Book Review: Pastor’s Wives by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen


Genre: Dramatic

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: April 2013

Reviewed by Lori Twichell

Ruthie Matters married a man from Wall Street. As a financial guru, her husband Jerry spent his life organizing people’s finances and building their businesses on firm financial principles. Then something happened. One day Jerry woke up and felt he’d been called by God to go into the ministry. Not like go work at a food pantry or help orphans. Like lead a church type ministry. Though Ruthie was boggled by the idea, she supported Jerry right into a mega-church that’s featured on every television, radio and print media possible. This was definitely not the life she expected.

Candace Green is the woman who is married to the man in charge of this massive church body. With precise details and vision, Candace steers the church through everything from media events to choir presentations and pretty much all the territory in between. A woman who knows when to speak, how to speak and how to scare the sock off of anyone who might cross her, Candace is not someone to be taken lightly.

Her daughter in law, Ginger, runs into the opposite end of life.  Struggling to pull together her marriage, her public persona, and wrestling with the sins of her past, Ginger is not exactly what you’d think about when you consider a pastor’s wife. These three women converge into one epic story that’s set across the backdrop of a fictional, yet highly relatable mega church.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got this book. Over the past twenty years, I’ve lived in a variety of different places and been blessed with many friendships that transcend potlucks or sermons. I know what a blessing it is to have a network of support that takes place outside that church structure, so I guard those friends and relationships zealously. I was ready to roll up my sleeves if Cullen had written a derogatory book about Pastor’s wives.

What I found was a thoughtful, well researched book that hit the mark with a perfect mixture of the “that would never happen” horror wrapped around “I wish it weren’t true” and threaded through with deep respect for faith, family, and those who serve. There were moments as I was reading that I laughed out loud and others that made me shake my head with much sadness. All of those moments were pretty much spot on for what I understand and know to be life in the ministry.

With a lot of humor, a strong dose of faith, and the perfect amount of realism, Lisa Takeuchi Cullen tackled what could have been a horribly difficult subject with grace and style becoming her own character, Candace Green. I loved this story! Once I started reading, it was nearly impossible to stop or take breaks. I will be first in line to see what Cullen brings to the table next. High on my recommendation list, I encourage you to give Pastor’s Wives a chance.

Publisher provided!