Book Review: In Name Only by Ellen Gable

In Name Only is my third book of Ellen’s that I’ve had the pleasure of reading and reviewing. You can read my review of Stealing Jenny here and Emily’s Hope here.

From the back cover:

“1876, Philadelphia. Caroline Martin’s life has finally taken a turn for the better. After years of hard work, she has met a virtuous and wealthy man whose love seems to promise the kind of life realized only within the comforting novels she keeps on her night table. Tragedy, however, will teach Caroline of the complexity with which God Himself authors the lives of those who turn toward Him.”

My comments:

I liked Emily’s Hope, I thoroughly enjoyed Stealing Jenny and I absolutely LOVED In Name Only. 🙂 It is definitely my favorite out of Ellen’s three books. (a BIG thanks to Ellen for offering me a Kindle copy of this book in exchange for the review. 🙂 )

In Name Only is a historical romance, set in 1876 Philadelphia, but it isn’t an ordinary historical romance. Many romances, including historical, are often smutty and makes me want to go to confession after reading them! That’s why I usually stick with Amish love-inspired novels, such as The Wonder of Your Love. Ellen’s book, however, is anything but smutty. It is a touching and engaging romance that captivates the reader from the very beginning.

Ellen does a wonderful job touching on human sexuality and the Catholic teaching on sexuality. It is direct but weaved into the story seamlessly. She also beautifully handles topics such as tragedy, miscarriage and confession.

The characters are realistic, human and interesting and I fell in love with all of them. I became lost in the book, completely drawn into the story as I ‘watched’ the different character relationships evolve; so much so, I stayed up WAY past my bedtime because I didn’t want to put the book down!

If there was one “negative” thing to say it would be that the storyline was a little predictable; BUT, almost all books are like that for me. I have this thing of always thinking of possible scenarios and can almost always predict what will happen next in a novel. Still, even being able to expect what will happen didn’t detract from the plot lines whatsoever. They were interesting, several times made me tear up, and the perfect complement to the characters’ lives in the story.

Finally, I hated for the book to end. I wish Ellen would bring Carolyn and David back in a sequel to this book! Please, Ellen?!

I give this book 4 (four) stars for sure. 🙂

Book Review: Stealing Jenny by Ellen Gable

Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t like surprises. Well, it’s not that I don’t like surprises so much as I don’t like suspense. I’m the one who asks questions and talks through movies (just ask my husband!) and I (almost) always read the last chapter of a book BEFORE reading the rest of it. Yep, I do! That’s why I normally stay away from suspenseful novels. You’ll never see me reading Steven King or James Patterson. 🙂

However, when Ellen offered to let me read and review any of her books – and I read Stealing Jenny’s excerpt – I knew I had to choose this book. Dozens of questions popped into my head and I “had” to find out what happened next to Jenny. Where was Denise taking Jenny? Did Jenny and her baby survive? What happened to little Caleb? Was he okay?

When Stealing Jenny arrived, I resisted the urge to read the last chapter of the book – which, believe me, was HARD! But, I’m glad I did, because I think it made the book that much more enjoyable. I was kept on the edge of my seat for the most part; although, there were several times in the book I was able to figure out what was going to happen next before it occurred.

Still, I enjoyed the book very much. As a mom, I felt an instant liking to Jenny. I also liked Tom and many of the other characters in the book. I liked the flashbacks that gave us a glimpse of why the characters were they way they are – in spite of their failings and mistakes (which one learns about in the flashbacks). I even almost even felt sorry for Denise – almost, but not quite!

If you enjoy suspense, I think you will enjoy Stealing Jenny. I give this book 4 stars.

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