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 take: Pastors' Wives is a fascinating look at three women whose husbands are pastors at a megachurch in Atlanta. Each woman is completely compelling. Ruthie was raised Roman Catholic and isn't even sure she believes in God ... but her husband feels called to the ministry, so she follows him to Greenleaf Church, where he becomes the right-hand man to Pastor Aaron Green. Candace, Aaron's wife, is really the brains behind the "business" that is Greenleaf. She could beat anyone in a Bible knowledge contest, but her mission seems to be more about promoting her husband than promoting Christ. Ginger, Candace's daughter-in-law, is the one wife who seems to have a living, breathing relationship with Christ ... but her husband's drive to help those in need may destroy their marriage.
One thing you have to understand as you read is that the book is not Christian fiction, nor is it written from a Christian perspective. As such, it does not provide an accurate look at evangelical Christianity—however, the portrayal of Greenleaf may be close to what goes on in some of the less gospel-centric more prosperity-oriented megachurches. Also, some of the characters use mild swear words at times. All of this doesn't negate the value of the book—it's very well written and completely compelling—you just need to know what you're going to be reading when you go into it ... and realize you're reading to be entertained, not to learn scriptural truth.
I thoroughly enjoyed Pastors' Wives, and I definitely recommend it for sheer entertainment value. I could see this being a TV movie (this one's totally in Lifetime's wheelhouse). If you're looking for a beach read this summer, this could be just the ticket. 4 stars.
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About the giveaway: 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!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."