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The Church Ladies Paperback – March 14, 2001

42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A Thousand Acres meets Friendship Cake in this engaging novel by Christian romance writer Samson. Readers in search of a fast-paced plot will want to look elsewhere, but those interested in a complex, compelling protagonist will enjoy this book. Narrator Poppy Fraser leads readers through the novel's two plot lines. The central story concerns Poppy's best friend, Chris, whose son tragically dies in a college hazing stunt. Poppy, a pastor's wife, begins to meet regularly with other local "church ladies" to pray for Chris and her family. The second story line concerns Poppy's own family: although she is a devout Christian, Poppy struggles with her role as a pastor's wife, and with her eldest daughter, who has rejected Jesus and Mom in favor of multiple body-piercings and premarital sex. Furthermore, in a startling plot twist for evangelical fiction, Poppy also wrestles with the guilt of an affair she had several years before. She works to hold her own strained family together, even as she tries to help her best friend's family heal. Samson's fans will love the feisty, honest Poppy; she's down to earth, occasionally sarcastic and always tempted by sweets and expensive coffee. She loves her kids, but doesn't romanticize parenthood. The book is distinguished by Samson's polished prose, especially her striking metaphors and similes ("the darkened sky still hovers over me like a Reformer's cloak"). Samson combines finely grained family drama with quirky Christian women's domestic fiction. (Mar.)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The ministry makes no concessions for ministers' wives, Poppy Fraser thinks, when her husband of 20 years decides to chuck his fast-paced, high-paying career and answer the call from God. Poppy is unprepared for the demands the church makes on her time and, since she doesn't get paid as her husband does, isn't sure this is the life she wants. Add the fact that the town of Mount Oak is a tourist stop, with each church attempting to outdo the others, and Poppy is ready to pull her hair out. Gradually, she begins to meet with Mildred LaRue, the wife of a former pastor from another church, to gain advice. Their meetings expand to include most of the other ministers' wives in the area in a support group that crosses denominational lines. With their help, Poppy finally faces the failings in her marriage and her devotion to the Lord and becomes strong enough to help others when an unexpected death occurs. Samson (Fields of Gold) departs from historical romance to focus light on an aspect of ministry usually kept in the dark. Recommended for fans of Lynn Hinton's Friendship Cake (LJ 6/1/00).
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books (March 14, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576737489
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576737484
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #966,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lisa Samson was born in Baltimore, MD. She lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband Will. Lisa is the mother to three kids, has a cat named Miles, and three chickens: Violet, Camille, and Charlotte.

Lisa's been writing for almost two decades now and doesn't plan on quitting anytime soon. She also runs Luminary, a creative support service for novelists.

Grapefruit juice, potato chips, art, eating good food, watching AMC shows on Netflix, and good conversation with friends and family make her extremely happy. Tomato juice, blue tortilla chips, math, running, watching news tv, and silly conversations about whose kids are better . . . not so much. She loves to paint and read and watch good movies.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By L.J.DANIELS on March 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have it & I'm NOT selling it!!This is by far the best book I've read in the past year! (And I read 3-5 novels every month...) The characters lives are so real you begin to think of them as your actual friends. With poignant honesty, that will make you smile, laugh til it hurts, cry buckets & pray harder. I am a better friend & person for having read this book. Buy it & keep it!!
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By R. Tiedemann on July 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
I was peacefully reading along, enjoying some recognizable characters with somewhat predictable problems, appreciating the relationships between the church people of Mount Oak and sympathizing with Poppy's struggles with her life and her secret when, suddenly, this tame little book rose up and smacked me in the face. Like life tends to do sometimes.
This book asks the ancient question, "Why does God allow..." and offers the equally ancient answer. It's the soothing quietness of Samson's prose that contrasts so vividly with the issues she deals with here. Read it with your heart open -- it will hurt, but it will heal, as well.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
I can't believe the previous reviewer read the same book I did! But she proves the message Lisa Samson was trying, I thought, to get across in her book: that Christians are all too eager to tear their brothers and sisters in Christ apart. The Church Ladies holds us all accountable to be kinder people, to watch our words and our actions and always be ready to extend grace. And yet, the characters were always human, not super-Christians who can do no wrong. I set down the novel feeling challenged to grow. You'll enjoy this. You may not feel comfortable with it all the time, but if you allow God to speak, I guarantee He'll have something to say.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
The main character as a sassy first lady showed through her struggles that all is not always perfect or even as good as it seems in the parsonage. I appreciated her struggles and her victory as well as the sub-plot that showed that true Christians cooperate and work together. A wonderful victory for the power of praying women also comes through loud and clear.
As an international missionary who doesn't wear floral culottes and has found that dreadlocks bear up best for me in the tropics, I find it healing and validating for author Lisa Samson's to expose some of the church's less comely ways. Thank God for His patience and for her showing that prayer, cooperation, and concentrating on the majors of our blessed hope in Christ can accomplish much in the Kingdom!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
The Church Ladies is one of the best books I've read this year. The writing is fresh and witty, and Poppy is one of the most honest characters to stroll across the pages of a book. I laughed and I cried and I was forced more than once to examine my own beliefs. I highly recommend The Church Ladies. -- Robin Lee Hatcher, author of Ribbon of Years
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Colleen Coble on April 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
The Church Ladies is a welcome departure from a lot of Christian books that make all of us Christians out to be perfect. The characters in Lisa Samson's book are real enough, and flawed enough, to share an iced latte with. Lisa Samson has a unique, wry humor that permeates this book and I will be looking for more books from her!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Clauson on April 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
This well-written book doesn't wrap everything up at the end like a pretty Christmas package like a lot of Christian fiction I've read. The characters are believable and the book is funny. I found her writing similar in some ways to Jamie Langston Turner which is a high compliment.
More about the pastor's wife and her journey through accepting God's grace and forgiveness than the "church ladies," this book helps us to see that although life isn't a bowl of cherries, God's grace is sufficient for His children.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on March 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
Poppy Fraser is consumed with guilt because she happily remembers the times in Baltimore when her husband Duncan was a computer geek reeling in some healthy cash. To her those were the good old days even if her spouse worked seven days a week and rarely had time for her or their children. However, his mid-life crisis was not a younger, taller, blonder siren. It was worse to Poppy as Duncan found God. This led to a radical change in lifestyle for the Fraser family.
Duncan is now the Pastor of the Mount Oak Church, but Poppy fails to adjust to the role of pastor's wife. Instead she finds the petty rivalries of the congregation and the jobs expected of her quite tedious as if she is a modern day Job. Another action also fills Poppy with remorse that she failed her spouse in other ways.
THE CHURCH LADIES is more than just a well written cheerleading inspirational because of the insightful Poppy. Although racked with guilt and remorse, the intrepid Poppy tries to do the right thing even if she fails and is not always righteous or sisterly. She is human and makes Lisa Samson's CHURCH LADIES into an enthralling modern day tale that readers of contemporary fiction will find quite entertaining.

Harriet Klausner
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