Sunday Brunch: A Novel

Sunday Brunch: A Novel

by Norma L. Jarrett


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Sunday Brunch: A Novel by Norma L. Jarrett

Waiting to Exhale meets Church Folk as five female attorneys do brunch each week to trade tales about their love lives, law firms, and the Lord!

Meet Capri, an attorney at a top Houston firm. She seems to have it all together all the time until a seductive client topples her self-control. Then there’s Jermane, a devout Catholic who met her husband in law school and has never been with another man. But now her workaholic marriage is threatened by temptation.

Angel, on the other hand, sees men merely as a means to sex. Her scorn for love of all kinds—godly or otherwise—is challenged by a serious health scare. Meanwhile, Jewel bases her dating choices on the size of a man’s bank account until she meets a new flame who causes her to reconsider her requirements.

Finally, there’s Lexi, the link between the ladies, who provides sage advice while praying for Mr. Right. But what happens when depression hits hard?

Through conversation and consolation, these dynamic characters provide one another with divine inspiration—encouraging readers to root for them along the way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767915700
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 06/08/2004
Pages: 354
Sales rank: 469,034
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

An honors graduate of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, NORMA L. JARRETT is also the author of Coffee Table Quotes for the Contemporary Christian. Raised in New Jersey, she now lives in Houston, Texas, and belongs to Pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church.

Read an Excerpt


Sunday Go to Meetin'

Lord, good morning. It's me again—Lexi. I come to You this morning with humble heart and mind. I'm truly grateful for the many things You've done in my life. I'm thankful for passing the bar examination on the first try. I know it could have only been You. I'm thankful for my law practice, even though I'm not making all the money I want to make right now. I know it's coming. I'm thankful for wonderful friends, even Jewel. You've truly brought me a long way.

I know I haven't been reading my Bible like I should lately, but honestly, Lord, I've been tired. I know You've delivered me from some "stuff," but sometimes I feel like I have to fight for everything. Is this the way it's always going to be? Forgive me for questioning You. And speaking of forgiveness, please excuse my weakness (again) when I gave in to Reggie. I'll try to be stronger the next time. I know sex is a sin; I'd been doing pretty well by holding out, but some of these men are really not with the celibacy program. (Oh, why does this phone always ring when I'm in the middle of prayer!) And Lord, please bless this day! Thanks. Amen!

My eyes sprang open. Still kneeling, I reached over to grab the receiver from the nightstand. "Hello?"

"Hey, bud. What's up? It's Capri."

I got up and sat on the side of my bed. "Hey, girl."

"Just calling to see what time we were meeting for brunch."

"Angelica said we should aim for one, which is when I made reservations, so we should head to brunch right after church."


"I mean Angel."

"Since when do we call her Angelica?"

"I don't know. She's been going through this pseudo-bourgeoise phase."

"What's that all about?" Capri asked.

"She's on a 'I'm a mature business woman of the world' trip. You know Angel. She can be intense."

"I would expect that type of drama from Jewel, but not Angel."

"Anyway, girl, what are you wearing?" I asked.

"I don't know. Whatever I get up and decide to put on."

"I think I'm going to wear a dress today. I feel like being very feminine," I said.

"Whatever. This Sunday brunch thing is really starting to be a bore . . . all we do is gossip."

"Ummm . . . I know. But with all our schedules, it's the only way we can stay connected," I said.

"I guess you're right."

"I really look forward to our little brunch dates."

"That's because you don't have a life," Capri said.


I tried not to get an attitude about Capri's comment since, for the moment, it was true. Dating Reginald wasn't exactly my idea of "a life." I tried to remember the last time we'd gone out for a date instead of staying in, watching rented DVDs and eating takeout food. It had actually been several months.

"I have to go. I have to do my usual Sunday morning makeover," I said with all seriousness in my voice.

"Alright, girl, but make sure you exfoliate those feet, because the last time I saw them, they were lookin' kinda rough. Oh yeah, and please be on time to church."

"See, why'd you have to go all there with the feet?" I said as I inspected my heels. "Some of us can't afford the weekly pedicures, OK? Some of us have to get out the old pumice stone from time to time and do it ourselves. Some of us have to slather on the petroleum jelly and use a few plastic sandwich bags. Is that OK with you?"

