By Virginia Smith
Paperback: 320 pages
Cover Price: $13.99
“THESE SISTERS ARE SPIRITED AND FUN …
THEIR STORIES ENTERTAIN.”
Desperate to stay home with her baby, Allie Harrod launches a new
career. Sure, she dropped out of Girl Scouts because she was lousy at
cookie sales, but makeup is different, right? She’ll do anything to
make enough money to cover her share of the household bills, but
how can she focus on her business when her list of problems is
growing? None of her pre-baby clothes fit, her checking account is
dwindling, and her mother-in-law has decided to move in! To top it
off, her husband’s attractive coworker suddenly needs his help every
weekend. Middle sister Joan insists that God has the answers to all
her problems, but Allie isn’t so sure. Can she really trust him?
A lighthearted contemporary tale of family, faith, and fun, Age
before Beauty is the second book in the Sister-to-Sister series from
well-reviewed author Virginia Smith (ISBN: 978-0-8007-3233-2,
$13.99, February 2009).
Virginia Smith is a freelance writer, a speaker, and the contemporary worship leader for Voice
of Joy Ministries in central Kentucky. She is the author of Just As I Am and Stuck in the Middle,
and her articles have appeared in a variety of Christian magazines. She is a member of the
Christian Writers Fellowship International and the American Christian Fiction Writers and splits
her time between Lexington, Kentucky, and Salt Lake City, Utah.
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith
to everyday life. They publish resources from a variety of well-known brands and authors,
including their partnership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and Hungry Planet.
Endorsements for Age before Beauty
“Age before Beauty is a fun and touching story of motherhood, marriage, and sisterhood that will plop you right in the middle of Allie Harrod’s hectic world. With each new misadventure you’ll be cheering her on. Another entertaining novel in the Sister-to-Sister series.”--Sharon K. Souza,
author of Lying on Sunday and Every Good & Perfect Gift
“Age before Beauty will have you smiling and then maybe wiping away a tear as you share Allie and Eric's romantic ups and downs while they travel down the road of new parenthood. And then the dreaded mother-in-law shows up. Virginia Smith entertains and enlightens through downhome characters you can welcome into your heart like family.”--Ann H. Gabhart, author of The Outsider
“Age before Beauty is a wonderful tale of a woman dealing with her problems with a touch of humor.”--Margaret Daley, author of Forsaken Canyon, Buried Secrets, The Power of Love/The Courage to Dream, and Family Ever After
“Virginia Smith’s Age before Beauty is a fun slice of family life with charming characters and an ending that will keep you smiling long after the book is done.”--Annie Jones, author of Barefoot Brides
“Age before Beauty has just the right combination of real life mixed with humor. Virginia Smith address the modern mom’s struggle—choosing whether to stay home with our children or follow our chosen career path. When career and family combine, watch out! “As a work-at-home mom, I connected immediately with Allie’s struggle. I laughed my way through her mix-ups and mess-ups while sympathizing with what she was feeling. There’s something in this story for every mom.”--Jill Hart, Christian Work at Home, Inc.
“You’ll laugh, you’ll cry . . . well, you’ll mostly laugh as you join the plight of Allie Harrod, a stressed-out wife, mom, and entrepreneur who’s doing way too much but failing to do anything well at all. Age before Beauty is a whimsical and touching story that will have you cheering for Allie as she slowly discovers what is most important for both herself and her family.”--Melanie Dobson, author of Together for Good, Going for Broke, and The Black Cloister
“Virginia Smith’s gentle, realistic portrayal of the conflicts new mom Allie Harrod faces, laced with her warm humor and infused with a reassuring message of God’s everlasting love, make Age before Beauty another can’t-put-it-down read in the Sister-to-Sister series. Allie is every woman’s sister, in any season of life.”--Marilyn Hilton, author of The Christian Girl’s Guide to Your Mom
“In Age before Beauty, Virginia Smith strikes a beautiful balance between humor and poignancy in her tale of one woman’s struggle to be all: wife, mother, sister, and daughter. And that’s before her testy mother-in-law moves in. Fortunately, Allie is about to discover that by making room for God, she doesn’t have to go it alone."--Tamara Leigh, award-winning author of Splitting Harriet and Faking Grace
“Age before Beauty is an entertaining, diverting story for anyone who’s ever felt pinched between two generations or pummeled by their checkbook . . . which would mean just about all of us.”-- Allie Pleiter, author of Queen Esther and the Second Graders of Doom and Bluegrass Hero
Interview for Age before Beauty
What was the inspiration behind Age before Beauty?
