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Publisher's Summary

Among the longleaf pines and family farms of eastern North Carolina, days seem to pass without incident for Margaret Clayton and Bernice Stokes, until they discover each other in a friendship that will take them on the most important journey of their lives.

Margaret, droll and whip smart, has a will of iron that never fails her even when her body does, while Bernice, an avid country-music fan, is rarely lucid. Irreverent and brazen at every turn, they make a formidable pair at the home where they live, breaking all the rules and ultimately changing the lives of those around them.

Lorraine, their churchgoing, God-questioning nurse, both protects and provokes them while they are under her watchful eye, as her daughter, April, bright and ambitious, determinedly makes her way through medical school. Rounding out the group of unlikely and often outrageous friends is Rhonda, the Bud-swilling beautician who does the ladies' hair on her day off and whose sassy talk hides a vulnerable heart, one that finally opens to love.

Weaving this tightly knit and compelling novel in alternating chapters, each woman gets to tell her story her own way, as all five learn to reconcile troubled pasts, find forgiveness, choose hope, and relish the joy of life. Rich with irresistible characters whose uniquely musical voices overflow the pages, The Sweet By and By is a testament to the truth that the most vibrant lives are not necessarily the most visible ones.

©2009 Todd Johnson (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[T]he underlying message of the power of love and friendship resonates, as does its depiction of the way in which people leading unremarkable lives can have a tremendous impact on those around them." (Publishers Weekly)

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  • Tracy
  • Rockville, UT, United States
  • 07-09-12

Great 2/3 of a book.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

The first two thirds of this book was great. The characters were interesting and the narrators did a splendid job. The last third of the book the story just ran out of gas. It was almost like it was a different author. I am still glad I listened to it but wish the author would have finished the book earlier.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

If you loved The Help...

you will love this also. Quite insightful and filled with compassion for the life lived by each character. I loved it! The reading is excellent and my emotions ran the gamut of tears to LOL!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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My First Audio Book Experience was the Best Ever!

The Sweet By And By is a multi-generational tale told through the eyes of four women from different walks of life--thrown together in a nursing home setting in North Carolina. Two of the women are residents, one an LPN and the other a hair dresser who works at the facility. Their personal stories of innocence, hope, love, regret and loss are told within confines of the nursing home--the one thing these four very different women have in common. The author is able to clearly write about aging and loss with compassion, tenderness and humor, while not minimizing the realities of end of life and dying. It is a story of the resilience and courage told with stark reality, tenderness and humor. I loved the book and would willingly purchase anything written by Author Todd Johnson.

I have resisted purchasing audio books in the past primarily because I have always loved the experience of the written word; however, I find that l have become increasingly busy in my retirement and truly enjoyed listening to this book while my hands busy themselves with other tasks. The narration by four talented actors brought the story to life with the richness of their dialogue that clearly reflected the North Carolinian culture.