"Lexi! I'm just kidding, girl. I know how sensitive you are about your feet."

"And I'll be on time."

"Bye, girl," Capri said.

After I hung up, I walked to the bathroom and ran my bathwater. I added some crystals and a little baby oil to the water. Steam and the scent of vanilla tickled my nose. I removed a large natural-colored towel from the linen closet and draped it across the vanity stool. I pulled out a mulberry-scented candle and lit it with a match from a San Antonio souvenir matchbook. I slid in the tub and let the clear, smooth water cover me like a blanket. Then I tilted my head back against the inflatable terry cloth pillow.

I grabbed my favorite magazine, Essence, and perched it on the silver bath tray in front of me. I flipped each page, trying to find something interesting.

Oooh, beauty secrets of Hollywood's A-list. Hmmm, let's see . . . Oh, that's what Janet Jackson uses on her skin? Bet. I'm going to check that out. She's still my girl! . . . Get out! Tyra Banks uses this lip gloss? It only costs $4.99?

I continued flipping the pages, soaking up the latest celebrity beauty trends and outfits, enjoying a guilty pleasure before getting ready for church. I soon dropped the magazine on the floor and slid farther into the warm water. My muscles welcomed the soothing liquid.

My serenity was interrupted by hunger pangs.

I still have some fruit in the fridge. I can grab some grapes on the way out to tide me over till brunch.

Brunch with Jermane, Jewel, Angel, and Capri had become our ritual ever since we graduated from Westwood's School of Law. Regardless of what's going on in our lives (and it could be anything), we rarely failed to meet after church every Sunday.

Although I wasn't raised in the church, I had developed a deeper connection to God since moving to Houston. In the South, church is such a normal part of life. But the longer I live, the more I realize that going to church is just the beginning. You don't experience true growth until you develop a personal relationship with God.

Back in my undergrad days, I was way too busy enjoying the freedom and benefits of the "Black college experience" to get deeply spiritual. Plus, some of the students who said they were saved were the most conniving, cheating folks I'd ever met. I almost resented Christians, and now here I am, going to church weekly, on my way to developing a personal connection with the Lord. God has a plan for all of us to be in certain places at certain times, to meet certain people, to grow, love, learn, share, teach, and uplift.

Despite my delayed spiritual connection, I've always had wisdom beyond my years, which has helped me to keep all of my friends connected. We're all at different places in our careers, relationships, and spiritual lives, and learn a lot from each other. Unbelievably, my friends think that I have it all together. What's even crazier is that they think I'm very spiritually grounded because I pray often and am the most expressive about my walk with God.

Still, there are times when I really struggle. My girls don't realize that sometimes, when I'm alone, I go into a hole and have my minor breakdowns.

When I go under, I go into deep thought and meditation. I may cry, shout, scream to God—apologize later—and eventually pray. Sometimes I get depressed. What? Christians aren't supposed to get depressed? Well, it happens. What's most important is that you don't stay depressed, or claim that for your life. And I'm getting better. I don't go under as much. I'm talking to and trusting God more and more.

Still, each day is a challenge. People have a tendency to push my buttons, even more so since I've become a Christian. I guess it's all a part of my test to become more Christlike in my actions. All in all, though, my friends are right. I'm pretty together and, might I add, quite fashionable.

I cupped a handful of water and let it trickle down my chest. I looked down at my body and smiled to myself. It had taken me quite some time to appreciate it. God made every inch, including a little cellulite. I began bathing with my natural soap.

Hmmm, Reggie hasn't called.

Instead of going with me to church, as he often promised he would, Reggie usually called Sunday mornings. Reggie is my latest "S. O."—significant other—and my latest project.

People tell me that I set my standards too high. I disagree, but in the interest of possible self-improvement, I've decided to be a little less stringent. After a string of heartbreaks in college and law school, lately I've been meeting guys who don't fit my "ideal man" list, but have potential. Hence, Reginald, a plant supervisor, was able to get through the door.

I met him one night while I was at happy hour with the girls at The Sky Bar, a local hot spot for professionals. I've never been too into clubs, and since I've given my life to the Lord, my club days have been fewer and farther between. Nonetheless, when I first moved to Houston, I went out occasionally.

