Cover image for The Sunday wife
The Sunday wife
King, Cassandra, 1944-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion, [2002]

Physical Description:
389 pages ; 25 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


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Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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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.

Author Notes

Cassandra King is the author of The Sunday Wife, The Same Sweet Girls 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.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Dean and her husband, the Reverend Ben Lynch, have arrived in Crystal Springs, Florida. Ben is ecstatic because he believes he is finally working his way up the ecclesiastical ladder with this wealthy Methodist church once ministered by his idol. Dean is hesitant, feeling her low-class roots more than ever, no thanks to Ben's constant reminders. As he sets out to ingratiate himself, she deals with such concrete matters as helping with church functions, never really fitting in until she meets Augusta Holderfield, a vivacious character who could have stepped straight out of a Truman Capote novel. The community doesn't exactly approve of Augusta, but she is the cream of society, and she takes Dean under her wing even though she doesn't belong to the church. With Ben's initial encouragement, Dean and Augusta become true friends as Augusta admires Dean for her musical abilities and encourages her to free herself from her church-wife existence and explore her own desires. Eventually, Ben and Augusta become opposing forces in Dean's life as she learns to live more fully, and have dreams of her own instead of always submitting to Ben's passive-aggressive behavior. Then, when tragedy strikes, Dean learns what is real and what she truly believes in. King, author Pat Conroy's wife, captures the redolence of the South and the trickiness of Bible-belt society in an impressive debut. --Patty Engelmann

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

For 20 years, Willodean (Dean) Lynch has been molded into what her ambitious, upwardly mobile minister husband and his congregation consider to be the perfect preacher's wife. Then she meets Augusta Holderfield, a free spirit who encourages her to break loose. The more her husband and his too-pious congregants try to smother her, the more liberated Dean wants to be. Unfortunately, she learns the hard way that freedom can come at a very high price. Told in the first person and heavy on Southern atmosphere, this novel is peppered with Dean's wry observations. All aspects of institutional religious hypocrisy, intolerance, ultraconservatism, and general self-righteousness are fair game as Dean discovers who she really is. King, who is married to novelist Pat Conroy (Prince of Tides), has proven herself to be an extraordinary author in her own right. Fans of Patricia Gaffney and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings will enjoy this extremely well-written book. Essential for libraries of all sizes. Shelley Mosley, Glendale P.L., AZ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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