When Charles Barrett and James MacNally are appointed as co-pastors for the Third Presbyterian Church in Greenwich Village, New York, in 1963, it could quite possibly be a match made in heaven. However, that is, until their wives Lily and Nan are added to the mix and like it or not, over the decades that follow their lives will inevitably be intertwined.
With nary an ounce of piety to be seen, this is a balanced and thought-provoking exploration of faith, giving equal voice to its well-defined quartet of characters, and the congregation they serve, as they wrestle with the vicissitudes of life.
Really enjoyed this book. We had a good discussion as a result of it.
We enjoyed the book, and the building of the characters was well thought out. Challenging themes and subject matter. Interesting portrayal of American culture.
Some enjoyed this book. Others found it contrived with characters positioned to represent a different view on faith.
We all thoroughly enjoyed this book. A good insight into how very different personalities can actually make relationships work. And that there is always a solution to a problem, even though it can sometimes take time.
A multi-layered book involving people from widely different backgrounds, provoking thought and discussion on belief, friendship, life complications and humanity.
The start of the book was very slow - probably the author setting the stage. Very real and different characters. The autistic child was quite a trial for the parents. We enjoyed the ending.
We were agreed that this was easy to read but opinions were divided. Some enjoyed it, particularly its focus on relationships - husband and wife, parents and children, friends and couples who have a different relationship with God. Others found it rather pedestrian with unconvincing characters. Much of the discussion was about autism.
We all liked this book even though it was very much centred around grief. There was also much talk about Autism.
Well-written - a good story but not everyone's cup of tea.
We enjoyed this book, and felt that Cara Wall depicted the four friends' characters very well, especially the differences in James' and Charles' approach to their religious calling, and their wives' part in their lives. We thought the description of autism and Lily's outstanding ability to get the best treatment for her and Charles' son, was very clearly told.
A most unusual novel that provoked much in depth discussion.
We all thoroughly enjoyed the book, and had a very good discussion before we even looked at the discussion questions provided.
This book, approved by all of us, gave rise to a really good discussion. We felt that while the plot's framework was not necessarily very auspicious, the way the story was written was what we enjoyed. The characters, each flawed in his or her own way, were drawn in fine detail, creating a "realness" about them, which made us feel alternately compassionate, irritated or warmly disposed to them... The imagery was bright, the prose was beautiful and we appreciated the thoughtful study of faith in all its forms. The book also gave us an insight into the early stages of understanding autism.
Nearly everyone enjoyed this book, particularly the 2nd half. Easy to read and fascinating to discover those relationships that you initially think will never work....but do.
The best loved book for a very long time. Interesting and real characters and beautifully written.
Half of our group loved this book, the other half found it "humdrum". We are thankful that things have moved on in most Churches.
We all really enjoyed the book, thanks. It inspired much conversation.
We all enjoyed it.
We found this book a compelling read. There wasn't anything major happening, but for some reason we couldn't put it down. Well-written. Strong, interesting characters. Emotionally evocative.
We all enjoyed reading this book. Particularly enjoyed the individuals' characters, and the way this impacted on their journey through life.
Very mixed. One definitely liked it, some warmed to it, and others found it unconvincing and disappointing.
Enjoyed by all. Animated discussion prompted by real, raw characters. Religious calling, relationships, love, raising children, and community are explored in a very human way. Highly recommended.