Author Lisa Takeuchi Cullen Offers Reality as Fiction in Her Debut Novel, Pastors’ Wives

Pastors' WivesIf I would have first saw this book, Pastors’ Wives by Lisa  Takeuchi Cullen, without looking at who the author was and what her inspiration for the book was, I might not have read it. Though I am a Christian, I have never been a huge fan of the politics and drama of organized religion when it’s presented as not having faults.

However, taking a look at the fact that Cullen was a former Journalist with Time magazine, and that this book was inspired after she was sent on an assignment for Time to a Pastors’ wives convention, I appreciated her journalistic stake in this theme. Seeing their complex lives and returning with a million more questions in her head, Cullen sought out answers to questions about what it’s like to be the woman behind a man who gives his life to God and church.  That’s a huge committment, which urges the question where does the wife fit in?

So as an outsider looking in, as I’ve learned being a journalist myself, one can report on the lives of almost anyone, so why not these wives? You don’t have to be a Christian to read this book. In fact, I’ve wondered just how much of the Christian realm would even agree with this mainstream book. That’s probably why it’s published by Plume/Penguin and not the larger Christian publishing house. Just a guess. But it should be, because it’s supposed to be read by people not involved in the life of being a pastor or pastor wife. I think anyway. And if that isn’t the intention, then I still recommend it be read by Christians and non-Christians alike. It’s a view into a sect of people, just as we might glimpse into the lives of another sect of people….Sister Wives, Housewives, Basketball Wives, Military Wives…you name it.

Yep, we’ve got just about every other wife covered out there in the media right? I find Cullen’s use of her reporting skills intertwined with great creative writing very original. Though they are fictional characters in her book, from a reader’s or reporter’s standpoint, these wives represent and deal with questions that so many might deal with as wives or ask as observers of these wives.

Cullen’s writing is raw, real, blunt and hilarious. She doesn’t pretend to want to write this novel to make Pastors’ wives completely pristine. She shows that they are vulnerable, question their roles, question their faith, and even question their marriages. They are still women with a desire to be happy, but with husbands who sometimes work too much at the decline of their family structure. Their demands are high.  Her characters are real, flawed, and they struggle just like anyone with their thoughts and deeds. She showcases three different personalities in this book, all of who intertwine with each other, and how each deals with personal as well as combined issues.

What pulled me in to this book was Cullen’s exclusive look into the usually well-hidden personal lives of this sect of women; however, what kept me turning pages was Cullen’s extremely funny prose and wit. Her descriptions, detail, and emotionally gripping characters were excellent.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone who likes to read human interest stories in magazines such as Time or Newsweek, or those that like biographies, contemporary cultural fiction, or humor. You don’t have to be a Christian to read this book, because this book is not about making you religious. This book is for anyone who likes a dose of reality TV, just this time it happens to be Pastor’s Wives.

Pastors’ Wives, Synopsis:

Pastors' WivesWhat’s it like when the man you married is already married to God? asks Pastors’ Wives, an often surprising yet always emotionally true first novel set in a world most of us know only from the outside.
Lisa Takeuchi Cullen’s debut novel Pastors’ Wives follows three women whose lives converge and intertwine at a Southern evangelical megachurch. Ruthie follows her Wall Street husband from New York to Magnolia, a fictional suburb of Atlanta, when he hears a calling to serve at a megachurch called Greenleaf. Reeling from the death of her mother, Ruthie suffers a crisis of faith—in God, in her marriage, and in herself. Candace is Greenleaf’s “First Lady,” a force of nature who’ll stop at nothing to protect her church and her superstar husband. Ginger, married to Candace’s son, struggles to play dutiful wife and mother while burying her calamitous past. All their roads collide in one chaotic event that exposes their true selves.
Inspired by Cullen’s reporting as a staff writer for Time magazine, Pastors’ Wives is a dramatic portrayal of the private lives of pastors’ wives, caught between the demands of faith, marriage, duty, and love.
Purchase a copy:
Author Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, Biography:
photoLisa Takeuchi Cullen was a longtime staff writer for TIME magazine. She now develops TV pilots for production companies and recently sold her first pilot for “The Ordained” to CBS. Born in Japan, Cullen lives in New Jersey with family.
Find out more about Lisa at
Check here for more reviews and news on her blog tour:


Lisa is celebrating the release of her debut novel, Pastors’ Wives, with an iPad Mini Giveaway and connecting with readers on Facebook on May 23rd

One winner will receive:

  • An iPad Mini
  • A $25 iTunes gift card

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 22nd. Winner will be announced at the “Pastors’ Wives” Author Chat Party on May 23rd. Connect with Lisa for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Lisa will also be giving away books and fun gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of Pastors’ Wives and join Lisa on the evening of May 23rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!

**I was given a complimentary copy of Pastors’ Wives in return for an honest review. All opinions are mine**

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