Pastors’ Wives

Pastors’ Wives

What’s it like when the man you married is already married to God? asks Pastors’ Wives, an often surprising yet always emotionally true first novel set in a world most of us know only from the outside.

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.

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  • This book was so real, funny and sad all in one! I know alot of Pastors’ Wives and this book could sum up a little bit of what they go through in certain expects! You think that the first lady of the church is all together but she also has problems that cant be shown on the outside, problems in marriage, self and everyday life!

  • Buzz4Mommies says:

    This book is one of those that I just couldn’t put down. I was so enamored with the characters and their situations and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. This book was so juicy and entertaining yet really enlightening. I think so often we think of Pastor’s and their wives as super human instead of just human. They make mistakes just like the rest of us, they just do it with an audience. I cannot begin to imagine the pressure. The three ladies in this book were dynamic, interesting and real. They are going through struggles that many of us can and will relate to yet it is even more dynamic in their situations. This is a terrific read and I highly recommend it!

  • This book was not what I expected. I am not sure what I expected, but it was not this!! Ruthie, Candace, and Ginger are our main pastor’s wives, but there are others sprinkled throughout the book.

    What I didn’t expect was the laugh out loud moments in here! I loved that! It was filled with heavy topics, but had lighter jokes interspersed throughout that made them easier to read…….

  • Pastors’ Wives is a realistic portrayal of three very different women whose lives intertwine as pastors’ wives in an Evangelical megachurch in the Atlanta suburb of Magnolia. As each of the women struggle with personal challenges in their lives, they evolve into their own true selves as they learn to juggle the demands of living a public life of religious service with the demands in their private life.

    This is a story that will captivate the reader’s attention from the start, you can’t help but be intrigued by the inner workings of the megachurch ministry, and the behind the scenes supporting role as a pastor’s wife. Pastors’ Wives is a thoughtful, compelling and thoroughly enjoyable read.

  • I’ve never been a pastor’s wife but I have been involved in Protestant churches all my life (including being on church boards) and I think Lisa has gotten it right. Her fictional account of three pastor’s wives gives a realistic view of the challenges they face. Their lives are not all neat and pretty, even though people want that appearance. I am impressed with this debut and look forward to more from Lisa.

  • Excerpt:

    What pulled me in to this book was Cullen’s exclusive look into the usually well-hidden personal lives of this sect of women; however, what kept me turning pages was Cullen’s extremely funny prose and wit. Her descriptions, detail, and emotionally gripping characters were excellent.

    I would highly recommend this book for anyone who likes to read human interest stories in magazines such as Time or Newsweek, or those that like biographies, contemporary cultural fiction, or humor. You don’t have to be a Christian to read this book, because this book is not about making you religious. This book is for anyone who likes a dose of reality TV, just this time it happens to be Pastor’s Wives.

  • It’s obviously a fictionalized account of life as a pastor’s wife, but when it comes to the basics, Cullen does a good job of capturing the unique challenges faced by the families of those in full-time Christian ministry. I read the entire book in two days. I didn’t want to put it down. It’s kinda like a “Real Housewives of the Mega Church” – there’s plenty of drama, and the plot and characters hook you in right from the beginning.

  • Even though this novel is about a church and the women who “run” behind the scenes, it was not an in-your-face introduction to God, but a much more subtle unwrapping of how He is uniquely embraced by unique individuals.

  • This book was enjoyable. I fell in love with these women and hated it when the book ended. I had laugh-out-loud moments and moments when I had a tear in my eye. Don’t you love a book that pulls you in emotionally because you care about the characters so much?

    A lot of the situations that leaders go through in this book are very real. I think it was excellent how she showed what happens “behind the scenes” at many of our churches. I really liked how she shows the flaws that so many of us have. I really enjoyed the humor and it really is a very well written book. There were a few things that hit my conservative nerve in the wrong way, however, since this is not really your typical Christian book, it’s rather expected.

  • When I read Pastors’ Wives it was nice to see that everyone has obstacles at they have to overcome even if their husband is a man who has answered a calling to serve in another state, and start a whole new life. I give this book a 5/5 and will be waiting for another book by this author.

