The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

The Dearly Beloved

Charles and Lily, James and Nan. They meet in Greenwich Village in 1963 when Charles and James are jointly hired to steward the historic Third Presbyterian Church through turbulent times. Their personal differences however, threaten to tear them apart.Charles is destined to succeed his father as an esteemed professor of history at Harvard, until an unorthodox lecture about faith leads him to ministry. How then, can he fall in love with Lily—fie...

Details The Dearly Beloved

TitleThe Dearly Beloved
Release DateAug 13th, 2019
PublisherSimon & Schuster
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Audiobook

Reviews The Dearly Beloved

  • Diane S ☔
    A tremendously well done first novel. Two couples whose lives will become entwined for better and worse. Charles, whose faith in God is all inclusive and Lily his wife who after the loss of her parents, no longer believes. Jan, a pastors daughter, whose faith is the mainstay of her life, and her husband James, who wants to change things, so becomes a pastor for this purpose. One church, two pastors.This is not a subject I'm usually drawn to, litu...
  • Liz
    This novel tackles several questions that engage me. What possesses someone to be called to the ministry? Can a couple with opposite beliefs find happiness? We meet Charles and Lily, James and Nan, two ministers and their wives. We are provided their backgrounds so that we get a true sense of what has molded them into the people they are. Theyre not at all similar, which makes it even more interesting as they work to find ways to work together. I...
  • Larry H
    This one sneaks up on you with its gorgeous, contemplative story which grabs hold of your mind and your heart. Wow, how I loved this!"Love is the enjoyment of something. The feeling of wanting something deeply, of wanting nothing more. Our love of God is not as important as our faith in God. Love wanes. Faith cannot. One can have faith and anger, faith and hate. One can believe deeply and still rail against God, still blame God. In fact, if one c...
  • JanB
    4.5 starsBeginning in the 1960s, one of my favorite time periods, this is a story somewhat reminiscent of Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. We follow two couples for many decades: Charles and James who co-pastor a church, and their wives, Lily and Nan. Charles is the deep thinker, the pastor whose strength is counseling parishioners who are struggling with difficulties. James is the activist who believes his job is to stir the parishioners i...
  • Marialyce
    4.5 starsBecause only in the quality of your struggle with one another will you learn anything about yourself. There are some books that make you think for a moment or two and then those thoughts run off forgotten as they become just another book read. There are some books, however, that keep you thinking and wondering for days, weeks, or even months after you have finished reading them. Such was this story.This is a story of four people, three o...
  • Natalie Erwin
    I know Im the minority for this rating, but this book did not speak to me. I went into it with such high hopes because of the glowing reviews and I had heard from others. I did not feel connected in anyway to the 4 main characters, I thought they were all very flat. I would have not finished this but was too far into to give up. I did not feel the premise of the novel was realistic at all. The marriage between Charles and Lilly seemed forced. I c...
  • Kaytee Cobb
    The way people described this as beautiful and character driven, I was almost sure it wouldn't be for me. That I would find it a slog, and be bored. But instead, I find myself bereft at it being over. I'd describe this as glimpses of love and life and friendship and God. The writing is amazing and I took photos of multiple passages. The people are real and flawed and phenomenal. So, instead of an unpopular opinion, like I thought I would have, I'...
  • Vanessa
    4.5 stars A great book to kick start my 2020 book challenge. This book was wonderful in that it creeps into your thoughts as you get to know the characters better, it would be easy to dismiss this book due to its themes of god and religion but that was the power of this book, the different perspectives and the humanity of the characters making for a real and thought provoking read. The fact that these characters end up being bound together with a...
  • Robin