Allie is a typical older sister, used to controlling everyone and
everything. Okay, I admit it – I’m the oldest of three sisters, so a lot of
Allie’s struggles came straight from my own life. Also, my middle sister
gave birth to a baby right before I started writing Age before Beauty,
so of course some of her thoughts and feelings had to show up in the
story as well. I had a lot of fun blending characteristics and experiences
from both of us.
Do you often put yourself into your stories?
There’s a piece of me in every character I’ve ever written. If I’m going to
write a believable character, one that resonates with a reader, I have to
be able to get inside her head, and in order to do that I have to find
some common ground with her. But often it’s just a minor element of
commonality, and pretty soon the character’s personality begins to
grow and take on unique qualities. Allie, for instance, is the ultimate
problem solver, and that comes directly from me. But some of her
conflicts—like with her mother-in-law, for instance—are all her own.
overreacted to a situation involving your child?
Yes, that’s one of the things I pulled from my own life. My ‘baby’ is
twenty-six years old, so I had to dig into some pretty old memories. But
I still remember how embarrassing it was to sit in the doctor’s office
after an emergency phone call and have him tell me my infant was not
dying of a terrible disease, but just had a case of gas.
Eric and Allie were raised in vastly different environments, and that
affects their marriage. Do you think that happens in real life?
Definitely. Children build expectations about their own romantic
relationships based on what they saw growing up. So when our parents’
marriage fails, as Allie’s did, that’s bound to affect how we approach
marriage. In Allie’s case, she sees similarities between Eric and her
father, and she leaps to the conclusion that that Eric will one day leave
her, as her father did. I had the same fears in the early years of my
marriage. It took me several years of counseling and prayer, but I know
I serve a God who overcomes obstacles. Today my husband and I have a
strong, thriving marriage.
cleaning products. Any basis in reality from that situation?
Not personally. That element of the story came from the accumulated
experiences of several young moms I know. One is my sister, of course,
who yearned to stay home with her new baby. And one is a friend of my
daughter’s who did quit her job and launched a makeup sales business
in order to stay home with her infant. I’ll be honest about something –
When I first got the idea for this story, I intended to poke a bit of fun at
the ‘pyramid scheme’ type businesses. But a funny thing happened. This
young mom loves her business, and she’s become wildly successful at it.
She credits her business for changing her life in many ways. I interviewed
several others who told me the same thing. My perception of that type of
sales job totally changed. So the story became less about poking fun at
that industry, and more about the extremes an obsessive personality will
go to in order to accomplish her goals. I think the story is much better this
Is there an overall message in Age before Beauty?
Well, I didn’t set out to write a book with a message. I wanted to write an
entertaining story with realistic characters that people can identify with.
But I’m a Christian, and I write from a Christian worldview, so the hope I
have in the Lord comes through in all my books. In Age before Beauty,
I hope readers walk away with a renewed sense of assurance that God is
in control, and that no problem is too tough for Him to handle.
Age before Beauty is the second book in the Sister-to-Sister Series,
following Stuck in the Middle, which was about the middle
Sanderson sister. But there are three sisters. Will there be another
Absolutely! In fact, I just finished writing the first draft of Last but
Not Least, which will hit bookstores in February of 2010. The central
character is Tori, the youngest Sanderson sister, whose life is completely
different than the other two. She’s a professional girl, a real ‘chick’ with
a fetish for designer clothes. There are some really funny escapades in
that book, and of course more of the heartwarming family relationships
that I loved in the first two. Last but Not Least will wrap up the
Sister-to-Sister Series, and I’ve thrown in a couple of surprises that I
think readers will enjoy.