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The Sweetest Hallelujah MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged

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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; MP3 Una edition (July 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1480517402
  • ISBN-13: 978-1480517400
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,013,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

It’s 1955 and Betty Jewel Hughes, an African American jazz singer in Memphis, is dying of cancer in Shakerag, Mississippi, with no one to take care of her 10-year-old girl after she’s gone. Not Betty’s mother, who is also sick, nor either of her friends, who have families of their own. And certainly not the man called Saint Hughes, the once-great trumpet player who ended up in prison. Betty’s only option is to put an ad in the local paper seeking someone to love and care for her girl. When Cassie Malone, a privileged white reporter for the local paper, recent widow, and closeted rabble-rouser ends up on Betty’s doorstep, a secret is revealed, which establishes a tentative, if prohibited, friendship. The ending is somewhat implausible—the ease with which everyone accepts the final outcome is difficult to believe considering the time period and location. However, Hussey tells a beautiful story of redemption filled with strong female characters and rich in detail, showcasing Hussey’s love of music and the South. --Carolyn Kubisz --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Elaine Hussey is a writer, actress and musician who likes to describe herself as “Southern to the bone.” She lives in Mississippi, where her love of blues and admiration for the unsung heroes of her state’s history served as inspiration for The Sweetest Hallelujah. Visit her at

Customer Reviews

So well written and the story line really draws the reader in.
Book Lover
The love and strength born, out of the bonds of friendship, can overcome so many obstacles.
You will laugh, cry and be completely drawn into the characters lives.
Jimmy Mullinax

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Pensacola Reader on July 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
I have been sitting here trying to decide how to say exactly what I think about THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH. As a Southern girl I found so many things to identify with that the story became something that I could have heard friends or family talking about as I grew up. The story was so compelling that I found it difficult to stop reading. My sister lost her battle with cancer recently and I felt so connected to Betty Jewel and invested in her efforts to make sure her daughter was taken care of by a loving mother. As the story unfolded I became more and more connected to the journey of each character in this book. I was touched, moved and compelled. Doing the right thing will not always be easy but it is ALWAYS the right thing. You never know what a difference your actions can make in someone else's life. This book took me on an emotional journey that I will not soon forget. You will NOT be disappointed. I highly recommend this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ronnie Keith on August 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved this book from beginning to end. The author truly captured the south in a very difficult time. She showed how love for a child can overcome even the hatefulness of prejudice. I loved the strong southern women depicted in this book. It is the kind of book that, when you finish it, you hate to loose your newly made friends.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kathi on July 31, 2013
Format: Paperback
I haven't written a book review since college, and I must say, my hands are unsure...hovering over the keyboard, waiting for my brain to give them instruction how to proceed in reviewing a book that meant so much to me, personally.

The Sweetest Hallelujah had my interest from page one. I live in the area that the book is set in - Tupelo, Mississippi, but I did not live there in times like these, amid racial turmoil. Seeing my hometown come to life like this was so very interesting. The characters are so rich and so well written that I could almost see them, hear them, feel their tension.

Betty Jewel is a young black woman, a dying mother who, in desperation, places a want ad in order to find someone suitable to raise her only child in her absence. What is born of desperation ends with a beautiful friendship unheard of in those times. I could feel her desperation; I could hear the clock ticking in her head as she wondered when her end would come. I can only imagine the sweetest hallelujah she must have felt once her wishes were fulfilled.

Betty Jewel's mother, Queen, is a godly, peaceful woman who jumps off the page. I caught myself imitating the sounds Queen would make under her breath. I could visualize her moving around her kitchen to bring forth the soul food she knew would heal people and forge friendships.

Billie is the daughter that Betty Jewel is trying to save. She is spirited and intelligent and motivated by her own desperation once she finds out the truth about her mother. I can see her determined face in my mind as she sets out to find the father she never had. I do not want this book to end. I want to read more about Billie; to see her grow into a young woman who crosses lines and breaks boundaries.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on July 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
The Sweetest Hallelujah
Elaine Hussey
Mira, Jul 30 2013, $14.95
ISBN: 9780778315193

In 1945 Memphis, Betty Jewel Hughes ends her career as a jazz singer when she finds herself pregnant. Ten years later in Shakerag, Mississippi, single mom Betty Jewel learns she has cancer with little time left. Not concerned for herself, Betty Jewel worries what will come of her beloved Billie Jo once she is gone.

Desperate as she has no one to replace her, the dying black mom puts out an ad for someone to love and raise her ten year old daughter. Touched by Betty Jewel's plea, white reporter Cassie Malone decides to do a story on the mother whose dying wish is for her child. A recent widow still grieving her loss, Cassie and Betty Jewel connect until they learn a secret that shocks the journalist's soul while the tweener wants to meet her daddy. Not everyone is a saint when it comes to Billie's care, but most are nurturing kind people.

This is an entertaining 1950s Deep South family drama that captures the stratospherically high racial tension that explodes just after the Brown vs. the Board of Education ruling. In that environs, black and white do not mix yet Betty Jewel and Cassie forge a friendship in spite of the secret as both want what is best for too precocious Billie.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Yancy on August 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
I was hooked from page one. Ten-year-old Billie is endearing, sassy, precocious and heartbreaking. To hear Elaine Hussey tell part of this story from her point of view was simply remarkable. I wanted to hug Billie when she was on top of that old school bus making bargains with God and dreaming of a bright future with her daddy. I won't give any spoilers, but every step of her journey held me spellbound.

This story is about Betty Jewel Hughes fighting to save her child and ensure a brighter future for Billie. She's a strong, independent woman, a really great character. All the women - Betty Jewel, Cassie, Sudie and Merry Lynn - were so real, I felt as if I were sitting on the front porch swing in Shakerag or gathered with them around Miss Queen's kitchen table drinking sweet tea, listening to their arguments, sharing their laughter and their tears, and cheering when Cassie said, "Change has to start somewhere. What if it could start with four women?" I could pull many, many beautiful quotes from this book, but that one is my favorite.

There are so many great scenes I'd be hard pressed to name my favorites, but two come to mind: Cassie and Betty Jewel and the Dixie cup (I won't spoil your read by saying more), and Cassie scrambling to the top of that old bus in a thunderstorm. I guess I used a whole box of tissue reading this amazing book.

But I laughed, too, particularly when Miss Queen was on the page. That wonderful old woman cracked me up with her talk of making chicken and dumplings, but first she had to go out back and wring the neck of a Dominecker hen. A cast iron skillet is her favorite frying pan, but also her favorite weapon. When I picture her, I see a proud womea with a song and a prayer on her lips, and a frying pan in her hand. I loved everything about her. In fact, I love everything about this book.

Brava, Elaine Hussey for writing an extraordinary, unforgettable novel! Run, don't walk, to get it!
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