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Come Sunday

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3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  336 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
Abbe is a restless young mother living on the outskirts of Honolulu with her husband, Greg, the pastor at a small church. Their lives are suddenly riven by tragedy when their three-year-old daughter, Cleo, is struck and killed by car. As Greg turns to God and community for comfort, Abbe turns inward and reflects upon her own troubled past. 

Isla Morley brilliantly weaves t
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Paperback, 336 pages
Published August 3rd 2010 by Picador (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dale Harcombe
The death of a child is a devastating event. The death of three year old Cleo in a freak accident only serves to widen the wedge between Abbe and her husband Greg, who pastors a church in Hawaii. This novel captures two people who have different ways of attempting to deal with their grief. I could feel for both Abbe and Greg in the way they tried to deal with their huge loss. The people of the church deal with the young child’s death in various ways, some by providing food, others with platitude ...more
Irene
Sep 22, 2010 Irene rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, to-review
Come Sunday, Isla Morley’s doleful debut profoundly orchestrates the excruciatingly merciless emotion we call “grief.” When a tragic accident claims her precocious three-year-old daughter Cleo, we vicariously examine how a mother’s conventional daily life collapses instantaneously.

Abbe Deighton and her husband Greg, an uncharismatic pastor of a small church in one of the poorest areas of Hawaii innocently encounter one of life’s most unjustifiable catastrophes: the loss of a child. Abbe endures
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Laura
For Abbe Deighton it is her three-year-old daughter Cleo who makes Abbe's otherwise banal life worth living. When Cleo dies in a tragic accident, Abbe no longer sees the point in living. Come Sunday captures the raw grief of a mother whose identity as a mother has been irrevocably shattered. Cleo's death forces Abbe to reexamine the source of her identity when her role as mother is nullified, her increasingly shaky relationship with her pastor husband Greg, and her nominal faith in God.

Chronolog
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Alice
Apr 28, 2009 Alice rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
treehugger
Dec 12, 2009 treehugger rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read_2009
Well, it's weird that this book doesn't fit into ANY of my shelves besides "read 2009"!

I liked this book. Now, it wasn't an enjoyable read - let's just get that right out of the way. The subject matter, a mother's grief, is hard to bear, and the mother wallows for a LARGE part of the book. But it's so REAL you can't really look away. I tried to put this book down for good several times, and just had to keep finding out how it all turned out!

I couldn't for the life of me figure out how she was g
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Jen
A birthday/anniversary gift from my hubby, who is probably the only person who takes a chance and buys books for me. (I LOVE seeing what he thinks I would enjoy and he does a miraculously good job of it.)

I didn't think I'd like this as it centers around the accidental death of a 3 year old child and how a mother fights and recovers from the grief, though losing her marriage. The writing, however, was STELLAR...beautiful, stunning, and heart-breaking at times. The plains of South Africa juxtapos
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Sharyn Pachnek
May 28, 2016 Sharyn Pachnek rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Waste of Time

Wordy, overly introspective first-person account, made even more off-putting by the frequent use of words and phrases from other languages, which weren't discernible via context. The characters were countless and none developed enough to make me remember them or care what happened with them. The preachy ending was the coup de grace of this very dissatisfying story.
Cheryl
May 02, 2016 Cheryl rated it really liked it
An elegant, eloquent study of grief under a microscope. Beautiful language, wonderfully written, with some of those "lightbulb" uses of language that sound exactly right. While the resolution felt a little unlikely and contrived to neatly package things up, the journey that Abbe makes is touching and believable.
Jean
Sep 13, 2016 Jean rated it it was ok
Very depressing.
Casey Starnes
Oct 06, 2013 Casey Starnes rated it really liked it
Horrendously sad, but EXCELLENT writing.
S.C.
May 31, 2012 S.C. rated it really liked it
Death is a part of life, one which no one looks forward to and is every bit as devastating even when we try to prepare ourselves for it. It is even more overwhelming when the delicate flame of life that extinguishes belongs to a child. "Come Sunday" is a magnificent debut novel that examines death, loss and resurrection of the human spirit, its religious undertones adding lightly and non-intrusively to the story. The book invokes the relentless mourning of the dearly departed in its first half a ...more
Jillian
Jun 05, 2011 Jillian rated it really liked it
What happens to a couple when their only child dies tragically? Can they hold it together or will it all fall apart? As a mother, how do you know when to move forward with your life without betraying the memory of your child?

