Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Book Review: Pastors' Wives by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen

I received a copy of this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.  I enjoyed it, a lot more than I thought I would.  The story is told from 3 points of view and this is an effective way to move the story along.  I feel there is something to be admired in each woman without watering her personality down too much.
Ruthie is the wife of a man called to be a pastor at a time when her own faith in God is failing.  The two move from New Jersey down to Atlanta for him to become the Associate Pastor at a "megachurch."  She is an honest and complex character, one I felt would be overlooked in an average "chick lit" or "beach read" type book.  She is a born and raised Catholic, and while she attends her husband's new church each week and doesn't hesitate to work there without pay, she also never feels fully embraced by it either.
Candace is the wife of the Pastor of the megachurch, one who is not paid but nonetheless spends every minute just as immersed in the life of the church as her husband.  She was my favorite character--I love female characters who know how to get things done while maintaining a ladylike demeanor.  (I'm from the South, and to me, Candace is a classic Southern Lady.)  But I also love her relationship with God, how much time she spends in prayer herself, and how she is brave enough to go where the Holy Spirit guides. 
Ginger is the 3rd woman in the story, and she is married to Candace's son.  With 2 children under the age of 5 and an absentee husband who is off saving the world, she 's left alone to make it through the day as best she can.  Candace is an overbearing presence to her, as many mother-in-laws are, and Ginger has reason to fear: her past is not what everyone believes, it's much dirtier, and living the lie each day is the real challenge she is facing.  While I found the choices she makes to be hard to believe, they're also valid, well-thought-out and add a surprise twist to the story I didn't see coming.
I highly recommend this book to readers who love women's fiction but need something new to make them excited about the genre again.  I also think fans of Christian lit will enjoy the book; as I said, Candace's faith is a shining example of what we can all aspire to have as our own. 4 stars out of 5
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