  • First, just let me make this clear. This is not, technically, Christian fiction, but fiction with a religious theme. Not a negative, you understand, but I just want potential readers to understand before they start reading. The characters are a little more realistic than you would find in Christian fiction, with real struggles and problems that are not always addressed in typical religious genres. Combine that with a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of those in the ministry, and you have a fascinating, if possibly controversial, novel.

    Just like the novel, pastors’ wives are real people with the same problems we all face. The novel brings these struggles to light. Overall, a fascinating look at a subject not often explored.

  • Happy Four says:

    This is a fabulous book that allows you in the private lives of three women. It is as if you have permission to see behind the veil in to their private lives, thoughts, past and struggles. Albeit, this is s fiction book, Lisa does a great job of showing the human side of people in ministry.

  • This is a very interesting story. I don’t think I would want to be a pastor’s wife or daughter. From seeing the show Preacher’s Daughters to reading this book. I think these people have their work cut out for them. This book is about three very different women. This book is never predictable and was very good.

  • The IE Mommy says:

    This book is a novel; however I have endured many of the same struggles in the lives of my friends that are pastors’ wives. I believe that the author has a very real portrayal into the challenges of being a pastor’s wife. She shows the good, the bad, the insecure and the judgmental in all three of these characters.

    Just when you think you know what is going to happen in Pastors’ Wives, the author throws in a curve ball and all the pastors’ wives lives are changed.

  • Pastors’ Wives deals with the lives of 3 women, two who went into marriage knowing they would be a pastors’ wife, and one having no idea she would end up one.

    I loved the 3 different perspectives the 3 different woman brought to the topic of being a wife of a pastor. I loved the honest look at the women’s backgrounds and attitudes. The author did not give each woman a background of roses in which to grow from and I thought that brought a level of depth to the book.

  • This book is not what I expected, but I’m not sure exactly what that was. I have mixed views on it: some things I really liked; others, not so much. I like how the book doesn’t tie everything up in neat packages but shows it like real life, with issues that still need to be worked on between some of the characters. Also, when two characters are faced with the opportunity to have an affair, they both choose not to and to keep their marriage vows. Items I did not like in this novel: Ruthie often compares Catholicism to Protestant/Evangelicalism with the later often losing out even though she doesn’t practice either one on a regular basis.

  • The story starts off a little slow but quickly takes root like the Magnolia tree, and winds itself around your heart. You will feel for all the wives and the stresses they have and how they strive to rise (or not rise as it may be) above them. It is an interesting read and I gifted a copy to my pastor’s wife, and she said the same-“happy that it shows us as human, and how many pitfalls can come upon us, but there are different types based on the size of the congregation, and this book was a good starting point”.

    The book will definitely help you to see your pastor’s wife in a new light, and an enjoyable Summer read.

  • Pastor’s wives are real people too. They are thrust in the spotlight after their husband stands behind the podium, they are judged on how they raise their kids, evaluated on how they handle difficult situations and are expected to remain godly when their husband is attacked.

    Pastor’s Wives made me laugh out loud and it was an enjoyable read, but it is a book of fiction. One thing I believe Pastor’s Wives does well, is point out how hard it is to be the woman behind the pastor.

  • I have been a preacher’s wife and I know how it affected my life, but I’ve neither been part of or even attended a mega church. Therefore, I can’t really relate much of my experience with this book. I would hate to think this is what it’s like “backstage” in these churches.

  • This is a great book. It is about something not written about often in fiction. The behind the scenes of a pastors wife. I was hooked from the beginning and really liked all the characters. A great first novel by this author.

  • This book gets down to the nuts&bolts of a pastor wife. Women that successfully stand by their husband not only through thick&thin. But also through the sometimes begrudging task of being the lady behind the scenes.