When I met Reggie, he was dressed in a black suit, French blue shirt, and dark grey tie. He looked masculine, sexy. I could tell he was staring at me, but I pretended not to notice. Finally, he eased over, introduced himself, and asked me to dance. I said "Yes."

While we were dancing, I managed to take in as much of him as possible. I inspected the areas I usually notice on a man. Hands: not extremely smooth, but clean. Shirt: ironed, crisp, fresh. Hair: cut low with short, faded sideburns.

Then I took in his face . . . smooth, milk chocolate skin, thick eyebrows, and deep-set eyes . . . potential.

I could tell he was surveying me as well. I had on a fitted burgundy suit, the one I wear when I want my waist to look smaller. My pencil skirt, strategically resting right above my knee, hugged my form. A hint of cleavage peaked from underneath my jacket. Plus, I wore my "killer" burgundy ankle-strapped Via Spiga (the only pair I possessed in my closet) leather pumps.

My hair was flatironed to perfection with a side bang gracing the tip of my arched eyebrows. My nutmeg skin glowed with a hint of bronzer, and my sheer lip gloss played up my natural features. Of course, I smelled good enough to bite . . . some new fragrance the saleswoman at Victoria's Secret had talked me into.

The DJ put on a slow jam—"Anytime," by Brian McKnight. I signaled to Reggie that I wanted to stop dancing, since Brian McKnight is sacred and reserved only for that special someone. After easing off the floor, I positioned myself next to him, but not too close.

"This is a nice crowd," he said, attempting to inch closer to me, trying not to invade my comfort zone.

"Yes. I haven't been here in a while. This is my night to hang out with the girls, so I decided to come out for a minute," I said, trying to sound relaxed.

"Are you from here?"

"No. I'm originally from Virginia," I said.

"Oh," he said, almost with a look of relief.

"Are you?" I said, bracing myself.

"Uh, yeah."

A native . . . hmmm.

Maybe it was my imagination, but so far, the native Texan men I'd met seemed a bit spoiled. It didn't help matters that some of the women seemed so aggressive, fighting over brothers and even setting traps to keep them. I wasn't about to do all that to get a man, so I figured I'd definitely have to wait on Jesus to guide me to my special someone. There had to be men out there who knew what they wanted and how to treat a woman. Maybe Reggie was one of them.

"Would you like a drink?" he asked.

"Just club soda and lime," I replied.

He signaled the waitress, adorned in tight black low-rise capri pants and a halfway-believable weave, to come over and take our order. She looked a little tired, but she was still polite.

"Can I get you something?" she said, not even acknowledging my presence.

"Yes," he said, trying not to look at how half her breasts were showing out of her white satin shirt.

"I'd like a cognac and Coke . . . club soda and lime for the lady," he said, trying to sound smooth.

She acknowledged the request and swished off into the sea of people.

"So, are you single?" he asked.

"Depends. What do you mean by single?"

"Unattached, not married, no one special; I can't imagine you not having anyone special."

Please, a little more originality. "What if I told you I had someone?" I said.

"You can have friends, can't you?"

Oh brother, so predictable. Can we just bypass all the preliminary mumbo jumbo?

"Well, I don't have anyone special, but I do have friends."

"Well, that's good enough for me. So, how can I get in touch with you?"

"Do you mean may you have my number?" I said.

"Yes, that's what I meant."

"Uh . . . OK. Do you have a pen?" I said with hesitancy.

"No, but our waitress is on the way back. I'll ask her."

When she came over, she handed him her pen and gave us our drinks. We exchanged numbers and small talk. He was articulate and seemed like a professional. I didn't ask what he did. I always thought that was a tacky question to ask when you first meet someone, although my friends begged to differ.

He called after the typical two-day waiting period, and we ended up talking for hours about our likes, dislikes, movies, sports, and relationships. The conversation just flowed. It turned out he'd been in the service and traveled extensively. Reggie was intelligent and funny. He made me laugh aloud throughout our conversation. I didn't see any immediate signs of sexual orientation issues or abusive tendencies, so even though I wasn't thrilled when I found out his line of work, I agreed to go out with him.