    This is a stunning debut novel taking place in the 1950s and 1960s featuring Charles, who has a steadfast belief in God; his wife Lily, resolute in her non-belief; James, who joins the ministry to do worldly good; and his wife Nan, devout and sweet. Their lives become entangled when Charles and James are hired as co-pastors at a New York City Presbyterian church, and over the years struggle through faith and beliefs, and marriage and friendship c...
  • Theresa
    This is a strong debut by Cara Wall. She can definitely write. Her metaphors are beautiful, and her characters are multi-dimensional and complex. This book felt relevant even though the story takes place in the '50s and '60s. Set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement and The Vietnam War, "The Dearly Beloved" follows two married couples, Charles and Lily, and James and Nan. In the beginning chapters, we are given a rich and rewarding b...
  • Lisa
    I'm rarely drawn to novels about faith and religion but this one is different. The Dearly Beloved is a nuanced and fascinating character study - an engrossing, graceful novel about the inner struggles and differences of 4 characters as they try to make a life and create families. James and Charles are both Presbyterian ministers so God is involved. The time period is the 1960s, and it is more than a backdrop - their lives are strongly affected by...
  • Connie G
    Four very different people are brought together in 1963 when Charles and James are hired to be co-pastors at a Presbyterian Church in Greenwich Village. Charles comes from an upper class, intellectual background, and is a good listener to his parishioners' concerns. James, the son of an alcoholic father damaged by the war, is a fiery man who wants to change the world. The two men complement each other in their work, and become good friends.Their ...
  • Cindy Burnett
    THE DEARLY BELOVED is a stunningly beautiful book incredibly thought-provoking and lyrically written. As I read it, I frequently marveled at Walls prose and marked numerous passages to go back to in the future. Through her four vastly different main characters, Wall delves into what it means to be human: making connections, helping others, exploring faith, and maintaining relationships. And she sets the main portions of this saga against the bac...
  • Barbara
    I listened to the Audible production of Dearly Beloved narrated by Kathy Keane. I enjoyed every second listening to this story. Keanes range of character voices adds to the story, which is important since there are four main characters, each with their own personalities and thereby voice inflections. The narrator makes all the difference in audio productions.Dearly Beloved is a story of love, marriage, friendship, and connections. Author Cara Wal...
  • Laura • lauralovestoread
    𝙳𝚎𝚊𝚛𝚕𝚢 𝚋𝚎𝚕𝚘𝚟𝚎𝚍, 𝚑𝚎 𝚋𝚎𝚐𝚊𝚗. 𝚃𝚑𝚎𝚢 𝚠𝚎𝚛𝚎 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚍𝚜 𝚝𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚜𝚝𝚊𝚛𝚝𝚎𝚍 𝚠𝚎𝚍𝚍𝚒𝚗𝚐𝚜, 𝚗𝚘𝚝 𝚋𝚊𝚙𝚝𝚒𝚜𝚖𝚜, 𝚋𝚞𝚝 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚙𝚎𝚘𝚙𝚕𝚎 𝚒𝚗 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚌𝚑𝚞𝚛𝚌𝚑 𝚠𝚎𝚛𝚎 𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚋𝚎𝚕𝚘𝚟𝚎𝚍, 𝚜𝚘 ...
  • Erin
    Wall's debut novel follows the story of two pastors and their wives - how they meet, how their 'calling' to preach comes about, and how they work together to serve their church community. I liked the premise of two very different men joining together in faith to support their wives and their churchgoers. However, this novel fell really flat for me. It seemed like there were way too many conversations about believing in God and not believing in Go...
  • Angie
    I liked the idea of this novel exploring how these characters--both individually and collectively--wrestle with faith and doubt in God and each other. Unfortunately, the characters felt more like vessels for viewpoints or plot devices than fully realized people. The second half also seemed to belong to another novel entirely. Edited to add: Faith by Jennifer Haigh is a book with similar themes (but vastly different plot) that I enjoyed much more.
  • Tish
    Have you ever finished a book, and your foremost reaction is that it was a privilege to have read it? That is how I felt about this book.Most writers are great at entertaining and storytelling. But then there are a few elite authors that just GET humans. It is clear that Cara Wall is an elite author. Ms. Wall has crafted a cast of completely different characters that are each so relatable. I have never identified so strongly with a character as I...
  • Laura Tremaine