  • As one of those “Pastors’ Wives” I found the book to be a most realistic portrayal of three very different women whose lives intertwine as pastors’ wives in a huge Evangelical in the South. Each of the women struggles with personal challenges in their lives and it was quite amazing to watch them change into the women they were called to become as they learn about themselves and their public vs private lives. The book is written in the alternating perspectives of three pastors’ wives and the reader follows Ginger, Ruthie, and Candace as they learn their roles in the ministry of their husband. The struggles these three women face as they deal with issues of faith, identity, and responsibilities is well portrayed by Cullens in her debut novel. She has quite a grasp on the subject and knows these women personally(even though they are fictional). This story had me from the very beginning. The inner workings of a huge church were intriguing and as a pastors’ wife in a small church the similarities were glaring. The author did an amazing job of portraying the women as normal, with all their flaws and personal issues. This book is one of those that I just couldn’t put down. I was so enamored with the characters and their situations and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. So many times the congregation and communities think of Pastors’ and their wives as super human instead of just human. Believe me, we do make mistakes just like the rest of the world This is a terrific read and I highly recommend it!

  • This book weaves together three womens’ lives around a church. They each tell a different story. They each have differences in their marriages, with children, in their personalities and in their walks with God. We can each relate to one of them or some parts of each of them. That makes this story so relatable. There is drama, love, romance, Christianity and life in general.

  • I would have to say that the book is very well written. Cullen’s characters are well developed and very shortly into the book you feel like you know these women. I like how Cullen shared the story from all three women’s perspective. She rotates the story from chapter to chapter from each vantage point, but the story flows well. I also thought she did an exceptional job of filling the reader in on the backstory of each woman and did so fluently.

  • I really enjoyed this book. This is Lisa’s debut book and I think she did a fantastic job. While this book isn’t necessarily an inspirational Christian novel, I think it has a great story line. There is not anything that I found to be offensive and many of the trials these women go through are exactly how it is in real life. Pastor’s and their wives are normal people just like everyone else, and while everything might look good on the outside, this book takes you behind closed doors.

    If you are looking for a light fun read, I highly recommend Pastors’ Wives!

    “I received this book for free from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review”.

  • Overall, I felt this book took an amazing approach to the story. I know next to nothing about those mega churches, and this was a very interesting look into that world. It pointed out flaws and strengths of this system. I appreciated the open approach. I could easily see the appeal of someone like Aaron Green. Incredibly open-minded and charismatic, he still managed to be humble in his life.

  • Instead, Pastors’ Wives is a well-written tale of women, defined by their husbands, trying to find their own way in the world. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a story with real women going through real struggles.

  • I loved the authors writing and I did love the characters in this book.

  • I was intrigued by the way the story played out. I kept waiting for one of the women to turn out to be ‘bad’ or lose her faith or trash the church, but it was much more real than that. It was about three women who loved their husbands and struggled at various levels with exactly what that is supposed to look like when the husband is part of the face of a church. Ruthie’s story in particular was interesting for me in the fact that she didn’t marry into the ministry, so to speak, but was taken into it as a not so willing participant.

  • Pastors’ Wives is a good story; but there are parts of the book that evangelical Christians may not agree with. Anyone interested in how mega churches really work will find the book fascinating. Cullen does an excellent job developing the characters of the pastor’s wives, from super-perfect Candace, to free spirit Ruthie, and to insecure Ginger.

    I do recommend this book. I believe it raises important issues that need to be examined.

  • Real. That was the first word that came to mind when I finished this book. And actually when I was only about a quarter of the way through. Because it’s based on real interviews with pastor’s wives, this book reads equal parts expose and fully human. Each of the three main characters tells the story from her point of view so you feel like you get inside their heads and understand why they would make the choices they do.

    Having grown up in the church I can imagine some of the stress placed on the pastor’s wife, being a very visible figure in the church, but I definitely can’t imagine having to be in that position. I think perhaps this book, while a fascinating read, will also help us have a little more empathy for the fact that they are people just like us.

  • In Wonder says:

    There are many types of churches. Pastor’s wives is the “soap” like story of a mega-(religious) business in which each of those in leadership is straining to climb their own Babelonian tower of success. I did enjoy the alternating chapter development of the 3 main characters. The author did present a fairly accurate mix of church in America…there are some who find true faith, forgiveness, hope and restoration in Jesus as the character Ginger. Some who remain somewhat (confused) or non-commital as Ruthie. Others who are “in” church for the personal benefit and power it offers. This book left me feeling sad that in our culture it is often hard to find the Biblical Jesus (even) at church.

  • 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.

  • Pastor Wive’s was an intriguing look at the world of Mega Church wives. While fictional, there is always a little bit of truth in fiction, and this is seen in the this book. With themes such as insecurity, pride, being called to ministry and how to be the “perfect” ministry wife (is there actually such a thing?), I seriously loved this book.

