Review

Pastors' Wives

by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen

Candace Green, Ruthie Matters and Ginger Green are all wives of men who have answered the call to ministry. They have as many differences as their husbands have similarities. Yet, as their stories are told, parallels unfold that expose the woman's heart common to each of them. Greenleaf, the megachurch to which they are all connected, provides the backdrop for this extraordinary story. Whether churched or unchurched, believer or seeker, PASTORS’ WIVES will grab your attention and hold it until the last page.

"Whether churched or unchurched, believer or seeker, PASTORS’ WIVES will grab your attention and hold it until the last page."

The story is told from the perspective of each woman, as different chapters alternate the events that each is dealing with. Candace --- the wife of Aaron, who is the senior pastor at Greenleaf --- is like a female version of the Godfather, except she does not order hits that result in deaths. However, she is very adept at making offers that cannot be refused, as in the case of the pornographer who is exploiting someone close to her. It was pure joy watching how she dealt with this lowlife. When she is not busy fixing problems that arise daily, she is focused on being the perfect helpmate to her husband. Her life is service to others, and she does it tirelessly and without complaint. If she has to step on some toes occasionally, so be it.

Ruthie is married to Jerry, recently hired by Greenleaf as a financial advisor and assistant to the senior pastor. While Jerry has definitely heard the call to ministry, Ruthie is not even sure she has been called to faith. As a CINO (Catholic in name only), her devotion is mostly to her husband and his new position rather than to God or the church family. Although she has all the instincts of a believer, she struggles with the idea of full commitment to a belief system that she grew up disdaining.

Ginger's story is one that will stir anyone with a past --- a past that has not been shared with the people in your life who assume that they know you. Her strength and character make her shine as an example of how faith can change a person’s perspective and life.

In addition, each of the supporting characters is well defined and plays a pivotal part in the drama. From the grouchy elder to the not-so-naive praise team diva, and from the competent head of security to the trailer park matron, all are expertly suited to their roles. Regardless of what the title may suggest, this book is a page-turner that does not disappoint. Though some may quibble with the theology presented as somewhat liberal, that is really not the focus of the book. It's about the importance of not prejudging, of being willing to look beneath the surface, of not judging a book by its title.

Much like comedians, reporters look at the world through lenses that most of us can only envy. Lisa Takeuchi Cullen has an engaging style that combines keen observation with street smarts and poses philosophical questions with tongue-in-cheek simplicity. Her first novel is sure to inspire a fan base for her upcoming TV drama, “The Ordained.”

Reviewed by Maggie Harding on May 17, 2013

Pastors' Wives
by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen

  • Publication Date: April 30, 2013
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Plume
  • ISBN-10: 0452298822
  • ISBN-13: 9780452298828