It's official: The end of September is almost here. As the month flies by, readers are flying through this month's #ReadWithJenna selection, "The Dearly Beloved," by Cara Wall.
While the book club conversation continues to flourish online, we spoke to Wall about her powerful book and the inspiration behind the four characters we can't stop thinking about.
"The Dearly Beloved," by Cara Wall
For the author, the book is about faith — but despite being set in a church, she said it is not necessarily about religious faith.
"It's a book about faith in ourselves and others," said Wall.
The novel's Third Presbyterian Church was inspired by New York's First Presbyterian Church, which Wall grew up attending with her family, and the main characters were largely inspired by her childhood parish.
"I had two ministers when I was growing up which is kind of unusual," Wall told TODAY. "They were very dignified and august and deeply revered, but they were also some of my parents best friends so I saw them as ministers in the church and just as men outside the church."
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While writing the book, Wall utilized her many years as a "spiritual seeker" and time spent studying religion to inform her storytelling. Still, she learned something new by putting this story into words.
"I think what I learned from writing this book is that to really be empathetic, to really be a loving human being, you have to work on yourself," Wall explained. "It’s a process of shedding the things inside of yourself that keep you from loving other people."
For the reader, Wall said she hopes they will learn something about themselves based on which characters resonate with them.
"I don’t think there is a main character but almost everyone I talk to feels like one of the characters is more important than the other characters and I am always fascinated by that, by who they choose," she continued.
If you have finished the book, which character stood out to you the most? We'd love to hear your thoughts in our #ReadWithJenna Facebook group.
And if you haven't started The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall, it's not too late. Get your copy today and join in the fun.
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For past #ReadWithJenna book club picks, you can read the announcements for her March pick, April pick, May pick, June pick, July pick, August pick and check out our Read With Jenna page.
To stay involved all month long, be sure to follow us on Instagram (don't forget to tag your photos with the hashtag, #ReadWithJenna), join our Read With Jenna Facebook group and follow along on Goodreads to continue the conversation about "The Dearly Beloved."