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The Sunday Wife: A Novel

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Overview

A captivating novel about one woman's journey toward independence and the life-changing friendship that guides her there.

Married for 20 years to the Reverend Benjamin Lynch, a handsome, ambitious minister of the prestigious Methodist church, Dean Lynch has never quite adjusted her temperament to the demands of the role of a Sunday wife. When her husband is assigned to a larger and more demanding community in the Florida panhandle, Dean becomes fast friends with Augusta ...

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The Sunday Wife: A Novel

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Overview

A captivating novel about one woman's journey toward independence and the life-changing friendship that guides her there.

Married for 20 years to the Reverend Benjamin Lynch, a handsome, ambitious minister of the prestigious Methodist church, Dean Lynch has never quite adjusted her temperament to the demands of the role of a Sunday wife. When her husband is assigned to a larger and more demanding community in the Florida panhandle, Dean becomes fast friends with Augusta Holderfield, a woman whose good looks and extravagant habits immediately entrance her. As their friendship evolves, Augusta challenges Dean to break free from her traditional role as the preacher's wife. Just as Dean is questioning everything she has always valued, a tragedy occurs, providing the catalyst for change in ways she never could have imagined.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Until she met Augusta Holderfield, Dean Lynch was content to be a Sunday wife, the proud spouse of Reverend Benjamin Lynch. But gradually she realized that her husband was a different person than the congregation imagined, and she was at the crossroads of becoming a different person, too. Josephine Humphreys called The Sunday Wife "smart and funny and alert to the nuances of the complicated South."
Josephine Humphreys
A stunner . . . smart and funny and alert to the nuances of the complicated South.
People
Rich [and] satisfying.
Boston Globe
An intelligent, witty novel, skillfully written.
Orlando Sentinel
. . .Delivers haunting messages about the nature of love, freedom and forgiveness.
Anne Rivers Siddons
Cassandra King catches these quirky, complex people and their world flawlessly. A wonderful book.
Sena Jeter Naslund
enticing . . . the reader will be rooting for the liberation of the courageous and talented wife, Dean, from her repressive husband.
Connie May Fowler
A dazzling tale of deception, heartbreak and transcendence . . . sparkles with vitality and truth.
Birmingham News
Joining a distinguished tradition of southern women writers, King explores the complexities of class and sexism.
Jackson Clarion Ledger
. . . the dilemma facing women [The role of wife? Can it be filled without losing yourself?] . . . what made it real.
Anne River Siddons
A wonderful book. Cassandra King catches these quirky, complex people and their world flawlessly.
Florida International Magazine
Shines without turning into a sermon.
Publishers Weekly
Finely drawn characters and complicated social intrigue make Kings 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 Bens 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 Kings secondary cast, which includes a sympathetic psychic and the magnetic but sinister former preacher at Bens 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. Author tour. (Sept. 4) FYI: King is married to novelist Pat Conroy. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
It's difficult to know what to make of this novel. For the first two tapes, this could be an American version of the British novelist Barbara Pym's writing: a portrait of the well-intentioned but power-hungry preacher with his mismatched mate. King (Making Waves in Zion) does an excellent job of creating eccentric Southern characters whose sense of formality and manners lets them go about their everyday lives without their real personalities, or their haunting pasts, being exposed. But on the third tape, with the death of the book's most intriguing character, the sense of mystery ends, and we are left listening to a generic and unremarkable romance novel, predicting most events before reader Joan Allen mentions them. To make matters worse, the work ends with Dean, the protagonist, suddenly finding God all around her and spewing a sermon more worthy of her husband. This is ultimately a frustrating novel (at least in this abridged version). Many will enjoy it, but finding the right audience will be a question of trial and error.-Rochelle Ratner, formerly with "Soho Weekly News," New York Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786890446
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 7/23/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 527,782
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Cassandra King is the author of The Sunday Wife, The Same Sweet Girls , Making Waves and Queen of Broken Hearts. A native of Lower Alabama, she lives in the Low Country of South Carolina with her husband, novelist Pat Conroy.

Biography

Cassandra King is a native of Alabama, where she formerly taught English and creative writing classes. She has published stories and essays in various quarterlies and anthologies, and her second novel, The Sunday Wife, was published to fine reviews and acclaim. It was a SEBA bestseller. She currently resides in South Carolina with her husband, Pat Conroy. She belongs to a real-life Same Sweet Girls group, which reunites every year.

Biography courtesy of the author's official web site.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with King:

"I wonder if I'm the only writer who was raised on a peanut farm."

"I'm an Anglophile, have been for a long, long time. I absolutely adore anything British!"

"My great-grandfather, Josiah King, was a writer. He had some chapbooks of pretty dreadful poetry (unfortunately, I inherited those genes, though I love poetry almost better than anything), as well as an Alabama history book. He was considered a dreamer and a ne'er-do-well because he spent his days writing."

"Dislikes: I dislike the notion of writing as a competitive sport, and it bothers me to see writers trashing each other's books. Most of the writers I know are wonderfully supportive of each other, but I've heard some horror stories. And I've seen reviews that are plain mean-spirited and petty, from one writer to another. Doesn't make sense to me. And then there's the jealousy you see sometimes between writers, which makes even less sense. Selfishly, I want other writers to turn out good books because that means I'll have something to read. Now you know this about me: I have a tendency to get on a soapbox."

"Likes: I have a passion for birds and keep a pair of binoculars handy at all times. I also love to watch people dance. (But not to dance myself, since I was cursed with two left feet.) As a matter of fact, I love everything about dancing, and everything about birds!"

