Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Pastor's Wife

by Jennifer AlLee

Published by Abingdon Press (2010)
288 pages

A Story of Marriage Restoration

Six years after walking out on her marriage to her pastor husband, Nick Shepherd, conditions of a will force Maura Sullivan to move back in with him.

For six months.

For six months she’d have to live with him in the parsonage, albeit separate bedrooms, and face the church and community who adore her husband. Maura and Nick agree to the conditions knowing full well the intention of the deceased was to reunite them. Maura knows that will not happen. Her secret insures it can’t happen.


This Valentine’s Day, it’s only fitting to provide a review of a romance. Now, The Pastor’s Wife isn’t what you’d term a normal romance, after all, the couple is still married. And there’s an odd rule in the romance novel world that says “romance” only occurs between a non-married couple.

I beg to differ.

That’s part of what makes this book an enjoyable read. As the reader, we witness a rekindling of a flame long thought burned out. We see two people assess their past behavior and get a glance into their spouse’s point-of-view. As in real-life marriages, both husband and wife make mistakes, and when true repentance happens, marriages long gone cold can be reignited & restored.

In her sophomore novel, Author Jennifer AlLee does a good job of showing the unique challenges facing pastors and their spouses. How does a pastor serve his congregation fully and not neglect his wife? How does the spouse live up to the church’s expectations, and does she sacrifice her own needs along the way? I also like that the author includes Nick's perspective. All too often, in Christian fiction, the husband's point-of-view is ignored leaving the story one-sided. Jennifer deftly avoids this trap making for a deeper, more satisfying read.

Introducing Jennifer AlLee

As a child, Jennifer AlLee lived above a mortuary and had to be very quiet when services were going on downstairs, which solidified her life-long love of books and writing. Jennifer now resides in the grace-filled city of Las Vegas with her husband and teenage son.

A Chat with Jennifer:

Your book’s topic is unique. What inspired you to write it?
I served as a church secretary for many years which definitely gave me a unique perspective on the lives of a pastoral family. I worked at two different churches. One was a large denominational church, the other much smaller and non-denominational. But the lives of the pastors were quite similar. There’s always another meeting to go to, or one more person that needs counseling. People feel very possessive about their pastors. This usually manifests itself in positive ways, but sometimes it crosses a line. You have to watch out for that. And the pastoral family faces challenges no one really thinks about. They basically live in a glass house and are expected to be active members of every church activity, whether they’re interested in it or not.
When I was working on the original concept for this novel, I thought about the pastors’ wives I’ve known over the years. They’ve handled themselves with amazing grace under pressure. But what if another woman couldn’t? What if a young woman thinks she knows what she’s getting into, but the reality of losing who she is and becoming a “pastor’s wife” is more than she can handle? What if some other tragedy pushes her over the edge? Would she run? And what would happen if she had to return to the scene of her heartbreak years later? All those questions eventually became The Pastor’s Wife.
As a pre-published author, I’d like to know what advice you have for aspiring writers.
From a craft standpoint, there are two things you can do to become a better writer: read and write. Read books about the craft of writing and read other books in your genre. But don’t stop there. If you write sweet romances, stretch yourself and pick up a thriller. If you write historicals, try out a sci-fi or fantasy novel. Great writing is great writing, regardless of the subject matter. You can learn a lot by reading broadly.

For personal well-being, I would encourage every writer, no matter what stage you’re at, to have a support system. This includes belonging to a writer’s organization. I’m a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, which has been a huge blessing to me. Through it, I’ve cultivated friendships with other writers, including my best friend who is also my critique buddy. It’s great if your family supports your writing, but trust me, you need to have people you can go to who “get” you.
Thank you, Jennifer, for stopping in today. It was a joy getting to know you.

For more information on Jennifer AlLee

Read the first three chapters of The Pastor's Wife here:

Contact Jennifer in cyberspace:
website -
personal blog -
group blog -

Abingdon Press provided this book for review purposes only.


  1. Thank you for the thoughtful review, Brenda. May you have a wonderful, love-filled Valentine's Day!

  2. You're welcome, Jennifer. It was a privilege to read The Pastor's Wife & I look forward to reading more of your books in the future.