Waiting to Exhale meets Church Folk as five female attorneys do brunch each week to trade tales about their love lives, law firms, and the Lord!
Meet Capri, an attorney at a top Houston firm. She seems to have it all together all the time until a seductive client topples her self-control. Then there’s Jermane, a devout Catholic who met her husband in law school and has never been with another man. But now her workaholic marriage is threatened by temptation.
Angel, on the other hand, sees men merely as a means to sex. Her scorn for love of all kinds—godly or otherwise—is challenged by a serious health scare. Meanwhile, Jewel bases her dating choices on the size of a man’s bank account until she meets a new flame who causes her to reconsider her requirements.
Finally, there’s Lexi, the link between the ladies, who provides sage advice while praying for Mr. Right. But what happens when depression hits hard?
Through conversation and consolation, these dynamic characters provide one another with divine inspiration—encouraging readers to root for them along the way.
Excerpted from Sunday Brunch by Norma L. Jarrett. Copyright © 2004 by Norma L. Jarrett. Excerpted by permission of Broadway Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Tell us about how you came to write SUNDAY BRUNCH.
I wrote SUNDAY BRUNCH during my last year of law school. It initially began as a journal. I was inspired to write about the various women after a real life “Sunday brunch” with my law school girlfriends. We’d meet regularly for brunch after church and discuss issues related to romance, career aspirations, and church. As in the novel, my friendship circle was a mix of flavorful personalities. Just like Lexi, I was at a place in my life were I was growing spiritually. Therefore, the exploration of this theme came natural. The result was an entertaining, yet realistic contemporary story about friendship, love, work, and spiritual growth. Thus, SUNDAY BRUNCH, the novel, was born.
In SUNDAY BRUNCH, we get to hear the main character’s prayers. Many of them struggle with issues of faith. Why did you decide to incorporate faith into the novel?
At the time I wrote SUNDAY BRUNCH, I was moving from “casual courtship” to a true relationship with God. Faith and spirituality were a natural part of who I was. I’d read many books about some of the same issues in SUNDAY BRUNCH, but I didn’t see anything in the literary market that dealt with these same problems from a biblical perspective. I added the prayers, because I wanted to illustrate a realistic dialogue between Lexi and God. I wanted the reader to relate to her weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and desires. The prayers were an opportunity to expose these issues and encourage women who are in all phases of a spiritual walk. It was important for me to show that when you are trying to grow spiritually, you will have pain, questions, fleshly desires, and ultimately victory. However, I wanted to illustrate the process in a nonthreatening manner that most people could relate to, whether they knew God or not.
I love that the characters get together every Sunday. Is this something you still do with your friends?
Everyone who knows me knows that I definitely love a good brunch. It is my favorite thing to do. Originally, my friends and I would gather just about every Sunday. We still do have Sunday brunch, however, because of careers, marriage, and other life events, it’s less frequent. As mentioned earlier, my friends in law school originally inspired the characters. Each brought something different to the table, whether it was high drama, a voice of reason, fashion flair, or sound spiritual advice. They were the catalyst for SUNDAY BRUNCH. However, I used the characters to explore topics and concerns in my own life and others’. For example, a common challenge with Christian singles is celibacy and sexual temptation. I wanted to flush out these issues and the emotions attached to them. Likewise, I wanted to explore forgiveness, healing, infidelity, and materialism. I tried to be as creative and entertaining as possible with a few twist and turns to keep the readers surprised.
Where do you see your characters going? Will they pop up in another story, or have they found peace for now?
I’ve already completed my second novel and it isn’t a sequel. However, I’d love to do one. What I envision is readers growing spiritually with each novel. As for the SUNDAY BRUNCH crew, I can’t say they’ve found total peace for now. Should I do a sequel, I’d probably examine the next phase of their lives with marriage, kids, and other transitions. I imagine the appropriate theme would be, “This Wasn’t on the Menu” as we’d witness the ladies learning the ups and downs of truly getting what you asked for. I’d also love to see the lives of Lexi, Capri, Angel, Jermane and Jewel play out on film.
Tell us about the Sunday Brunch Experience and how reading groups can participate.
I believe that SUNDAY BRUNCH is more than a novel. It’s a celebration of friendship, love, and spirituality. Therefore, I wanted to develop creative and fun suggestions for readers to further enjoy this experience after reading the novel. So, following the Reader’s Group Guide in the back of SUNDAY BRUNCH, there’s an added bonus of the “Sunday Brunch Experience.” These are ways readers can relax, connect, entertain, and/or celebrate themselves and others. For example, as a book club, you can cook and serve the food mentioned in SUNDAY BRUNCH at your meeting. You can dress as SUNDAY BRUNCH characters, attend brunch together, and discuss the novel. (P.S. I’d love to see the pictures!) There are other literary activities, book club ideas, and other suggestions related to faith and personal care. It is my gift to you...I hope you enjoy your “taste” of SUNDAY BRUNCH!
1. What emotions did you experience while reading Sunday Brunch? What parts of the novel connect to your life?
2. In what ways are the characters alike? Different? Why do you think they remain so committed to each other and their Sunday brunch ritual?
3. What are some of the spiritual battles Lexi faces? Why does she think it's her responsibility to support and pray for all of her friends? Why doesn't she feel more comfortable sharing her needs with them?
4. If you were Lexi, how would you have dealt with Reggie and Kyle?
5. Why do you think it took so long for Lexi to meet the police officer, Chris Reynolds?
6. Is Jermane being realistic about her needs? What advice would you give Jermane regarding her dilemma with Naegel? Do you see the kiss that they shared as adultery? Why or why not?
7. Why does Jewel struggle with finding her true purpose? How does God work in her life, compared to the other characters?
8. What is it about Kevin that made him give the spoiled Jewel a chance? Why is her ultimate response to him so positive?
9. Why does Capri have such a hard time opening up to Anthony? What do you mark as the true turning point in their relationship?
10. Many career-oriented women struggle with the same issues that Capri does--striving to maintain a healthy balance between work, family, personal goals, and romance. If you were Capri, would you risk your career for a man? Do you agree with her choices?
11. What motivates Angel to give her life to the Lord? What will be some of her obstacles in becoming a devoted Christian?
12. Based on the issues they bring to the table at the beginning of their relationships, what potential challenges do you think each couple will face in their future?
13. What do you think the primary struggles are for young single women and their faith walk? What situation in Sunday Brunch best represents a situation young singles must face?
14. Has Sunday Brunch influenced your prayer life in any way? Has it made you think differently about prayer? If so, how?
15. What was the significance of exploring the different levels of spirituality in each character?
16. What actors could you see playing each character in Sunday Brunch--The Movie? (Make a female and male wish list!)
17. Has Sunday Brunch made an impact on the relationships in your life (platonic, romantic, professional, and familial)? Describe how and discuss.