    It had humorous and serious parts aplenty, but most importantly, I loved that the character’s were so real-to-life. I laughed with them, cried with them and in general, cheered them on.

  • I was super curious to read this book when offered and grabbed it right up. Being a PK since I was 7 & now a PW (pastors wife) I wondered if the author would portray a true to live view of pastors wives (yes, I realize this is a fiction book). I think Lisa has done a wonderful job portraying what SOME pastors wives are like. I love that she wrote from 3 POVs & I feel like Lisa is in no way belittling or ridiculing PWs. Wonderful writing style, really sucks you in.

  • Cullen’s characters are just mesmerizing. From Ruthie – the new associate pastor’s wife; to Candace, the head pastor’s wife and the power behind the “throne”; to Ginger, the daughter-in-law with the secret past – all of these women are unique and have their own quirks of identity, yet all of their stories blend together for a surprising ending.

    I really enjoyed reading this book.

  • It is very well written and the story is engaging. Growing up in church, I have known women like each of the main characters in the story, and I know the pressures of being a pastor’s wife, because I’ve been one for 28 years.

  • I was interested in reading this book because I thought it had a different premise and wanted to get inside the heads and lives of pastors’ wives. I should mention that this book is not written by a Christian author or published by a Christian publishing company so there is a tiny bit of language and is not as squeaky clean as a Christian novel would be, but then I think some of that is the point. That pastors’ wives aren’t perfect and have many of their own struggles. I know that and it is good for us to realize that they are just normal people with husband’s who have an extraordinary calling which makes their calling to be married to these men pretty extraordinary.

  • Reading Pastors’ Wives is a little like watching Desperate Housewives.

    Just as you would not mistake Susan, Lynette, Gabby or Bree for ordinary, stay-at-home moms, you should not mistake Ginger, Candace or Ruthie as Christian role models who are typical or representative of evangelical women who are married to pastors.

    If you realize this going in and do not take the book seriously – if you approach the book purely for its entertainment value and don’t get hung up by any pre-conceived notions you might have based on the title – then you can sit back and enjoy the story.

    Lisa has done a skillful job of portraying these three fictional women and their personal struggles as women who are thrust in the public eye as a result of their husband’s role on the pulpit.

  • Unexpected Plot:

    I could not believe where the author, Lisa Cullen, took us! It was exciting and also unexpected outcome for all three of these ladies! I loved how the turn out was…and all their struggles sort of came to a head and surprised me with the resolve. Though it always seems that something so big as a mega church needs something big as what happened to Candace’s husband, Aaron Green. I never imagined it would be that!

  • Pastors’ Wives is amazingly well written. It’s a tightly-woven story of several families all connected to pastors and how they handle the pressures and stresses of always being the public specter, of how much of a leadership role they really play in their respective churches. The details spring each character to life and the large cast of characters keep the story interesting. The drama happening inside the church reads like a soap opera (as I imagine it often does in real life), and you won’t be bored with this story.

  • I really enjoyed this book, and I think that it will appeal to a wide audience. There were times that I found myself laughing out loud and on two separate occasions reading through tears. That’s unusual for me. Not being emotional, but actually crying! That reason alone makes it worthy of a recommendation. The truth is though that Pastor’s Wives has a lot more than that going for it. So, if you find yourself feeling indifferent, I hope that my review will be the thing that encourages you to give it a try. I really think you’re going to like it!

  • I chose this book because I loved the description. I also loved the characters: Ruthie, Ginger, and Candace. I loved the book: from the first page to the last. The book started with Ruthie’s story, then moved into Candace’s story. At the beginning of each chapter, under the chapter number, is the character. The stories flowed from one to the next. I definitely do recommend not reading more than one book at a time, when you read this one. I took a short break and had to start over.

  • Learning what PASTOR’S WIVES go through when being married to a pastor, is an eye-opener that many may not have considered before. PASTORS’ WIVES gives one a new perspective in this arena.

