Unconditional love and grace versus legalism is the core of the novel, Televenge by Pamela King Cable. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this book, but the plot synopsis caused me to pause and take a look and I’m so happy it did.
Televenge’s plot focuses on Andie Oliver, a devout Christian woman who is caught inbetween the life she’s dreamed of with a husband and children and a controlling televangelist who threatens to destroy everything she loves. As a member of the House of Praise, an evangelical megachurch, Andie isn’t in love with the doctrine or as enthralled with the charismatic pastor, Calvin Artury, as the rest of the congregation (including her husband, Joe). But House of Praise is all she knows of God and faith and since Joe is caught up in being the “perfect” Christian, Andie finds herself on the losing end of a battle for Joe’s attention and devotion. Joe is much more concerned with making sure Rev. Artury is happy than he is his own wife.
Andie, an upper-middle class southern belle has wanted nothing more than to be married and create a beautiful home for her husband and children. But Joe’s obsession with the ever-popular Rev. Artury threatens even her ability to start a family and the secrets around the church begin to peel away as Andie stands strong against some of the most bizarre church rules.
The deeper into the story, the more twists and turns, the author is able to flawlessly coax from her characters. I was genuinely entranced with this novel, unable to put it down. At a considerable length of nearly 600 pages, it felt like little more than half that size because I was able to read it so quickly. The more I got to know Andie the more I rooted for her to turn her situation around and with each loss and crushed dream, I wept for her. But as God did with Job, she was rewarded for her faithfulness.
One element of the writing style I enjoyed was the various perspectives the author wrote from. Usually written in Andie’s voice, there were several sections of the book in which Andie’s best friend, Mavis spoke or even the evil Rev. Artury. These transitions were smooth and natural and added a richness to the story unlike any I’d read in a while. King Cable’s attention to detail in the book was fantastic. She transported me into another time, at the height of televangelism, before scandals rocked the religious world and tarnished the label, “evangelical”.
The seedy side of religion isn’t something I relish reading, but just like anything else, there is a darkness opposite the light, and the author captures this darkness in compelling and meaningful ways. Everything in the novel serves a purpose and helps the story of Andie Oliver and her life ease up from the muddy murk, float to the surface and finally begin to blossom, like a lotus flower.
Brilliant writing and characters put Televenge on the top of my recommendations for this holiday season and beyond.