships with others and together with the characters in this fictional town of Franklin, Tennessee exam them, and the flaws and strengths of them. Are the secrets I keep from my loved ones and friends being kept because if they knew those secrets they would no longer love me? Really? Or do I not tell them because I want to be thought of as better than I am? Maybe those relationships would even be better and deeper if I could trust others to care for me inspite of those secrets. Definitely a book that I need to ponder and reflect on. I received this book free from Tyndale publishers for the purpose of writing an honest review. A positive critique was not required. The opinions stated are my own.
This story is about 3 families and over coming dysfunctional family situations. Scarlett Jo is a southern pastor's wife and a very godly women. Her personality is funny, smart and has Jesus in her heart. Grace is a newscaster with a husband that has his own issues that cause Grace to have to make very hard decisions. She is a career women, very committed to her marriage and wants to have a family. Zach is a lawyer with a wife and 2 girls. He is very educated, dedicated to being a divorce lawyer and very handsome. Put all three of these characters together and you have a book that you can't put down. The author intertwines the characters stories to all relate to each other.
I loved this book and you can relate to the characters in today's world. The story lines are very current to the world we live in today. Many people will be able to relate to these characters. I was very impressed how the author kept faith and the biblical meaning from the beginning to the end of the book.
This is a fun, loving and meaningful book, that I would recommend for anyone to read.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Tyndale bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I loved this book! I have to admit, when I read the synopsis of Secrets Over Sweet Tea by Denise Hildreth Jones, I thought it would be a breezy, Southern story. You know, lots of “y’alls” and Southern drawl. It was all that, but so much more! Rarely does a work of fiction make me really think about my life. At one point, the questions posed by one character to another were so thought provoking I had to get out my journal and answer the questions for myself! I found myself relating to different elements of all the female characters in the book. And I thought of at least three friends who would just love it!
In Secrets Over Sweet Tea, Scarlett Jo Newberry is a loud, boisterous pastor’s wife. She is larger than life and she knows it. She’s also an insightful prayer warrior…with unusual tactics! Most women in the story tend to avoid her, at least initially. In addition to Scarlett Jo, we meet Grace Shepherd (having marital troubles) and Zach Craig (also having marital troubles). All three characters end up learning a great deal about the value in protecting one’s heart. Grace and Zach learn that they need to find out who they really are if they are to have successful relationships in the future – whether with their spouses or with others. Secrets Over Sweet Tea walks us through the process of Grace and Zach mending their hearts. Denise Hildreth Jones does a magnificent job of addressing issues of divorce, adultery, pastoral counseling, honesty, and parenting in an open, Biblically sound way. I was impressed with the grace the author wove into the story. The characters in Secrets Over Sweet Tea are refreshingly real and all very different! Scarlett Jo is clearly at ease with herself and doesn’t mind if people don’t like her. The only part of the story I didn’t like occurred about two-thirds of the way through. An entirely new story twist was introduced that seemed a bit thrown in. I found during that part of the story I was reading slower and not enjoying it as much. I felt like the flow of the story was interrupted. However, at the end, it was clear how the twist fit in and it all came together nicely.
If you are looking for an insightful, yet easy read, I encourage you to give Secrets Over Sweet Tea a try. I think you’ll enjoy the time you spend with Scarlett Jo, Grace, and Zach in Franklin, Tennesee.
"Secrets over Sweet Tea" by Denise Hildreth Jones is the fictional companion novel to her non-fiction book, "Reclaiming Your Heart." I’ll be reviewing that book in the near future, as soon as I finish reading it. But I think it’s important for readers to know that the books complement each other. They don't have to be read together, but can be for greater insights into what Jones is trying to teach. "Secrets over Sweet Tea" is a fictional story that helps readers see how the concepts presented in "Reclaiming Your Heart" apply. They get to watch, so to speak, as characters in the book who have chosen to shut down their hearts in defense of this world’s pain learn to see how and why they responded the way they did, then how to make things right, reopen their hearts, and really live.
Writers of fiction are taught to show, not tell. Jones is really good at this. Due to the nature of this book, though, she’s cleverly included mentors in the story who do quite a bit of telling as they counsel those who’ve been hurt. These mentors have lessons of their own to learn, too, so we get to see their counselees, who’ve taken the lessons to heart, turn around and remind their mentors of their own teachings. It’s clear that Jones really believes the message she’s teaching can help change people's lives for the better. It's one she’s learned through personal experience and wants her readers to experience for themselves.
I’ll write more about that message when I review "Reclaiming Your Heart." For now I want to focus on "Secrets over Sweet Tea," the stories of three people who’ve been deeply wounded by life and their recoveries in the small Southern community of Franklin, Tennessee. These characters and their friends are amazing—and so is the community. If all the restaurants Jones mentions in this book really exist, I need to go visit that town! I enjoyed the story and its message. I’m happy to recommend this book.
I thank Reclaiming Hearts Ministries for arranging to have Tyndale House Publishers send a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.