    PASTORS’ WIVES is realistic in so many ways, it is easy to relate to not just the wonderful characters in it, but also the great dynamics of this story. There is plenty of conflict, happy moments, humor, and emotion to keep one turning pages. If one wants to experience a behind-the-scenes look into the workings of a mega-church such as Greenleaf, then PASTORS’ WIVES is a good place to start.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

  • This book is not what I expected. For some reason, I was expecting a self-help book advising pastors’ wives on how to handle their marriage. Yes, I’m aware the cover clearly says it’s a novel, but I was still surprised. However, I did enjoy the book, for the most part. I enjoyed the real struggles between the three women, their families, and outsiders. I liked seeing into their lives, as if they were real.

  • Although it’s a book about pastor’s wives, it’s not exactly a Christian book. The story is about the characters, not about how to deepen one’s faith. If you’re looking for a devotional or some uplifting messages for pastor’s wives, this is not the book you want. This is a novel and reads like one. It’s really a great read, one that made me care deeply for the characters. It gave me some food for thought about the way I’ve underappreciated the pastors’ wives in my life

  • Lisa Takeuchi Cullen explores the behind-the-scenes issues in her first novel, Pastors’ Wives. Her style is more “edgy” and journalistic than many I’ve read in the Christian fiction genre lately. I enjoyed it for a change of pace. I found the subject interesting and Lisa’s take on the women in the church was insightful. It’s definitely a character-driven story. A word of warning: it is not a saccharine-sweet, escapist read. It does not tie everything up neatly in the end, which of course mirrors real life. If you enjoy true-to-life characters from differing backgrounds doing their best to find their purpose and faith, you’ll enjoy this book.

  • I’ve read several books about Pastor’s Wives, as a former pastor’s wife, it’s a subject that not only can I relate to, but enjoy reading about. I was skeptical about this one because it comes from an “outsider” so to speak. I wondered if she could capture the emotions, the dynamics of being a pastor’s wife and if she could write about it in a way that would touch someone. I shouldn’t have worried.

    Lisa Takeuchi Cullen captures the stress, conflict and love of being a pastor’s wife and weaves an amazing story around it. She takes what is possibly the toughest job ever and reveals the intricacies, the heartbreak, the loneliness and wraps it up into a great read!

  • I’ve read several books about Pastor’s Wives, as a former pastor’s wife, it’s a subject that not only can I relate to, but enjoy reading about. I was skeptical about this one because it comes from an “outsider” so to speak. I wondered if she could capture the emotions, the dynamics of being a pastor’s wife and if she could write about it in a way that would touch someone. I shouldn’t have worried.

    Lisa Takeuchi Cullen captures the stress, conflict and love of being a pastor’s wife and weaves an amazing story around it. She takes what is possibly the toughest job ever and reveals the intricacies, the heartbreak, the loneliness and wraps it up into a great read!

  • This book follows three women and their everyday life journey, sharing their ups and downs of what it’s like to be a pastor’s wife. Ruthie is Catholic-the megachurch stuff she doesn’t really get, yet suddenly she is a wife to the new pastor. Candace rules the roost and runs Greenleaf church alongside her husband, she is the leading lady solving all the issues. Ginger’s past is not a pleasant one, her husband is never home, and her in-laws (Candace Green) are driving her crazy. All three of these stories are written together so that they blend into each others lives and you are wanting to read more.

    I really enjoyed this book. This is Lisa’s debut book and I think she did a fantastic job. While this book isn’t necessarily an inspirational Christian novel, I think it has a great story line.

  • There were times when I felt myself cringe, cry and even gasp at some of the things going on in the storyline…not because they just didn’t feel right but that they were so real and so personal in some ways that I found myself nodding along and sharing in the emotion of each of these three Pastors wives. As a PW there are so many sides of my life that carry unique burdens and stressors, but there are also so many moments of great joy with doing what God has called me, as well as my husband, to do.

  • What would it be like to be married to a man who serves as the head of a Church? I literally could not imagine. How would a situation like that affect your marriage? Is there a certain way you have to present yourself to the community? I did enjoy reading this book because I found it surprisingly informative. I thought that the three female characters were developed very well. I really liked getting to know each of them individually-they were distinct and different personalities. The back stories as to how they ended up the wives of pastors was very interesting, as well. I don’t think I have ever felt a calling that would be that strong yet.

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