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 forTime magazine, Pastors’ Wives is a dramatic portrayal of the private lives of pastors’ wives, caught between the demands of faith, marriage, duty, and love.
I'm a third-generation pastor's wife, so when I saw a work of fiction focusing on the lives of pastor's wives, I was a bit intrigued. I wondered how the author would portray the inner workings of a pastor's family.
I have to admit that she was right on the money on a lot of the struggles faced by pastors and their families: the demanding schedules, the isolation/loneliness, the pressure to perform and present a positive image. Of course the novel is much more dramatic and exciting than my everyday life (which would be expected, since no one really wants to read 400 pages about going to Ladies Bible Study and washing dishes).
I liked that the author showed the humanity of the characters; their struggles with issues of faith, their past choices, and their purpose/role in ministry. I think it's good for "outsiders" to recognize that the pastors and their families are just normal people with their own issues and struggles. We're not super-human and we're not immune to difficulties. I found myself identifying with several of the different characters at different points in the story.
It's obviously a fictionalized account of life as a pastor's wife, but when it comes to the basics, Cullen does a good job of capturing the unique challenges faced by the families of those in full-time Christian ministry. I read the entire book in two days. I didn't want to put it down. It's kinda like a "Real Housewives of the Mega Church" - there's plenty of drama, and the plot and characters hook you in right from the beginning.
It was a fun read. Fair warning, there are a few mild obscenities in the book, although the book is about pastor's wives, it is not necessarily Christian Fiction.
Lisa Takeuchi Cullen is celebrating the release of her debut novel, Pastors' Wives, with an iPad Mini Giveaway and connecting with readers on Facebook on May 23rd!
One winner will receive:
- An iPad Mini
- A $25 iTunes gift card
So grab your copy of Pastors' Wives and join Lisa on the evening of May 23rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)
Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!
I received a complimentary copy of the book to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed are my honest thoughts of the novel.