Starred Review: In Name Only


Title: In Name Only

Author: Ellen Gable

Available:, Full Quiver Publishing

  • Paperback: 410 pages
  • Publisher: Full Quiver Publishing (Jun 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097367363X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0973673630

This is a historical romance unlike any other. First of all, it is a page-turner. It’s not unusual to read historical novels tend to have plots that drag on and sometimes even take a backseat to the descriptions and detail of the period. This novel has a plot that races on from one emotionally-charged episode to the next, while having a great over-arcing plot that keeps you reading to the end, wondering if the main characters will will their internal battles, overcome the many obstacles and find the happiness they are striving for. Secondly, the book unashamedly counter-cultural, and that makes it strangely refreshing.

The book begins with nineteen-year old Caroline travelling by train with an elderly chaperone. Her father has died and left her penniless, so she is on her way to live with her rich uncle and cousin. Already by the journey’s end Caroline is in trouble – her chaperone has died and she must be taken home by her uncle’s neighbour – a handsome young man named Liam O’Donavan. The young man is smitten with the polite and pretty Caroline and returns to court her. Within a year they are married and Caroline is with child. Her husband is good and loyal, the only problem is they must share their mansion with her husband’s womanizing brother. Caroline hates the charming David O’Donavan, who is prone to drink and gambling. Imagine her horror when Liam dies suddenly, and he begs her by letter to marry his brother for the sake of their child. It seems that David, being the favourite of their father, is owner of the O’Donavan’s estate and that Caroline would be penniless without the help of the charming but lascivious David. Caroline at first refuses, but then enters a marriage of convenience for the sake of their child and on the understanding that it be a marriage “in name only.”

This is when miracles happen … David falls in love with the virtuous Caroline and at the same time has a religious apotheosis … at his lowest point, fully despising himself for his weaknesses, he enters a Catholic church out of desperation and meets Father Flaherty who sees the good in him, and helps him to change. David actually finds the grace to become celibate and realize that there is something much more desirous than the lust for flesh – the love of a soul. But will Caroline be convinced of his love and the great change in his character? Will she be able to forgive him and return his love after his truly sordid past? The reader will agonize over every delightful twist of plot that this story throws at them. This is a truly great story of redemption, uplifting and yet thoroughly entertaining. This story will renew your faith in humanity.

*****Five out of five stars

T. M. Wallace (Author of: Under A Fairy Moon)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s