Our first date was simple but fun. We rode out to the boardwalk in Kemah and had lunch one Saturday afternoon. It seemed like we were off to a good start, though in retrospect I realize we never talked about spiritual issues. Then, after several pleasant outings (including a few trips together to church!), I became his "after he got in from the club" date. I allowed myself to fall into that zone because I was just happy to have the company. He was so comfortable to be around, like an old pillow. His chest was solid and broad and great to lean against. He was affectionate and loved to call me "baby girl."

Reggie was nice, but he still turned me off because I was last on his list of priorities. It seemed he had more time for everything else, including his obnoxious, unattached friends, over me.

Reading Group Guide

Sunday Brunch is meant to serve readers with a fun, sassy storyline while also dishing out plenty of spiritual food for thought. Here are some questions designed to provoke discussion and gentle debate about the characters and the impact Norma Jarrett's debut novel has made on your life. (Be sure to also check out "The Sunday Brunch Experience," a list of fun activities for book clubs, which immediately follows the reading guide.)

1. What emotions did you experience while reading Sunday Brunch? What parts of the novel connect to your life?

2. In what ways are the characters alike? Different? Why do you think they remain so committed to each other and their Sunday brunch ritual?

3. What are some of the spiritual battles Lexi faces? Why does she think it's her responsibility to support and pray for all of her friends? Why doesn't she feel more comfortable sharing her needs with them?

4. If you were Lexi, how would you have dealt with Reggie and Kyle?

5. Why do you think it took so long for Lexi to meet the police officer, Chris Reynolds?

6. Is Jermane being realistic about her needs? What advice would you give Jermane regarding her dilemma with Naegel? Do you see the kiss that they shared as adultery? Why or why not?

7. Why does Jewel struggle with finding her true purpose? How does God work in her life, compared to the other characters?

8. What is it about Kevin that made him give the spoiled Jewel a chance? Why is her ultimate response to him so positive?

9. Why does Capri have such a hard time opening up to Anthony? What do you mark as the true turning point in their relationship?

10. Many career-oriented women struggle with the same issues that Capri does—striving to maintain a healthy balance between work, family, personal goals, and romance. If you were Capri, would you risk your career for a man? Do you agree with her choices?

11. What motivates Angel to give her life to the Lord? What will be some of her obstacles in becoming a devoted Christian?

12. Based on the issues they bring to the table at the beginning of their relationships, what potential challenges do you think each couple will face in their future?

13. What do you think the primary struggles are for young single women and their faith walk? What situation in Sunday Brunch best represents a situation young singles must face?

14. Has Sunday Brunch influenced your prayer life in any way? Has it made you think differently about prayer? If so, how?

15. What was the significance of exploring the different levels of spirituality in each character?

16. What actors could you see playing each character in Sunday Brunch—The Movie? (Make a female and male wish list!)

17. Has Sunday Brunch made an impact on the relationships in your life (platonic, romantic, professional, and familial)? Describe how and discuss.

