The Secret Lives of Church Ladies
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good.
“Having grown up in a Mississippi Southern Baptist church, it wasn't until I was a teenager that I saw the secret double lives of some of us. Rebelling against the submit to authority messages on Saturday night, but sitting pious and submissive come Sunday morning services was de rigueur. Deesha Philyaw's book The Secret Lives of Church Ladies gives voice to secret lives that I know for sure are lived and true. The need for acceptance, for absolution, for grace is ever-present in familiar relationships as well as those in the church. These short stories are divine.”Rachel, Avid Bookshop
If you enjoyed Milk Blood Heat, then you’ll love The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.
“A slim, sensual, and often sapphic collection of stories about women, relationships, and the church. Whether the tension breaks in laughter or tears, it will keep you neglecting real life in leu of listening. You will fall in love with these women. It's remarkable with Philyaw has accomplished in such a short little book. It's incredible.”Conner, BookBar
“Do not let this slim volume deceive you—these stories are powerful, fierce, funny and sad. One of the best audiobooks I've listened to in a long time. Stunning!”Jennifer, East City Bookshop
The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church's double standards and their own needs and passions. There is fourteen-year-old Jael, who has a crush on the preacher's wife. At forty-two, Lyra realizes that her discomfort with her own body stands between her and a new love. As Y2K looms, Caroletta's "same time next year" arrangement with her childhood best friend is tenuous. A serial mistress lays down the ground rules for her married lovers. In the dark shadows of a hospice parking lot, grieving strangers find comfort in each other.
With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be.
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