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The Sunday Wife: A Novel Hardcover – September 4, 2002

3.9 out of 5 stars 160 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Finely drawn characters and complicated social intrigue make King's second novel (after Making Waves in Zion) a charming read. When Dean Lynchs ambitious preacher husband, Ben, is assigned to a pulpit in the small Florida town of Crystal Springs, Dean is resigned to the prospect of yet another church-owned house and the necessity of putting aside her own beloved music (she plays the piano and the dulcimer) in favor of the congregations choir. Orphaned as a child, the retiring Dean has spent 20 years of marriage in the shadow of her overbearing, charismatic husband, always feeling out of place. But when she befriends Augusta, a wealthy, well-born, caustic beauty whose attendance at the Crystal Springs Methodist Church would be Ben's greatest coup, Dean finds herself coming out of her shell and tangled up in secrets she is not prepared to handle. The only false note comes from the gay couple Augusta befriends, who border on stereotype. The rest of King's secondary cast, which includes a sympathetic psychic and the magnetic but sinister former preacher at Ben's church, is a captivating bunch. King has written a truly heartwarming story, a tale of turbulent emotions and the vagaries of public opinion in a small Southern town; she has a sure winner here.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

For 20 years, Willodean (Dean) Lynch has been molded into what her ambitious, upwardly mobile minister husband and his congregation consider to be the perfect preacher's wife. Then she meets Augusta Holderfield, a free spirit who encourages her to break loose. The more her husband and his too-pious congregants try to smother her, the more liberated Dean wants to be. Unfortunately, she learns the hard way that freedom can come at a very high price. Told in the first person and heavy on Southern atmosphere, this novel is peppered with Dean's wry observations. All aspects of institutional religious hypocrisy, intolerance, ultraconservatism, and general self-righteousness are fair game as Dean discovers who she really is. King, who is married to novelist Pat Conroy (Prince of Tides), has proven herself to be an extraordinary author in her own right. Fans of Patricia Gaffney and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings will enjoy this extremely well-written book. Essential for libraries of all sizes. Shelley Mosley, Glendale P.L., AZ
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; 1 edition (September 4, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786869054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786869053
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,259,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Janet Shultz on March 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
I couldn't put this book down and found the characters very believable and far from being one-dimensional. The negative reviews of this book seem to be very lame. Many of the negative reviews are from people who read the book because Cassandra King is married to Pat Conroy. Humph, and then complained because it wasn't written like a Pat Conroy novel ! ?! Some of the negative reviews left me wondering if the reviewers even read the book, and if they read the book, how they couldn't help but draw similarities between the characters in the book and those we meet in real life.

Some negative reviewers here felt Ben, Dean's minister husband, to be underdeveloped as a character in this book. I think his portrayal in the book is perfect, real characters such as Ben live one-dimensional lives. They live only for themselves and other people that come in and out of their lives have very little influence on such characters. Failing to develop this character was certainly not an oversight of this author, Cassandra King, I'm sure it was an intentional representation of just such a character.

Just as the "Bens" of this world exist, so too, do the "Deans" of this world and usually they find each other. Unlike real life, many "Deans" never find an "Augusta" to come along and save them. I loved King's Augusta character and found her to be a combination of a couple of my close friends. I was so annoyed with one reviewer's comments about the "unbelievable" characters in this story; I couldn't help but wonder if this person lived a one-dimensional life. The reviewer found it hard to believe that Dean stayed with Ben for 20 years. Here is the exact quote: "I gather that she stayed with Ben for 20 years because of her background and her current situation as a verbally abused wife.
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Format: Paperback
The last few times I was in a bookstore, I would see this book sitting on the shelf. I almost bought it once but thought, no, I better not. I finally caved and bought it last week. As soon as I could, I picked this one up and fell in love with Willowdean "Dean" Lynch. I have to admit that I've always wondered what it would be like to be a pastor's wife. But I was not prepared for the exasperation I felt for the characters (especially for Dean's husband, Ben, who is such an incredibly selfish character) nor did I expect to feel grief on Dean's part when she experienced a difficult tragedy.

King really draws the reader into her story and the reader finds empathy with the characters as well. No matter how exasperating they can be ~~ or how wonderful, they are based on people like you and me. The descriptions of Florida are ones that I never thought of ~~ especially since I don't know anything about Florida.

There is one flaw with this book ~~ somewhere in the middle of the book, the story line just went from fast-paced to drifting ~~ with no conclusion in sight. Then towards the end, it was more put-together, unlike the first part of the book. It did make for some confusing moments as if there were two writers writing the book. But Dean, the main character, was the same throughout the book and she was the one I was interested in reading about.

This is a perfect summer beach read! It's interesting and wonderful about love between two people who have lost so much only to find so much joy. There are stories about the parsonage that makes me wonder if people are really that hyprocritical. Then again, everyone's human. So if you're looking for an entertaining read ~~ pick this one up. You'll be rooting for Dean before long!

5-3-05
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Format: Paperback
I really liked this book. I don't understand buying a book because the author is married to another author you like, then griping about it being disappointing. If you want Conroy, buy his books. Ahem. But I digress.
Dean is married to a man of God who is anything but angelic and happens upon a town of gossips and people to gossip about. She befriends Augusta who is a free spirit with a past that enables her to make a connection with Dean. Dean discovers herself and how she's sold herself short on life just in the nick of time.
I found the book entertaining, fell in love with the little boy, Gus, and wished at times I had a friend like Augusta who would draw attention to the times I was in jeopardy of selling out.
It's a good read.
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Format: Hardcover
"The Sunday Wife" is set in the redneck South, but has a universal theme. Dean Lynch, the protagonist, is a kind but insecure woman stuggling to find her identity as the wife of a self-righteous, but charming, local preacher. She then meets Augusta, a wild Southern beauty who appears to have everything in life, including a reckless drive for confrontation and self-assertion. Augusta is Dean's anti-matter, and when the two get together, a chain reaction is initiated with disastrous, then ultimately triumphant, consequences. This book, which alternates between outrageous humor and dark imagery, is for anyone who wants to see what it is like to live a life different from their own (how many of us know what it is like to be the preacher's wife in the Bible belt?) It is also for anyone who had to struggle to find themselves, and didn't succeed until later in life. Plus, it is just plain fun to read. Last advice: don't expect to read this book for several days if you are going on a long trip, I finished it in only 3 (sleepless) nights!
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