Monday, June 3, 2013

In Name Only- a book review

            I really enjoyed Ellen Gable’s third novel Stealing Jenny and, having found a true treasure in Gable’s writing, was optimistically eager to read her earlier works.  Going in backward order, I recently finished Gable’s second book, In Name Only.  The two stories are very different- one, a contemporary tale of a happily married couple anticipating the birth of their sixth child, the other, a historical fiction book about a young girl starting her life all over after the death of her beloved father.   Despite their obvious differences both books were very well-written and both held my attention from their first pages to their equally captivating endings.

            In Name Only, which is set in the late 1800’s, tells the tale of Caroline Martin.  It is a story of extremes, namely extreme joy and extreme sorrow.  As the story begins, Caroline is a young naïve girl in the grips of grief having just lost her beloved father.  She sets off to start anew in the home of her well-to-do uncle and his sweet, friendly daughter.  As she grows and matures, Caroline experiences many wonderful blessings and many difficult trials.  From the joy of her young marriage to the doting, dashing man of her dreams to the shock and devastation of his unexpected death.  From the beautiful, hope-filled moment of her daughter’s birth to the pain of a forced marriage of convenience to her womanizing, arrogant brother-in-law.  

Through the unfathomable struggles she faces, Caroline grows.  She becomes stronger, more confident, and more faith-filled.  Throughout it all, she is compassionate and selfless but it’s never easy.  She is continually tested by a life that, even in its blessings, is never easy and never predictable.

I think what I liked most about In Name Only were the varied characters.  Gable’s characters, both the good and bad, are complex and believable.  They have strengths and weaknesses and sometimes their strengths are their weaknesses and sometimes their weaknesses are their strengths.  

Caroline and all the people she loves, and struggles to love, experience life with its ups and downs.  They react in ways that are authentic and realistic.  They face their challenges and they revel in their successes all while being true to themselves and to the personalities Gable has bestowed upon them.   They’re easy to relate to and once you are drawn into their lives, you cannot help but root for them and hope for them.  

For my review of Stealing Jenny click here.


  1. This sounds like a really great book--one that I'd really enjoy. Thanks for the review and for introducing me to Ellen Gable.

    1. Sr. Ann Marie-

      I hope you will get a chance to check out Ellen's books. It is so awesome to find a talented Catholic author who is sharing the truths of our faith through inspiring stories. Ellen is so beautifully doing what I hope God will allow me to do- write for His greater glory.

      Besides that- she is a wonderful advocate for other Catholic writers as well. I'm honored to help spread the word about her work.

      Many Blessings, Kari



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