    The first 3/4s of this book was extra strong, and then I felt like it just wrapped up really quickly when I could have read another hundred pages about these families. So the end left me a little wanting, but still five stars because I ended reading it so much. I cant remember the last time I highlighted so many passages in a novel. The first 3/4s of this book was extra strong, and then I felt like it just wrapped up really quickly when I could...
  • Colleen
    The Dearly Beloved is the story of Charles, Lily, James and Nan, and how their lives intersect forever when the two men are hired to jointly steward the Third Presbyterian Church in Greenwich Village in 1963. From childhood Charles is expected to become a history professor, like his father, but a lecture about faith causes him to change course and he decides to serve God. Lily, a fiercely independent and intelligent young woman whom he meets at H...
  • Basic B's Guide
    The Dearly Beloved is a stunningly thoughtful debut about two couples and their journey through life together. The couples meet when the men are jointly hired as co-pastors for the Third Presbyterian Church. Yes, this is a book about faith, but do not be deterred. I know faith and fiction can be a tricky one but Wall has managed it brilliantly with imperfect characters. Whether you are a firm believer, still searching or a non-believer you will f...
  • Angela
    Overall I enjoyed this well enough. There was some good material here, and some interesting discussions of characters wrestling with their faith. I'm not a believer, so I appreciated the way unbelief was explored as a worthy viewpoint. I think the story could have been fleshed out a lot more. And I mean A LOT. Two young couples are having babies, and then the next page is the epilogue, where they're old people and one of them has died. The author...
  • Ginger
    At least three friends told me this was the perfect book for me and boy oh boy were they right.This was rich and complicated and sweet and I think it just catapulted to the best book Ive read all year. At least three friends told me this was the perfect book for me and boy oh boy were they right.This was rich and complicated and sweet and I think it just catapulted to the best book I’ve read all year.
  • Carol (Reading Ladies)
    Four very different individuals (two couples) navigate relationships, marriage, children, faith, career, ministry, crisis, joy, friendship, forgiveness, uncertainty, understanding, and heartbreak. The couples meet in the 1960s when the men, Charles and James, accept positions as co-pastors of the Third Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. The relationship between the couples is strained because the wives are polar opposites: Lily is a loner and an a...
  • Megan C.
    As a rule, I dont like the smooth road give me a convoluted, back-woods path any day! Similarly, I dont often enjoy books with easy-to-like, flat, two dimensional characters. I dont like books that are too afraid to confront the ugly, the raw, the real.I enjoy when true justice is served, but I dont like overly simplified, overly neat, overly saccharine endings. Life isnt like that.I love authors courageous enough to examine tough ideas, turn pl...
  • Sarah at Sarah's Bookshelves
    [4.5 stars] Thanks to Simon & Schuster for an advanced copy of this book.The Dearly Beloved is a yet another gorgeously written character-driven novel (weve been swimming in riches with these this year and Im not mad about it!) involving two families. The writing style reminded me of Mary Beth Keanes in Ask Again, Yes. But, I wasnt sure if Id like this novel in the beginningwould be it too much religion (Im not a super religious person)? Or, too ...
  • Jodie
    The Dearly Beloved is a beautifully written story about the complex relationship of two couples. Charles and Lilly and James and Nan have been brought together when the men are assigned as ministers of the Third Presbyterian Church in Greenwich, New York in 1963. The four individuals are from varied backgrounds well described by the author. As the reader, I was fully immersed into the lives of the characters as they experience the joy of new love...
  • Jeanette (Again)
    3.5 starsCara Wall went to great lengths to lovingly create the four primary characters. I loved that first portion of the book where we learn about their early life, what made them the way they are, and how the two men came to decide to go into ministry. As they take up their ministerial duties, we then see their idealism meet with the reality of what it means to serve parishioners on a daily basis. They wrestle with their faith while navigating...
  • Elizabeth A.G.
    True to life struggles of faith and belief, doubt and hope, family and marriage, and life struggles and hardships. This book gets into the minds and hearts of its strong characters.