Leslie Lindsay's Reviews > The Dearly Beloved

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall
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it was amazing

Stunningly executed first novel is brimming with conflict, but also hope, and the most glimmering and yet restrained writing.

I love this THE DEARLY BELOVED (Simon & Schuster, August 2019) by Cara Wall. This has got to be one of the most stirring and astute debuts I have read in a long time.

Writing with a restrained lyricism, THE DEARLY BELOVED is about marriage, beliefs, faith, friendships, conflicts, and motherhood. Beginning in the 1950s and traversing through the 1960s, we are truly immersed in the world of Charles and Lily, at college in Boston, when Charles strays from the academic path held by his father and wants to become a minister. But then he finds Lily, who is a skeptic --and for good reason. She's dealt with some loss and heartache that leads her to question God's existence.

Meanwhile, James and Nan, a minister's daughter from the South, are transplanted to Chicago, and she's finding it hard to fit in, but there's more going on, too. James has a challenging family background and his faith is wavering. What does it mean to have 'the call?' The backstory is absolutely rich and rewarding and so well done.

Though very different in terms of religious faith and family background, James and Charles soon find themselves interviewing for the same position at the same NYC Presbyterian church. They both get the job. Set amidst the turbulence of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement, plus women's liberation, and more, these couples must forge together and create an alliance.

I found THE DEARLY BELOVED a tremendously well-written and sharply imagined novel. I relished falling into the lives of these unforgettable characters and found myself thinking of them when I was not reading. Plus, there are a few twists and unique perspectives toward the end which will absolutely endear you to these characters and Cara Wall.

Do yourself a favor--read this book. Recommend it to your book groups.

I found some similarities between THE DEARLY BELOVED and the writing of Anita Shreve meets Caroline Leavitt's CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD , but also Mary Beth Keane's ASK AGAIN, YES with touches of T. Greenwood's KEEPING LUCY and Jennifer Weiner's MRS. EVERYTHING .

For all my reviews, including author interviews, please see: www.leslielindsay.com|Always with a Book
Special thanks to Simon & Schuster for this review copy. All thoughts are my own.
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Reading Progress

September 21, 2019 – Shelved
September 21, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
September 29, 2019 – Started Reading
October 3, 2019 – Finished Reading

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