THE SUNDAY WIFE

Cassandra King

Married for 20 years to the Reverend Benjamin Lynch, a handsome, ambitious minister of the prestigious Methodist church, Dean Lynch has never quite adjusted her temperament to the demands of the role of a Sunday wife. When her husband is assigned to a larger and more demanding community in the Florida panhandle, Dean becomes fast friends with Augusta Holderfield, a woman whose good looks and extravagant habits immediately entrance her. As their friendship evolves, Augusta challenges Dean to break free from her traditional role as the preacher’s wife. Just as Dean is questioning everything she has always valued, a tragedy occurs,

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Married for 20 years to the Reverend Benjamin Lynch, a handsome, ambitious minister of the prestigious Methodist church, Dean Lynch has never quite adjusted her temperament to the demands of the role of a Sunday wife. When her husband is assigned to a larger and more demanding community in the Florida panhandle, Dean becomes fast friends with Augusta Holderfield, a woman whose good looks and extravagant habits immediately entrance her. As their friendship evolves, Augusta challenges Dean to break free from her traditional role as the preacher’s wife. Just as Dean is questioning everything she has always valued, a tragedy occurs, providing the catalyst for change in ways she never could have imagined.

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  • Hyperion
  • Paperback
  • 2003
  • 400 Pages
  • 9780786890446

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About Cassandra King

Cassandra King was born in Alabama, where she taught college-level English and writing. She now lives in South Carolina with her husband, author Pat Conroy.

Praise

“Rich [and] satisfying.” —People

Discussion Questions

What is a Sunday wife? What makes a “good” one? Consider whether or not Dean fits the bill, and explain your reasoning.

Who is the narrator and is this narrator reliable? Explore what the book would have been like if Ben had been the narrator. Consider how the story would unfold if one of the other characters were narrating.

What is the role of religion in The Sunday Wife? How does it frame—or anchor—the story? Share who you believe holds the book’s moral center, and why.

Discuss the different social issues and dilemmas that King weaves throughout—like same-sex marriage, psychic healing, book banning and adultery—and examine why she uses them to tell this story.

Were you surprised at Dean’s early admission that she and Ben don’t share a bedroom? What kind of relationship does this lead you to believe that they have?

When Dean succeeds in cultivating a friendship with Augusta and Maddox, why isn’t Ben ecstatic? Explore whether or not Augusta causes a rift between Ben and Dean. Is Dean and Ben’s relationship already coming apart?

How are Dean and Augusta alike? What are your impressions of them? Thinking about Ben and Maddox, discuss their similarities and differences and what kind of men you think they are, and why.

On page 61, Dean and Augusta talk about fate vs. determination and choice. Share whether or not you believe, as Augusta does, that there are unseen forces that determine our fate. Why? How do Augusta’s beliefs fit with what happens in her life?

Explore the turmoil Rich and Godwin’s union causes the community. Why is Ben so upset about Rich and Godwin’s union? Why was he so unsympathetic about Dean being attacked? What would you say to him if you were Dean?

Would you have given Augusta’s note to her husband or hidden it from him like Dean did? Discuss why Dean does this and whether or not she was protecting Maddox. What are the consequences of Dean’s actions? Why does Maddox get so angry when he finally reads the letter?