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Available 4.15.24

The Sweetest Hallelujah
Elaine Hussey

An unforgettable story of two courageous women brought together by one extraordinary little girl

August 2013
On Sale: July 30, 2013
Featuring: Cassie Malone; Betty Jewel Hughes; Billie Hughes
337 pages
ISBN: 0778315193
EAN: 9780778315193
Kindle: B00C3U9T5C
Trade Size / e-Book
Add to Wish List

Women's Fiction Contemporary | Inspirational

Betty Jewel Hughes was once the hottest black jazz singer in Memphis. But when she finds herself pregnant and alone, she gives up her dream of being a star to raise her beautiful daughter, Billie, in Shakerag, Mississippi. Now, ten years later, in 1955, Betty Jewel is dying of cancer and looking for someone to care for Billie when she's gone. With no one she can count on, Betty Jewel does the unthinkable: she takes out a want ad seeking a loving mother for her daughter.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town, recently widowed Cassie Malone is an outspoken housewife insulated by her wealth and privileged white society. Working part-time at a newspaper, she is drawn to Betty Jewel through her mysterious ad. With racial tension in the South brewing, the women forge a bond as deep as it is forbidden. But neither woman could have imagined the gifts they would find in each other, and in the sweet young girl they both love with all their hearts. Deeply moving and richly evocative, The Sweetest Hallelujah is a remarkable tale about finding hope in a time of turmoil, and about the transcendent and transformative power of friendship.

Read An Excerpt


69 comments posted.

Re: The Sweetest Hallelujah

Reading your intro I felt so sorry for the child. I'd recommend they join the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts.
(Clare O'Beara 9:04am July 31, 2013)

This sounds like the perfect book to wind up the Summer with!! I can picture myself, sitting out on the deck, with a glass of iced tea in one hand, and your book in the other!! After your vivid description of the story, I feel as if I know the characters already, and I'm itching to get my hands on your book!! Congratulations on your latest project!! I'm sure it's going to do well, and will be spreading by word of mouth quickly.
Peggy Roberson 11:01am July 31, 2013)

Families are always good for laught and tears.
MaryEllen Hanneman 1:10pm July 31, 2013)

Clare, Peggy and Mary Ellen, thanks for stopping by. I love this book and hope you will, too. And thanks for helping to spread the word! Peggy, you are so right about the value of word of mouth. Also, if you love The Sweetest Hallelujah, please do share your thoughts in online reviews.

Once again, thanks for stopping by. I'll be popping in periodically to answer any questions you have about the story and/or the characters.
Peggy Webb 1:25pm July 31, 2013)

By now, of course, you are aware that Elaine Hussey and Peggy Webb are one and the same person! This can be confusing when I sign books, but it's fun to eat for two!
Peggy Webb 1:26pm July 31, 2013)

I look forward to reading and sharing The Sweetest Hallelujah!
Britney Adams 2:43pm July 31, 2013)

I'm delighted, Britney! Right now I'm skimming through the book to select passages I will read at my launch party later this afternoon at Reeds Gumtree, an Indie bookstore in my hometown of Tupelo. I'm serving up sweet tea and barbecue, and we're going to have a blast. This is the first of many places I will be this month. Next week I'm making a swing through Memphis and Nashville in TN, then on to Birmingham and Fairhope in AL. Do check my appearances at www.elainehussey.com. Along the way I'll be doing TV and radio interviews. If I'm heading your way, I hope you'll stop by to say hello. I love chatting with readers. Elaine also known as Peggy Webb
Peggy Webb 3:38pm July 31, 2013)

YOu have to believe me when I say that Southern fiction is my all time fav and,Shakearag, OMG, count me in!
Susan Coster 4:47pm July 31, 2013)

Even if I do not win The Sweetest Hallelujah, it is definitely a book that I shall read. What a beautiful story!
Shirley Younger 5:00pm July 31, 2013)

It looks like an intriguing story.
Maureen Emmons 5:02pm July 31, 2013)

Sound like a lovely book and just the kind I love to read!!
Kelli Jo Calvert 5:49pm July 31, 2013)

This sounds like an incredible, beautiful story. I love books that seem so true that it's hard to believe you're reading fiction. I can't wait to read this book!
Linda Luinstra 6:07pm July 31, 2013)

Wow, Congrats on your new book: THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH.
This books sounds like a great book to win and read this
summer and so interesting how the different cultures of the
women come together to love and raise the child. I always
love the saying: it takes a village to raise a child right.
Thanks so much. Cecilia CECE
Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez 6:17pm July 31, 2013)

Congratulations on THE SWEETEST HALLELULAH - sounds like another winner!