Customer Reviews

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Sunday Brunch: Sunday Brunch Series, Book 1 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
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TeaPeaEm More than 1 year ago
Love, love, love this book! This is the book that began my journey in reading A-A Christian fiction. I look forward to reading everything else Ms. Jarrett brings us!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story is about five close friends that share there ups and downs about life with men while. The meet every Sunday and have lunch and decuss how there week went it is adventurous and funny to read. I really enjoyed it.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I must admit that I don't do enough leisure reading, but I couldn't stop reading this book for thirty minutes. I bought the book on Friday and finished it Saturday. Now, I'm upset that I didn't pace myself, but the story was too interesting. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although placed in the General Fiction genre, I feel that Sunday Brunch is best categorized as Christian Fiction. As such, I think this book could hold its own in a book discussion of a church book club, and it comes conveniently packaged with discussion questions and creative tips for discussion at the end. While I felt the storyline has been done before-probably because I read extensively-I liked how it was done. I liked the inclusion of prayers and scripture in the day-to-day lives of the characters, but if you¿re not a Christian this might be over the top for you. Five friends, who met in law school, get together every Sunday after church for brunch. This is an opportunity for Lexi, Capri, Jewel, Jermane and Angel to catch up on the events of their week, and talk through their situations. Each lady is an individual with her own unique set of problems but feel confident enough in their friendship to be candid. The storyteller Lexi keeps this story moving. She is searching for a closer walk with God. She is portrayed as the one who keeps this camaraderie flowing. She is called upon by all of her friends and she takes each of their issues to heart and prays constantly for them. Although it appears her prayers are answered for things in her friends¿ lives, she believes her own needs aren¿t being met but she remains vigilant in her faith. Capri is the standoffish member of the brunch bunch. She¿s been emotionally scarred but her friends encourage her to explore a relationship; it¿s okay for her to let her guard down concerning love. Jewel is the extrovert in the bunch. Egregious and effervescent, she¿s considered ¿over the top¿ but what would a circle of friends be without the self-centered but loveable member. She too is searching for love, but not with a brother who does not have a bank account to back it. Angel is reserve. She doesn¿t attend church, feeling mainly that church folks are hypocrites but she doesn¿t knock her friend¿s choices. Lexi feels that she must convert Angel, but must do so in a non-preachy way. Angel has health problems and most of the book, if the reader feels any concern or bonding with the characters, Angel garners this feeling. Jermane, the last of the ladies, is probably the most sheltered. She¿s married to Rex, an attorney in her father¿s law office, and who feels he must spend time working to impress his father-in-law and not his wife. Jermane feels alone and while she has this circle of friends, they aren¿t exactly the company she desires. As the lives of these five women unfolds around the buffet, I gained a better understanding of what it is to be a friend. Though each woman was varied in her life experiences, the common bonds of friendship and the inclusion of God as a problem solver, listening ear, shoulder to cry on, and the sixth friend at the table made Sunday Brunch an enjoyable read. While not a caution for the next reader, I do think, this book would better be marketed to the Christian-Fiction reader.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a nice book, but very predictable and not a lot of depth to it. The way the author looped spirituality throughout was good, and realistic. But the characters were not explored as much as I would have liked. And the title to each chapter gave away what was going to happen with all 46 chapters. That was frustrating to me. I like to see it unfold, not be told up front. The ending was a little too perfect too. But nevertheless it did keep my attention, and the storyline was decent
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book just talk about women and their issues and hating on each other.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What beautiful writing. I enjoyed the celebration of friendship in this book. I was taken with this book until I got to the end. I was caught off guard that the author did not 'resolve the tension' of the characters by bringing it back full circle that what satifies most is our relationship with God, our intimacy with him. You're left with the impression that the love of a good man completes us as women. Norma, the love of a man is good, a real blessing, but keep on living young sista and you'll have a different ending in the sequel. Keep on writing. I'm looking forward to the next book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a great balance of church and African American girl/woman fiction. The stories of the 5 women were realistic and very relative to todays issues.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms. Jarrett writes an excellent book celebrating sisterhood. Reading it evokes feeling of spirituality and the desire to never give up regardless of your circumstances. The characters are all reminders of someone we may know or even ourselves. Can't you just see Vivica as Capri, Jada as Jermane, Lela Rochon as Lexi and Joy Bryant as Jewel. What a blockbuster that would be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the moment I saw the title I knew that this book was going to intrigue me, but Little did I know this was going to be like me looking into my own future! I felt like I had a piece of each of them. What an awesome read! For someone like myself this book was full of PURE ENCOURAGEMENT!! BRAVO!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was all five characters at different times in my life. This book touched me so much that I have chosen it to read this month with a group of gals. We will be deciphering the intricate details of the characters over brunch. Any woman who read this will see themselves as one of the characters who are facing self doubt while seeking personal relationships.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not put the book down. Definitely a great read for a book club. A very positive book with great characters and true to life experiences.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sunday Brunch is an Excellent Choice. I saw myself in some of the characters. It deals with some of the issues that we as Single Christians face today. I picked this book up at our Homcoming and even got my copy signed. I could not put it down. I have even loaned out my copy . I'm going to suggest this book to my book club. I am very proud of my fellow 'Aggie'. Stay Blessed.
Tamiko Lewis More than 1 year ago