The Sweetest Thing
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Compelling Southern Novel Explores Atlanta Society in the 1930s
Anne "Perri" Singleton's world is defined by the security of family, the camaraderie of friends at an exclusive Atlanta 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 life, friendship blossoms--a friendship that will be tested by jealousy, betrayal, and family secrets...
With her endearing characters and poignant storytelling, Atlanta native Elizabeth Musser vividly re-creates the charm of her beloved city amid the poverty and plenty that shaped the 1930s.
"Mary 'Dobbs' Dillard is the daughter of a dedicated inner-city preacher who's poorer than the people to whom he ministers. Perri Singleton is the spoiled, pampered daughter of a wealthy man. They meet the same day Perri's father, realizing that his fortune is gone, commits suicide. Since Dobbs' pastor dad comes from a wealthy family, and he has sent her to live with his rich aunt so she can attend a good school, Dobbs' situation improves by leaps and bounds. Perri, on the other hand, is caught up in the inevitable spiral down from luxury to poverty, even though her proud mother struggles to keep up appearances. The two teens forge an unlikely friendship as they each try to adapt to the extreme changes created by their new lifestyles. Themes of redemption, healing, and crisis of faith shine throughout this emotion-packed story. This is a perfect companion piece to other inspirational Depression-era novels, such as Ann H. Gabhart's Angel Sister (2010)."
--Shelley Mosley, Booklist, May 1, 2011
"When an author truly enjoys creating the narrative surrounding her characters' lives, readers definitely notice. While Musser found her inspiration for The Sweetest Thing in a personal place--her grandmother's diaries--she seems to relish creating her characters just as much as she did reading those diaries from the 1930s. The result is a fun and quick, yet poignant and stirring, tale that takes readers back to a time when people's struggles weren't so different from today's.
"Set against during the aftermath of the Great Depression, The Sweetest Thing chronicles two years in the lives of high schoolers Perri Singleton, a Georgian debutante who claims to have had 1,000 dates in the past year; and Mary Dobbs Dillard, a financially poor but spiritually rich teenager who has just moved to Atlanta. As the girls' friendship deepens, they learn hard life lessons about what they value most and how not to give in to the demands of society. This book reminds readers that no matter what their current financial state, there always will be a need to spread the Gospel."
--Lauren Mooney, CBA Retailers + Resources, June 2011
"Elizabeth Musser's eighth novel, set in Atlanta during the Great Depression of the 1930s, is a story of faith, friendship and love. Two young girls become unlikely friends after each suffers tragedy and loss. Perri, a banker's daughter and debutante, reigns over Atlanta's belles as the 'girl of a thousand dates.' Dobbs, a preacher's daughter, is determined to free the world from injustice and set souls on fire for Christ. Dobbs decides to begin her mission by reforming the worldly young ladies of the private academy where she and Perri are students. As Dobbs helps Perri to be more spiritual, she finds herself beginning to have serious doubts about her previously unflinching beliefs. As the girls deal with their personal problems, including ups and downs with boys, they are confronted with a mystery which may hold the key to many of the troubles in their community.
"With a distinct Southern flavor, the novel is replete with descriptions of stately homes, lavish soirees, gowns and gardens. In spite of its title, there is nothing saccharine about the book, which looks realistically at the bitterness of life, the dark nights of the soul, and the heartbreak and the joy of genuine love."
--Elena Maria Vidal, Historic Novels Review, Issue 58, November 2011