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 Lilyβ€”fie...

Details The Dearly Beloved

TitleThe Dearly Beloved
Release DateAug 13th, 2019
PublisherSimon Schuster
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, New York, Drama, Christian Fiction, Adult Fiction, Family, Marriage

Reviews The Dearly Beloved

  • Diane S β˜”
    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...
  • 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...
  • Laura G (lauralovestoread)
    β€œπ™³πšŽπšŠπš›πš•πš’ πš‹πšŽπš•πš˜πšŸπšŽπš,” πš‘πšŽ πš‹πšŽπšπšŠπš—. πšƒπš‘πšŽπš’ πš πšŽπš›πšŽ πšπš‘πšŽ πš πš˜πš›πšπšœ πšπš‘πšŠπš πšœπšπšŠπš›πšπšŽπš πš πšŽπšπšπš’πš—πšπšœ, πš—πš˜πš πš‹πšŠπš™πšπš’πšœπš–πšœ, πš‹πšžπš πšπš‘πšŽ πš™πšŽπš˜πš™πš•πšŽ πš’πš— πšπš‘πšŽ πšŒπš‘πšžπš›πšŒπš‘ πš πšŽπš›πšŽ πš‘πš’πšœ πš‹πšŽπš•πš˜πšŸπšŽπš, 𝚜π...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Bandit
    What a lovely book this turned out to be. A serious complex gorgeously told dramatic work of fiction following two couples for decades through all the trials and tribulations of their lives. Charles and James are connected through their work, when they become co ministers of a New York City church. But we meet them before that, when they are young men, we follow them through college, as they discover their calling and fall in love and look for th...
  • 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...
  • Sarah at Sarah's Book Shelves
    [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 (we’ve been swimming in riches with these this year and I’m not mad about it!) involving two families. The writing style reminded me of Mary Beth Keane’s in Ask Again, Yes. But, I wasn’t sure if I’d like this novel in the beginning…would be it too much religion (I’m not a super religi...
  • Bridgette
    The Dearly Beloved is a historical novel set primarily in the 1960s that follows the lives of two couples and their struggles. Charles and Lily are one couple and James and Nan are the other. They come from various parts of the country and from various backgrounds to the Presbyterian Church in New York that Charles and James spend their careers pastoring. The backdrop of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement mirror the upheaval in the mai...
  • Gretchen
    The Dearly Beloved is a love letter to a life of ministry, and to those who minister, specifically in a church setting. It is told from a secular worldview, but handles the themes of community, loyalty, faith, commitment and especially calling, with a knowledge so true that I found myself nodding and underlining all the way through because I live this life everyday and I appreciate the loving yet honest picture of it portrayed by the author. Beau...
  • Deborah Stevens
    Oh my. This is the best novel I've read in a while.Its quiet premise seemed promising: the story of two couples whose lives intersect when the minister husbands are called to co-pastor a Manhattan church. It sounded something like Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner, which I appreciated. I liked this one even better!There's a slow build as Wall introduces each character, from childhood. Her writing sparkles and the descriptions hit the sweet s...
  • Natalie Erwin
    I know I’m 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. ...
  • Rebecca
    In 1963, Charles and James are hired to jointly minister the Third Presbyterian Church in Greenwich Village, New York City which means that their wives, Lily and Nan, are also forced to interact. How will their similarities and differences set the pattern for the next few decades of their lives? Will they be able to work together companionably, or will their unique set of beliefs keep them forever divided?I was utterly fascinated by the serious, ...
  • 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.
  • Haley
    Really 4.5 stars. I will be thinking about these characters and their stories for a long while.
  • Belle
    This is a book about Presbyterian ministers that only mentions Jesus one time in passing. Otherwise the whole story is only God. Never even the Holy Spirit. Because of this the book is incredibly hard to read for me. The Christian faith is the trinity ( from everything I understand about it). If these ministers and their wives struggle, it is no wonder because I don’t think the faith can roll with just that one side of the triangle. There must ...
  • Jessika
    Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the free e-galley of this book! This does not affect my opinion presented here in this review.I am really killing it with my choice of books this year! The Dearly Beloved was a beautiful, insightful, poignant read. I found myself highlighting entire passages of this book because it was so lyrically written. This was one of those books where I found myself stopping to re-read passages because they ju...
  • 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...
  • Brooke
    I am loving all of these books coming out set in the 1960s. It's so interesting to compare and contrast themes from a particular era. Two couples - Charles and Lily, James and Nan - find their lives inextricably linked when Charles and James accept the call to co-minister at the Third Presbyterian Church in NYC in 1963. While this book is certainly a thoughtful meditation on faith, it's also a meditation on the challenges to faith, the limits to ...
  • Kathy
    I am a bookseller and received an advanced review copy of this book. I was surprised in the best possible way by how deeply this novel moved me. The premise is simple: two couples brought together by chance when the husbands are assigned to share the ministry at a Presbyterian church in Manhattan in the early 1960s. Cara Walls renders these four very different people and their relationships with honesty, insight and compassion over the decades co...
  • Maureen
    There has been a lot of buzz surrounding this book in the publishing world so I was excited to get get my hands on an ARC and see what all the fuss was about. It was good. Quiet in its story telling often with turns of phrase that stopped me in my tracks. But I did want more; not sure what more I wanted but something. The writing is good enough for me to give it 4 stars, but it just needed a little something to push it over the hump to the 5th st...
  • Kim
    I absolutely loved this book, in the most sincere, hug it to your chest, type of way. This is what Anne Bogel would call a quiet novel, and I wouldn't expect a story in which God is the fifth main character to captivate me, but it did. The writing is restrained but there are some really poignant paragraphs and the whole book is just beautiful. (I received an ARC of this title.)
  • Bob
    Summary: Two couples, the men holding a joint call to a New York City church in a time of change, two wives utterly unlike, and the bonds forged between them as they lean into suffering and the challenges of faith each approaches differently.The story of Charles and Lily, James and Nan. The story is framed by the death of one of them, and the closely woven friendships forged between four very different people, two of whom were intensely at odds w...
  • Sandra
    3.5 Stars for The Dearly Beloved.I was equally awed and baffled by Cara Wall's debut novel, The Dearly Beloved. Strongly character driven with weak relationships, this book is memorable, yet remains a frustrating read for me.First, know that I filled pages of my journal with powerful quotes lifted from the pages of The Dearly Beloved and this is where its strength lies. Wall bleeds her faith onto the book’s pages without being preachy, the book...
  • Lee Woodruff
    There are occasions when you pick up a book and fall into a rabbit hole from the beginning. And while the criteria for me might be different than you, it usually starts with exceptional writing, the depth of the characters and, of course, the story. In the end for me the simplicity of the story and the complexity of the interior lives is usually the key. And for those who share my love of Wallace Stegner, this reminded me of β€œCrossing To Safety...
  • Debbie
    The Dearly Beloved is a beautifully written historical fiction book. This book is more of a character driven book to me - it involves 2 couples from College age through about 30 years. The two men are ministers of a Presbyterian church while one of the women doesn't believe in God and the other woman was raised in a Christian home. The book revolves around their faith, family, friends, and jealousy between the women. When I read historical fictio...