In her second novel In Name Only, author/editor Ellen Gable Hrkach creates a masterfully complex late eighteen hundreds setting ripe for drama, suspense, and intrigue. The characters are richly described and deeply developed. The complete conversion in thought, word, and deed of two of the main characters is very moving. I can easily see why In Name Only won the Gold Medal in Religious Fiction in the 2010 Independent Publisher Book Awards and has been in the top ten of its category on Amazon Kindle since February 2012, usually in the top five.
The leading lady, Caroline, finds herself in a number of difficult, quite distressing situations which eventually lead her to a period in her life where things are looking up. She meets and falls in love with a respectable man and finds hope in the future of their relationship and lives together. Tragedy strikes but the opportunity for true love, passion, marital bliss, and a more profound hope based on God isn’t lost forever.
One thing that really blew me away about this novel was the powerful, extremely real descriptions of the physical, emotional, and spiritual devastation of losing a loved one. I have never experienced the particular type of loss dealt with in this novel, but it is one that I have often thought would be one of the most difficult to live through and move beyond. This is one of the few books where this topic is treated on such an intimate level that the reader can tangibly identify the pain and suffering involved, even if she has not experienced the same tragedy.
This novel proves that wild hearts can not only be broken, but also converted, and completely transformed. The relational, psychological, and spiritual intricacies of the main characters are explored in tremendous depth, which makes this book hard to put down. The moral struggles and questions that the characters grapple with are fascinating and some of them very unexpected.
One ladies’ man goes from being completely driven by and acting out based on pleasure and pride, to learning to live out of compassion, humility, and love. Find out what it takes to turn this reckless rake into a true gentleman.
Of course, even post paradigm-shift, the main man still has some haunting memories and some sins from the past that have a major impact on his present, not a devastating, damning one, but one that becomes redemptive in nature. Through the grace of God, the admission of truth and previous lies, and a selfless love for others, healing happens in realistically miraculous ways.
The messiness and confusion suggestive of real life relationships, the true transformation the Lord offers, and God’s ability to bring about good from even the most devastating circumstances are what make this novel such a compelling read. Temptation, sin, morality, and virtue are all weighed in the balance on a spellbinding level that captures the depths of despair and the heights of hope.
I highly recommend In Name Only. To read more about this awesome novel or to purchase your own copy, click here. Oh, and by the way, I heard today (from a very credible source) that a sequel to this novel is in the works.