In Come Sunday by Isla Morley, Greg and Abbe are shattered when the center of their lives, their daughter Chloe, dies after being hit by a car. Abbe’s inability to forgive the driver, or her best friends who were watching Chloe ultimately leads to cracks in her marriage and
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Amy
Aug 09, 2010 Amy rated it liked it
Come Sunday, Isla Morley
Nominated for the Commonwealth Prize of Australia


Come Sunday is a story that explores the tragic devastation of a couple after their small child is accidentally killed. A seemingly matched pair, the two choose alternating paths to recover from their daughter Cleo's death. No one is free from the tragic ripples that spread out in the days after the accident.


First, the novel alternates by showing the coping mechanisms of the husband Greg, a pastor in a small church, who di
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Lisa Mcbroom
I am sorry for the loss of her child but the female character in this book is so unlikeable!
Justine
Mar 16, 2015 Justine rated it it was amazing
There is a scene in one of DH Lawrence’s short stories of four young people sitting around a fire drinking smoked coffee and eating toasted bacon in a gingerly cautious healing truce. It’s a tale which doesn’t moralise or downplay the human experience but offers insights through authentic descriptions and I was reminded of this when reading “Come Sunday”.

The death of a young child is a devastating topic and a reality which many readers will have difficulty facing as there isn’t much space in ou
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Dorothy
Sep 23, 2013 Dorothy rated it really liked it
This novel is about shattering grief. The death of a child is hard to bear even thinking about but this is exactly what happens in the first few pages of the book. We are introduced to Chloe as a bright happy little girl, and the reader cannot help but be shocked when she runs into the street and is hit by a car. I have to compare this with Stewart O'Nan's book Songs for the missing as I read them both in the same month and both explore how as parents, friends and families deal with the loss of ...more
Melissa Frye
Sep 13, 2010 Melissa Frye rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
Grief. Unless you are afflicted with a condition that renders you emotionless (or you’ve had your emotions surgically removed) you’ll likely experience grief at some point in your life, probably already have. How do we deal with grief? In Isla Morley’s Come Sunday we bear witness to one characters struggle with the loss of a child and her journey to break free from the past.

Abbe Deighton lives in Hawaii with her husband Greg, a pastor of a small church, and their three-year-old daughter Cleo. T
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Ellie
Abbe grew up in South Africa in the midst of Apartheid but chose to make Honolulu her home with her pastor husband, Greg, and her young daughter, Chloe. One evening she goes out to the movies with Greg, leaving Chloe with a good friend who loves her daughter just as much as she. On returning, they discover the worst has happened and their daughter is dead.

There are two central plots in Come Sunday, the present day in which Abbe falls apart after the accident, and the story of her past in Africa.
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Sheri
Jul 05, 2009 Sheri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a debut novel. The story was very sad. Greg is a minister and his wife Abbe, an unconvincing minister's wife, to be sure, have a 3 yr. old daughter Cleo who was hit by a car and killed. Not only does Abbe blame her friend who was in her care at the time of the accident, but she "quits" her marriage and isn't there for her husband who is also in pain. The little girl ran out in the street to chase a balloon she saw and ran in front of an oncoming car. For crying out loud, how can that be ...more
Melissa
May 31, 2013 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was completely taken in with this book, in love, even... for most of it. All is a lot to ask for, I know, especially since I'm me, but just once I want to be as in love at the end of a story as at the beginning and middle. Sadly,though,I might just have to write that story myself.

But as for this one, the author's telling of it was extraordinary to me. I almost instantly loved her. Her words... the way I could almost see her mind working to connect them... this author gets five stars from me. B
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Christina (Reading Extensively)
Oct 01, 2011 Christina (Reading Extensively) rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2011
Come Sunday is a moving story about loss and relationships. Abbe has suffered a tremendous loss and as the novel goes on, the reader also finds out about her tough childhood. Isla Morley does a good job of portraying Abbe's pain and she comes across as a very realistic character. Abbe can be unkind and selfish but that is understandable though it makes it hard to like her at times. This is the kind of book that makes readers feel strongly whether it is sorrow or anger.

