Pastor's Wives

By Lisa Takeuchi
Published on April 30, 2013
Published by Plume
Source: Publisher for Review
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.

I have been sitting on this review for quite awhile.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  So much so that I sent it on to a large group of pastors' wives friends throughout the US and Canada. We passed the book on and discussed what we thought about the book. 

Personally, as the wife of a pastor, I found some of the parts of this book spot on and others felt like the stereotype that has always exsisted for pastors and their wives. I appreciated that the author noted that pastors and their wives aren't perfect.  Christians are human.  Pastors are human.  Their wives are human.  We make mistakes. We doubt. We wonder if anyone cares.  I thought that the problems that the families had were authentic and real.  How they handled them was not something I completely agreed with though.

I felt in a very small way that there was a Catholic vs. Evangelical theme going on in the book.  The Evangelical churches seemed to have a very negative view.  Perhaps it was because the book took place in a Mega Church.  Mega Churches are NOT the norm.  For every Mega Church out there- there are thousands of small churches that are completely different (not in a good way or bad way- just different).  I wish the book wouldn't have been set in a Mega Church because they are the ones that get all the press anyway. 

It is hard for an author to take on this subject in fiction- mainly because there are so FEW books out there about pastor's wives.  I wish there would have been one wife in the book who had her act together.  Not all of us have shocking pasts, are overbearing and scary, or non-believers.  Some of us are boring and are worrying about our families and churches on a day to day basis. I suppose, though, that doesn't give you much to write about- who wants to read about daily dirty diapers?  I also thought that the relationships that the wives had with God felt fake.  I am not sure if it was because the author admittedly struggled with her own faith, but when they prayed or read the Bible it didn't feel authentic.
Wow, it sounds like I didn't like the book- not my intention- I loved it!  I thought it was packed with intrigue, shocking surprises, and solid writing.  I do hope that this author and others write more fiction about Pastor's Wives- I really enjoyed it and would love to read more!

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