JoeyPinkney.com Book Review
The Sunday Morning Wife
by Pamela D. Rice
(Peace In The Storm Publishing)
4.5 out of 5 Stars
The Sunday Morning Wife is the debut novel by Pamela D. Rice. This book strips the big, elegant hat and the silky scarf off the image we have of First Ladies in the churches that dot the cities and town of America. Lumps, scars and bruises are exposed. So is a world of hurt, confusion and embarrassment. Rice writes with a style that is fluid, yet the world she created with The Sunday Morning Wife is anything but comfortable.
Yolanda Clarke, First Lady of BrightStar Church, has everything and nothing at the same time. Her husband, Pastor Timothy Clarke, has a church that is steadily growing under his close watch, yet his marriage is weakening under his abusive ways. Yolanda is a caring psychologist and counselor, yet must work for free at BrightStar church with little recognition from her husband. She stays to a strict diet to stay fit for her husband’s criteria, yet she must endure the overweight jokes. It got to the point where I didn’t know whether to feel sorry or be mad at Yolanda Clarke because of her situation.
Her husband, Pastor Timothy Clarke, quickly becomes the “man of God” you love to hate. Rice introduces you to his wicked ways in the first paragraph of the first page. Verbal and spiritual abuse are disguised as God’s directives for the man to be the head of the household. The thinly veiled needs to make his wife a submissive wife under his clenched fist give way to the sadistic pleasure which is nothing more than domination and humiliation.
Yolanda’s not-so-secret admirer, Andre Hunter, brings to the table the relationship that her husband refuses to provide. Truly smitten and thoroughly convinced that Yolanda is his soul mate, Andre presents himself ready to take Timothy’s place as a dutiful husband. Andre’s God-fearing future has taken the place of his hedonistic past in his heart, and Yolanda struggles to look past his past and her marriage.
Besides the drama that the two men in her life bring, Yolanda has to contend with the very church that Timothy is depleting her inheritance to build. From the two-faced women ready to give the Pastor a little more Days Inn than Amen to the old, opinionated church moms who believe Yolanda is a downgrade, going to church at BrightStar is more of a chore than a choice for First Lady Yolanda.
Rice easily weaves an enchanting tale of empowerment and exposure. For people like me who can not take a break until they reach the end of a chapter, The Sunday Morning Wife is superbly paced to give you ample opportunity to put this veritable page-turner down if needed. The bite-sized chapters would have been perfect if there were transitional breaks within the chapters. There were a couple of jumps in time and distance that left me confused because one thing began right after something unrelated ended.
Rice wrote Yolanda’s character in a way that allows readers to see a woman grow into her strength and beauty. In the beginning, you will be screaming to Yolanda to get up and get out. During the middle, you will be telling Yolanda to stand firm. By the end, you will crying tears of joy. Not for Yolanda, but with Yolanda.
Although The Sunday Morning Wife highlighted abuse of all sorts and was soundly founded in Christianity, Rice filled this book with high-fashion, believable characters and plot twists that kept this book interesting to the very end. The book was riddled with small editing errors, but this book is by all means a solid effort by a great author.
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