Televenge - Pamela King Cable
Andie Oliver is a faithful woman—to God, to husband Joe, and to elevangelist Reverend Calvin Artury, a Godfather in a Mafia of holy men. Raised to be subservient and submissive in the tradition of the Bible-belt South of the 70’s, she becomes a prisoner of that tradition. As a reluctant member of Artury’s evangelical megachurch, the House of Praise in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Andie’s dream of children, home, and marriage falls apart when Joe is hired on the ministry team.
The charismatic Reverend conducts faith-healing crusades, creating the largest religious TV audience in the world, surpassing the income and followers of Oral Roberts and the Reverend Billy Graham combined. Working limitless hours, Joe is sucked deeper into the ministry while Andie attempts to free him from the Reverend’s control and far-reaching influence. But it is Mavis Dumass, Andie’s best friend since birth, a sassy African-American woman and aspiring recording star, who holds the secrets to Reverend Artury’s carefully veiled debauchery. What happens to Mavis will not be forgotten as it leaves Andie near mental collapse and struggling for freedom from the cult’s grip.
Andie is still unaware of the extreme danger their pastor wields until she witnesses the murder of a church member. Fearing for her life, Andie plummets from a dreadful existence to a horrific one as she uncovers Reverend Artury’s long-hidden truths, and loses everything. But she strikes back, threatening to expose the Reverend to the world. Reverend Artury reverts to the twisted “cleansings” of his childhood. Raised by two psychopathic aunts, he mentally declines and quickly, Andie must go into hiding. Fighting for redemption for her family and herself, Andie confronts the very definition of sin, and shakes the Christian evangelical world to its core. Evading ruthless adversaries who will go to any lengths to protect Reverend Artury, Andie battles the dark side of televangelism, forever changing a nation of evangelicals.
With more twists and turns than the Blue Ridge Parkway, Televenge exposes chaos in the megachurch, and embraces those who discover unconditional love in a world of religious deception. A story of hope, of deliverance, and strength of the human spirit. An unforgettable tale of unconditional love, heartbreaking loss, an invincible spirit, and incredible courage.
I'll be honest with you. When I first opened my package and saw how huge this book was, I know I said out loud, "Jesus Christ, I need to start looking to see how many pages there are going to be. Shit." It's 584 pages. I know, you're hyperventilating, aren't you? Well I'm going to tell you that every piece of this book is needed. You know I hate fluff and I'm the first one to tell an author to stop putting so much useless shit in your book just to make it a normal sized novel, you're wasting my time. But not the case in this book. I really thought it would be and I kept looking for it, but in hindsight, you need everything. Everything plays a piece in the end, ultimately.
I don't know where to even start. Seriously. I'm sitting here wondering how to review this but I'll tell you that when I finished it? I had to not read for a few days. I had to emotionally get my shit together because it takes a lot out of you. Even reading the book I had to stop because my heart hurt for Andie. I really liked her. She was young, she was optimistic, she really just wanted to live the American Dream. Get married, live in a beautiful house, have babies, be a good wife, and be in love. And nobody can say she didn't try, no matter how awful things got.
Her life is just a serious of losses, and huge losses. She loses a child, a friend, family, hope, love, confidence, everything. Everything a person needs to just hang on in life, she loses it. Not by her bad choices, but because of a religion and what ends up being a cult.
The most fascinating thing about this book is the religion aspect. Anyone who knows me knows I don't subscribe to church. I have never thought that a pastor or a preacher has any right interpreting a piece of religious writing that may or may not be true. The fact is, nobody really knows and the people who don't acknowledge that scare the shit out of me. Mostly because I don't understand why a person would be willing to have someone else's words shape their life. I mean, I try to look at choices and use common sense and my gut feeling to make the right decision. Doesn't always work, but I'm always presented with choices no matter what and I try to navigate through life making good choices and be a good citizen. And I felt like Andie ends up that way. She starts off as a devoted church follower and submissive to her husband, but when she wants more out of life (namely, being a mother) it basically all goes to hell for her.
Every time you think you've figured it out, you didn't. You're so wrong it's shameful. And as the book winds down you think surely there can't be any more surprises. Oh, but another death in her family sets her in a direction that will either kill her or save her.
And when the entire ball of yarn unwinds and you see everything as a timeline? Man. I'd have to think any other person would give up hope all together but Andie doesn't. Andie is the epitome of a strong woman. Sure, she isn't educated, she has not a damn thing to her name, she's lost her kids because of a crooked judicial system, people are out to kill her and you know what? She just keeps trying to make the next best decision to get to her end goal- to have her kids back and live a good life with someone who really loves her. I still can't get over how so many people failed her. People who really loved her knew something wasn't right and they either hid hurtful secrets or turned a blind eye and said Jesus said this is how it should be. And to know that there are so many people in the world that really believe Jesus thinks this kind of behavior is OK is insane. And terrifying.
For this being such a huge book, every loose end was finished. Well, there is one with Suri (yes, you read that right) that I wish we knew more about. I won't even tell you who Suri is because it would ruin a huge plot point in the book for you. But everything else? Tied up, perfectly. Well, as perfectly as all of these troubled characters could be. I will tell you that the very end with Joe? The last conversation him and Andie have? Bothers me. Because while I understand why Andie says what she does to him, I wonder if any part of her is pulled to him? Because her entire life had become her hoping that her Joe was still in there, and he shows a glimmer of it, and she doesn't even pause. I get why she doesn't because I wouldn't, but I wonder... is there a tiny part in her feel like, "I was right all along, he IS in there"?
I can't tell you how much I want you to read this book. I want you to read it right now. It's so good and I know the size of it is scary. I know that it gets slow in some parts but really get absorbed in it. Don't give up on it because while it starts out slow it builds and builds. You'll enjoy it, love it, be horrified and hopeful all at once. I am even going to say it's probably one of the best books I have ever read. Truly. I can think of just a few books in my lifetime that I've read that have pulled at me and this is one on a very short list. I can't explain it, it just is.
But lucky for you... ONE reader can win a copy of this (US/Canada only)! Leave a comment on this post with your email address and a winner will be drawn on Friday, January 25. GIVEAWAY CLOSED