My evening book discussion
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Jennifer W
Mar 14, 2012 Jennifer W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: back-and-forth
I enjoyed the audio book of this sad tale. The narrator was wonderful with her different voices and accents. I feel that Abbe was believable in her grief, although at times she was almost unbearably selfish in it. She seemed incapable of acknowledging that her husband or friends had lost a loved one as well. (view spoiler) ...more
Jennifer
Dec 31, 2010 Jennifer rated it liked it
Come Sunday is the story of couple who is already struggling, and completely fall apart after the accidental death of their daughter. The story is told from the point of view of Abbe, the mother. The death of her daughter brings to the surface issues remaining from her painful childhood. While it was fairly difficult to wade through her grief, pain, loss and past, the book had moments of beauty. It was well written, and I thought, believable. Difficult for me was the mid-section of the book. I t ...more
Karen
Sep 02, 2009 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hawaii
The protagonist's three-year old daughter, who is being babysat by her mother's best friend, darts out into the street and is run over and killed by a hapless old man. Abbe, whose only joy seems to have been her daughter, narrates the story of her year of unrelenting grief and anger as she punishes and pushes away almost everyone, including her minister husband. The author weaves back and forth in time, chapter by chapter, looking through rearview mirrors to her crippling childhood and finding r ...more
Lee D'anna
Sep 16, 2015 Lee D'anna rated it liked it
This is NOT a happy book so don't read it if you are looking for light, uplifting reading. We all deal with grief in different ways but Abbe's way following the tragic accidental death of her three year old daughter is with anger and unforgiveness. It costs her friendships, her marriage and almost her sanity. There is resolution as the book wraps up but it was difficult to get through to this point. The other theme this book deals with is Abbe's childhood at the hands of an abusive father and un ...more
Diane
Oct 05, 2011 Diane rated it liked it
The plot of this book is the story of the death of the only child of the minister and his wife. The girl is killed in an accident, and the book follows the mother's grief and the subsequent disintegration of her marriage. The mother is a native of South Africa, and the book includes flashbacks of her memories of growing up in apartheid-era South Africa. The book has an intriguing premise; looking at the life of the minister's wife and the ways in which she doesn't fit the "perfect" stereotype th ...more
Betty410
Nov 24, 2009 Betty410 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was prepared to give this story 4*'s due to the cover recommendations, the experience, education and qualifications of the author. So what happened?
Married to a minister, a bit bored with the role she must play, but full of life with her 3 yr. old daughter, all comes to and end with the sudden accidental death of the child. The endless description of her depression that follows is what almost made me close the book. But curiousity prevailed, because I thought this blackness has to end somehow,
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Donna
Jul 19, 2010 Donna rated it liked it
Shelves: firstreads
This is a book of multiple themes and many layers. The author cleverly creates characters who let you know who they really are through their dialog and interaction with others. Spirits from the main character's past are interspersed throughout and help to weave the pattern of this tale.

The book raises many questions about marriage, faith, organized religion, parenthood, childhood, family life, friendship and forgiveness. The reader is an observer, but because the dialog is so believable and yes
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Mandy McHenry
Jul 19, 2010 Mandy McHenry rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Okay, where to start with this review... I'm glad I read it. It was a good reminder of all my blessings, most of my children. But it's a very sad and depressing story. The things that this mother felt and experienced as she went through the grieving process were eye opening to me, as I have never lost a loved one to such a tragedy. Parts of the book involved Apartheid, and I want to read more about that time period, now. I really didn't appreciate the foul language, most of all the f-bomb in thi ...more
Diane
Sep 11, 2010 Diane rated it it was amazing
A powerful debut novel. In this novel, Abbe's faith is severely tested after her 3-year-old daughter is tragically killed in a car accident. (That is not a spoiler, as that provides the setting for subsequent soul searching.) Abbe's troubled upbringing in South Africa is remembered, and it seems that she may forever be a victim -- of growing up in a tumultuous household, then having her child violently taken away -- unless she learns to stand up for her life. Wonderful secondary characters, such ...more
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Isla Morley grew up in South Africa during apartheid, the child of a British father and fourth-generation South African mother. During the countrys State of Emergency, she graduated from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth with a degree in English Literature. By 1994 she was one of the youngest magazine editors in South Africa, but left career, country and kin when she married ...more
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