Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pastors' Wives by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen

About the Book:

What’s it like when the man you married is already married to God? asks Pastors’ Wives, an often surprising yet always emotionally true first novel set in a world most of us know only from the outside.

Lisa Takeuchi Cullen’s debut novel Pastors’ Wives follows three women whose lives converge and intertwine at a Southern evangelical megachurch. Ruthie follows her Wall Street husband from New York to Magnolia, a fictional suburb of Atlanta, when he hears a calling to serve at a megachurch called Greenleaf.

Reeling from the death of her mother, Ruthie suffers a crisis of faith—in God, in her marriage, and in herself. Candace is Greenleaf’s “First Lady,” a force of nature who’ll stop at nothing to protect her church and her superstar husband. Ginger, married to Candace’s son, struggles to play dutiful wife and mother while burying her calamitous past.

All their roads collide in one chaotic event that exposes their true selves. Inspired by Cullen’s reporting as a staff writer for Time magazine, Pastors’ Wives is a dramatic portrayal of the private lives of pastors’ wives, caught between the demands of faith, marriage, duty, and love.

My Thoughts:

I have a love/hate relationship with this book.  It is very well written and the story is engaging.  Growing up in church, I have known women like each of the main characters in the story, and I know the pressures of being a pastor's wife, because I've been one for 28 years.

But I did have some issues with the book.  First, one of the pastor's wives isn't a believer.  I had to ask, how can you be in that role without faith?  I couldn't do it: if I didn't truly believe in God, Jesus and the Bible...I'd have walked away long ago.

Second, one of the women is extremely controlling, and basically calls the shots for the church.  Now, I know of a church right now where this is true, but it is one of the most unhealthy churches I've heard of, and it isn't how life is supposed to be lived.

And finally, you'll find some mild language in the book...maybe even some not-so-mild language (can't fully recall--it's been several books back in my recall).  I know there are some readers out there who don't mind a few words now and then, but I want you to know before you read.

All in all, I enjoyed the book.  It was hard to put down, and I found the story engaging.  But if this is how pastors' wives are represented to the world at large, then I'm very sad.  However, I think most will realize this is a work of fiction, and reality doesn't always match fantasy.

I received a copy from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for taking part in a virtual book tour.  "Pastors' Wives" is recommended, but with caution.

Happy Reading!



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