THE SUNDAY WIFE
Finely drawn characters and complicated social intrigue make King's second novel (after Making Waves in Zion) a charming read. When Dean Lynch's ambitious preacher husband, Ben, is assigned to a pulpit in the small Florida town of Crystal Springs, Dean is resigned to the prospect of yet another church-owned house and the necessity of putting aside her own beloved music (she plays the piano and the dulcimer) in favor of the congregation's choir. Orphaned as a child, the retiring Dean has spent 20 years of marriage in the shadow of her overbearing, charismatic husband, always feeling out of place. But when she befriends Augusta, a wealthy, well-born, caustic beauty whose attendance at the Crystal Springs Methodist Church would be Ben's greatest coup, Dean finds herself coming out of her shell—and tangled up in secrets she is not prepared to handle. The only false note comes from the gay couple Augusta befriends, who border on stereotype. The rest of King's secondary cast, which includes a sympathetic psychic and the magnetic but sinister former preacher at Ben's church, is a captivating bunch. King has written a truly heartwarming story, a tale of turbulent emotions and the vagaries of public opinion in a small Southern town; she has a sure winner here. Author tour. (Sept. 4)
FYI:King is married to novelist Pat Conroy.