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    1. Also Known As:
      Cassandra King Conroy
    2. Hometown:
      Fripp Island, South Carolina
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 18, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Dothan, Alabama
    1. Education:
      B.A. 1967; M.A., 1988
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 38 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(19)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 9, 2013

    Have never quite figured out why some authors think they are &qu

    Have never quite figured out why some authors think they are "entitled" to shove their political views down the throats of their readers. Keep it in the middle folks. Leave poltics out of your work. Trashing one political mindset to further your cause just shows how unable you are to control your own emotions and make your book fun and interesting FOR ALL OF US!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2010

    A great read. Love her style and descriptions

    Great characters, good story, but disappointed in lack of research; King placed Chapel Hill in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2006

    Boring....disappointing...

    Unfortunately, my book club picked this book for our April choice. It'll be interesting to see if we even have anything to discuss. The characters are shallow, the plot predictable. Ms. King clearly uses this forum to indulge her disdain for Christian conservatives, and does so without bothering to create likable characters. The protagonist is weak and thin, and most others are simply charicatures. Initially, I thought it might be interesting, slightly irreverent, but Ms. King never gave me any depth to sink my teeth into, and her not-even-thinly-veiled bashing of the church and church people was what made me finally return it to the library. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good irreverent novel, even when it critiques the church and her people. But, my goodness, please, attempt some depth of characters! Where's John Irving when you really need him?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2004

    Never on Sunday

    This is not ususally my type of book, but I had to do something while Hurricane Frances was howling. The book is a slow starter and although I am enough of a reader to stick with a book to the end, it took a long time for something to happen and up until then the reading was cliched and monotonous. The main character, Dean Lynch, whom I found annoying in the extreme, alludes to her background but that area of the plot is never fleshed out. The characters are stereotypically the 'good' and the 'bad' - I don't want to say more and ruin the read for someone who might like this book. And I though the ending cornball.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2003

    A Great Selection for Book Study Group

    The Sunday Wife is a powerful narrative depicting the trials and triumphs of Dean Lynch, a shy, middle-aged minister's wife, who must deal with her conflicting feelings of finding happiness or settling for what others expect of her. She is married to a dominating, self-absorbed, verbally abusive man whose piety is as shallow as his ambitions are great. With the help of a newly found friend, Dean discovers her true inner self and courage to make life-changing decisions that will turn her world and the church community upside down. This book is jam-packed with controversies concerning women's traditional roles in the church, bigotry, gay marriages and the sanctity of ministers. It has something to please and offend everyone. Cassandra King has suceeded in writing a novel that will incite heated discussions. A bit slow in places, but definitely a book to contemplate long after the final page is read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2003

    Cliche, Cliche, Cliche

    I wish I hadn't known she was Pat Conroys wife. I kept hoping her writing would be more like his. I found so much of verbage to be cliche. I guess she should write a sequel and maybe it will be better. I was going to have book club read it for discussion but decided it was not a good way to spend the money.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2013

    not recommened

    Hard book to stay with somewhat boring

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2013

    One of the best books I've ever read. I loved it and would tell

    One of the best books I've ever read. I loved it and would tell anyone to read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    Good read!

    Spent a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon curled up on my couch enjoying this lovely book :)

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  • Posted August 1, 2012

    highly recommend

    This book was referred to me by a friend. I would recommend it highly too. Although Dean gets into some "fixes" that most would not, the protrayal of the expectations of ministers' wives and the dangers and expectations of successful ministers was very well done. Great read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2012

    Loved it!

    This is my favorite of Cassandra's books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2008

    Great Southern Setting

    Love Kings settings! The characters are excellent, well flushed out, even a few that really reach out. Great detail - An entertaining read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2006

    Great, fun read

    I really enjoyed this book as I was looking for a fun, less serious book to read. The story line moved along great and, in my opinion, nothing was predicable and I was kept guessing and surprised at the end. If you are very religious, this might not be the book for you, because the some of the characters in this book are religious and hold positions in various churches, and these characters are not portrayed in the best manner.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2006

    Great!

    I really enjoyed this book and would recommend to friends!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2006

    A FUN read !

    This book was everything I hoped it would be. A fantastic read. Funny and very cute. Sad at times. Recommend this book !!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2005

    Excellent Read!!

    I am not a dedicated reader & decided to try to make some time to read. I loved this book! It kept me on the edge. I never wanted to put it down. I stayed up late last night to finish it. I can't wait to start her next book!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2005

    The Best Book I've Read In Ages!

    I picked this book up at the free paperback book swap at our local library, and I am so glad that I did! 'The Sunday Wife' has to be one of the best books I've read in a long time! At first I wasn't sure about it and even thought it might be a little boring, but I literally could not put this book down. It was interesting, funny, sad, and descriptive about the location, etc...It was a wonderful story and it's the kind that stays with you long after the book is finished. I highly recommend it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2005

    GREAT BOOK

    I'm not an avid reader, but this book was good enough to keep my attention. I felt extremely sympathetic toward Dean because of the way her husband treated her. I cried when I found out what happened to Augusta. I recommend this book as a nice, casual, easy read...no technicalities here, nothing too deep to think about.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2005

    Enjoyable

    I loved this book. I don't think it was a slow starter at all but the author developing the characters. I loved this book and now want to read everything Cassandra King has ever written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2004

    CLERGY SPOUSES, PAY ATTENTION

    This book was so refreshing during times when religious extremism is ever on the rise. I think everyone should buy this book for their minister's spouse for Christmas. Of course, those are not the only readers who will enjoy this entertaining page-turner. The woman who found it a slow start lost be somewhere. I couldn't put it down.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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