Will you be writing more books as Anna Michaels? THE TENDER MERCY OF ROSES is one of my favorites.
Mary C 7:45pm July 31, 2013)

I have saved two Humming birds from getting killed and both times it was because they flew into buildings.
Callie Stuck 7:53pm July 31, 2013)

Your book, The Sweetest Hallelujah, sounds like the greatest story that I would so much love to win and read, I pray I do. I'll be looking for it to read soon. Thank you for this chance to win. All The Best To You Always.
Esther Somorai 8:08pm July 31, 2013)

1955? The very idea would be ground-breaking.
Karen Blossom 9:37pm July 31, 2013)

Would love to read this sometime! On my summer reading list!
Lydia Herrin 9:51pm July 31, 2013)

Being raised in Miss. and about the same age as Billie in 1955, your book sound like my kinda read.
Sheila True 9:52pm July 31, 2013)

Sounds like a great read. I'll add it to my list!
Laura Gullickson 10:22pm July 31, 2013)

I'm now wondering how the story will end...
Gloria Shaw 11:08pm July 31, 2013)

The Sweetest Hallelulah sounds memorable and intriguing. Best
wishes and much happiness.
Sharon Berger 10:40am August 1, 2013)

Any Southern book to read. SWEET. I didn't think I was going to read The Help but I did and I'm glad that I read the book. I expect Sweetest Hallelulah will be as enlightening as The Help.
Kai Wong 12:53pm August 2, 2013)

I know this book will tear at my heart. A must read for me.
Mary Preston 10:54pm August 2, 2013)

It sounds good with opposites having to work out their
differences to get along somehow. I'm reading a book,
Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All by Allan Gurganus,
where a woman goes full circle being cared for by her maid
and then setting her free. It's quite a long book filled
with stories "remembered" from Civil War time and shows how
the relationships grew and changed over the years.
Alyson Widen 2:06pm August 3, 2013)

I usually spend a short time skimming the gist of the book, but I found
myself reading your book description several times, if I don't win (hope I
do.....lol) please email me and remind me of your book again and it really
looks like it could be heart grabber. The storyline sounds great. I love
books, I'm a hoarder.... and I have like over 15,000 books, at the beginning
I thought I was able to give them away so I collected a lot of them but
definitely this is something I'm interested in! Sounds like it could be a good
Kelly Smith 3:05am October 14, 2013)

sounds like a beautiful story....truly...
Mal Kaplan 6:51am October 22, 2013)

Thank you, Mal. Of all the books I've written, The Sweetest Hallelujah is my favorite. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your day!
Peggy Webb 8:21am October 22, 2013)

sounds really great i think i would really love to read this
Denise Smith 8:27am October 22, 2013)

I would love to win, it sounds wonderful
Linda Scarchuk 8:29am October 22, 2013)

Love hearing/reading the background to your writing !
Inspiring !
Patricia Neely-Dorsey 8:35am October 22, 2013)

This sounds like a book I'd love to read. Thanks for the chance to win it!
Bonnie Capuano 9:00am October 22, 2013)

I love the story line that you chose, as well as the Title of the book!! This would make for great reading for me this Fall!! Although I wasn't quite around in 1955, I know what it was like during that era, and reading that book would bring back bitersweet memories for me. The novel you're currently working on would bring back memories for me as well, because I remember Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, as well as other things that happened for me during that time period, and it would bring back a rush of emotions. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for that book as well. Congratulations on this book. I'm sure it will do well. I know I'm getting my hot chocolate ready as we speak, so I can get hunkered down to read your book!!
Peggy Roberson 9:18am October 22, 2013)

I love your story of how the book came together, makes me want to read the book even more!
Margaret Branca 9:58am October 22, 2013)

Learning about your novel and this book is fascinating.
Congratulations and best wishes and many more adventures in
Sharon Berger 10:34am October 22, 2013)

love the way this book sounds - would love to read this and hopefully find a new author that I enjoy
Eleanor Jethro 11:06am October 22, 2013)

Thanks for this great opportunity to receive one of your books to read. Being on a very limited income, the only way I can read an author that I have not read before is to win a copy of their book in a contest.
Robbie Bauldree 11:21am October 22, 2013)

This is a very sensitive subject and sounds like a terrific read.
Anna Speed 11:25am October 22, 2013)

I've so enjoyed reading all your comments! Everything you have said is music to a writer's ears! Thank you for stopping by and good luck! I hope you will visit me at www.elainehussey.com! Over the next year I'm posting diary entries that give an inside peek into a Southern writer's life. Do stop by! If you want to get in touch with me directly, you can contact me there - and I hope you will!
Peggy Webb 11:47am October 22, 2013)

This sounds like such a tender story. Your writing is always so good I enjoy reading your books and this is one I will have to make sure to get.
Vennie Martinisi 12:18pm October 22, 2013)

Born and raised in Mississippi, I love to read books I can feel part of. Really enjoyed your bolg.
Sheila True 12:59pm October 22, 2013)

Sounds like a great story. Thanks.
Pam Howell 1:07pm October 22, 2013)

THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH has been on my to read list. I never can seem to catch it when it is on the shelf in my local library. It's either checked out or on the way to another branch. I saw it for the first time in a book flyer the library gets.
Laura Gullickson 1:44pm October 22, 2013)

I loved reading about your writing journey and thank you so much for sharing! I look forward to learning more on your website. THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH sounds like a remarkable story and I would love to win a copy, as well as a selection of your eBooks. Thank you for the opportunity! My fingers are crossed!!!
Britney Adams 1:49pm October 22, 2013)

This sounds like an unbelievable good story. I'd love a
chance to read it.
Mary Hay 2:24pm October 22, 2013)

thank you for sharing this novel, and the process and thought
in how you wrote it, and i appreciate the opportunity to win!
Kristin Sims 2:31pm October 22, 2013)

If its Southern Lit, historical or present day, count me in to win a copy!
Susan Coster 2:40pm October 22, 2013)

Thank you so much for sharing the coming together of your book. A woman sure has what she needs with her bible and her skillet. I would love to read THE SWEETEST HALLEUJAH. Thank you for the opportunity to be a winner!
Melanie Backus 3:37pm October 22, 2013)

I've so enjoyed reading your comments! Thank you! Good luck to everyone. If you don't win The Sweetest Hallelujah today, be sure to enter my Think Pink contest on Fresh Fiction for another chance to win this book. You have the whole month of October to enter that contest! And do drop by my website at www.elainehussey.com. Preriodically, I do giveaways on my blog.
Peggy Webb 4:44pm October 22, 2013)

Count me in please. Thank you.
Kantu Malhotra 4:49pm October 22, 2013)

this sounds like such a great book.
Susan Atkins 5:45pm October 22, 2013)

I already have The Sweetest Halleujah on my Amazon Wish List. The story line is amazing! I have a friend who is now in hospice amd I'm not sure how her children and grandchildren are going to live without her! I can't even imagine not being able to watch your child grow up. This story has to be about a very brave lady who has to make some really difficult decisions before she can say, "Goodbye."
Sandy Fielder 6:09pm October 22, 2013)

I love the title of the book! Would love to read this one!
Barbara Wells 6:13pm October 22, 2013)

Such a beautiful cover!
Callie Stuck 6:27pm October 22, 2013)

Oh my, sounds like a good read. It reminds me of the secrecy
of the girl in the book The Help and how she would have been
outcast if folks found out she was writing the book.
Sharon DiPrima 6:55pm October 22, 2013)

it sounds like it would be a joy to read
Ron Frampton 7:43pm October 22, 2013)

Wow, Congrats on your new book: THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH. I
like the book cover too! Congrats on writing over 50
romances and other books too. Your new book sounds
fascinating and I would love to win and read it this Fall.
Thank You very much. Cecilia CECE
Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez 9:13pm October 22, 2013)

I love to find a new author to follow and with the stories that I have heard that you write, I am sure that you will be one of my very favorites. I am new to the romance genre so I am slowly finding out who meshes with my tastes the best so would love to read your book to find out for sure. Thank you so much for the opportunity.
Cynthia Blain 9:39pm October 22, 2013)

I have never read any of your work, but absolutely love your blurb. Thank
you for giving us the opportunity to win.
Val Pearson 9:45pm October 22, 2013)

I am very interested to read your stories!
Charlene Fraley 10:15pm October 22, 2013)

Loved the audio version of THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH.
Mary C 10:28pm October 22, 2013)

I have never read one of your books but going by what you
wrote here, I am sure they are awesome and I will be buying
one as soon as I find the money....
Gina Keitz 10:37pm October 22, 2013)

I love your writing background, it sounds like a lot of work, but a lot of fun as well. I'm glad you were finally able to write both types of books you love.
Jamie Fortney 11:26pm October 22, 2013)

I got such a warm feeling just from reading the blurb from Sweetest Hallelujah on the fresh fiction contest page. I can't wait to get a copy & read the story. I think it is wonderful that you are not boxed in by a certain writing style, that you can write what suits your fancy, so to speak. I look forward to reading your books & enjoying them.
Kathleen Giannone 12:08pm October 23, 2013)

I so enjoy good Southern literature so I can hardly wait to read Sweetest Hallelujah.
Sue Farrell 12:32pm October 23, 2013)

I am DYING to read The Sweetest Hallelujah!! As soon as I get my hands on it...
Kelli Jo Calvert 1:42pm October 23, 2013)

You must be so pleased that THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH is finally
out in the world. Well done.
Mary Preston 7:47am October 24, 2013)

Sounds like a book I'll enjoy.
Rita Wray 1:23pm October 25, 2013)

I think it's fun that you have specific seasons when you write
one way, but I can't separate the seasons from my writing.
Congratulations on getting your Sweetest Hallelujah out of the
boxes and onto shelves and in the hands of readers.
Alyson Widen 7:24pm October 31, 2013)

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