This slow-burn, character-driven style of book is a departure from my typical craving for fast-paced, plot-driven stories – but I AM HERE FOR IT.
Cara Wall’s debut novel introduces us to Charles, Lilly, James and Nan. The couples meet in Greenwich, Connecticut in the 1960s when Charles and James are hired to be pastors of the historic Third Presbyterian Church. Nan and Lilly could not be more opposite, but the main focus of the story is the struggle each character has with his or her faith and/or the lack thereof.
The Dearly Beloved chronicles the relationship of the two couples through several decades of leading the church through incredibly turbulent times – the Vietnam War, the birth of feminism, and racial unrest. Charles and James differ tremendously in their approaches to navigating the congregation through these issues. Nan and Lilly both struggle with their roles as pastor’s wives, but for vastly different reasons.
This wonderful book has all the things that are hardest to find in literature: good marriages sustained by abiding love; nourishing friendships that endure trials; nuanced explorations of religious faith; and characters who strive to do good for others while battling their own demons.Matthew Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves
Normally a book like this wouldn’t keep my interest, but Cara Wall is an excellent writer and I quickly became interested in the characters and the way she explores the themes of faith, friendship and marriage.
I highly recommend this beautifully written portrait of flawed, yet enduring and realistic individuals.