Synopses & Reviews
"I want you to know something if you don't already. Life is choosing whom and what you love. Everything else follows . . ."
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.
“Gentle, sensitive...sometimes funny, occasionally sad, and ultimately life-affirming.”
The Sweet By and By is the story of five southern women of different ages and from very different backgrounds whose lives come together in a journey of courage, hope, and humor. First-time author Todd Johnson—who was a co-producer with Oprah Winfrey of Broadways The Color Purple—makes an indelible literary mark with a debut novel that bestselling author Adriana Trigiani (Very Valentine) calls, “heartfelt and stunning.” People magazine chose The Sweet By and By as one of its “Great Reads for Your Book Club,” saying, “Steel Magnolias fans will love this one.”
About the Author
Todd Johnson was born and raised in North Carolina. Following a career as a teacher and studio singer in New York City, he received a Tony Award nomination as a producer of The Color Purple
on Broadway. He studied history at UNC-Chapel Hill and holds a master's degree from Yale Divinity School. He lives in Connecticut. This is his first novel.
If The Sweet By and By prompts you to share a personal story, please write to Todd@ToddJohnsonBooks.com.