Friday, January 29, 2021

Review: The Dearly Beloved

Charles, Lily, James, and Nan are a dynamic quartet. The two men are ministers at the Third Presbyterian Church. They approach their faith very differently, but each man balances the other at work and in life. Their wives are very different as well--Lily does not believe in God at all after the death of her parents while Nan grew up in the church and loves being a part of a congregation. The four of them must work together to guide their church and each other through the tumult and changes of the mid-20th century. 

The Dearly Beloved is a beautiful story about a lifetime of faith. It's easy to put religious people in one of two camps--either they are devout, perfect people who live quiet lives or they are hypocrites who think themselves above the virtues they espouse. Instead, these characters are real people. They have doubts and challenges, and sometimes find it difficult to interact with people who believe the same things they do. But they are people who keep trying--they show up again for their spouse, their friends, their children, and their church.

This is a life novel--there are no explosions or intrigue; instead, readers get to peek into the everyday moments of a couple having an argument, a pastor having a crisis of faith, and a mother wondering what her child will grow up to be. It's a story about truly knowing people, and walking alongside them as they go through the highs and lows of life. As someone who is married to a minister, I appreciated the kindness with which Cara Wall wrote about the oftentimes unique situations ministers and their families experience. She is a beautiful, incisive writer and I will eagerly read whatever she writes next.

The Dearly Beloved
By Cara Wall
Simon and Schuster August 2019
353 pages
Read via Netgalley

2 comments:

  1. I always enjoy character-driven stories, especially when the characters are good people at heart.

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