The Dearly Beloved

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—fiercely intellectual, elegantly stern—after she tells him with certainty that she will never believe in God? And yet, how can he not?

James, the youngest son in a hardscrabble Chicago family, spent much of his youth angry at his alcoholic father and avoiding his anxious mother. Nan grew up in Mississippi, the devout and beloved daughter of a minister and a debutante. James's escape from his desperate circumstances leads him to Nan and, despite his skepticism of hope in all its forms, her gentle, constant faith changes the course of his life.

The Dearly Beloved follows these two couples through decades of love and friendship, jealousy and understanding, forgiveness and commitment. Against the backdrop of turbulent changes facing the city and the church’s congregation, these four forge improbable paths through their evolving relationships, each struggling with uncertainty, heartbreak, and joy. It's a poignant meditation on faith and reason, marriage and children, and the ways we find meaning in our lives.

Title:The Dearly Beloved
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781982104528
Format Type:

    The Dearly Beloved Reviews

  • 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 parent...

  • 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, tw...

  • 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 somethi...

  • Meredith

    "He...loved them not with the automatic love of childhood or the easy love of coincidence, but with the tautly stitched love of people who have faced uncertainty together..."3.75 starsThe Dearly Belov...

  • 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 Jam...

  • Jen

    Do you believe in God? And if so, how do you envision him? Has your faith been tested?2 ministers and their wives lives become intertwined when they both get a position ministering in the same church ...

  • Marialyce

    4.5 stars“Because 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 thought...

  • 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 i...

  • Libby

    4+ stars - Well written novel that tackles issues of faith. I really enjoyed getting to know Cara Wall’s flawed characters, their struggles and redemptive qualities. Charles receives that mysterious...

  • 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....