Lurid tales of several pastors’ scandalous behavior, from the point of view of their quietly suffering wives.
Shirley’s tell-all confessional from the dark side of church leaders seems to scream out, “This happened to me, it could happen to you!” The explicit goal of the book is to educate the public on marital abuses, while inspiring silent First Ladies—aka church leaders’ wives—to speak out and do something to improve their lives. The last part of the book supports this goal with level-headed advice for recognizing abuse, seeking forgiveness and finding a good therapist. But in reality, the soap opera narratives of adultery, incest, drunkenness, financial indiscretion and psychological manipulation—among other sinful behaviors—are the core of its telling. Shirley delivers these with an engagingly readable, attention-grabbing, almost gossipy voice, fictionalized enough to make the stories feel individual, authentic yet common. Bible-supported advice asserts that keeping secrets for others is wrong, which helps ground the book in its ministry, although the oddly placed clip-art, singsong poetic reflections and uneven line drawings that portray the women described—inexplicably marked with street addresses—add little value. But ultimately, the stories offered here are juicy, well-told emotional tragedies; for those who find a secret pleasure in hearing about the veiled misery of lives that look perfect from the outside, this collection will unquestionably satisfy that urge. Every story is an unfinished cliffhanger to be completed in the separate, forthcoming third volume of the series, which speaks to profits rather than profundities.
Church gossip without much guilt or guidance.