Her Good Name

Title:  Her Good Name
Author:  Ruth Axtell
Pages:  345
Year:  2012
Publisher:  River North, a division of Moody Publishers
                Her Good Name had me hooked from the beginning.  The author has a way with storytelling that just draws you in from the beginning.  Her characters are very likeable, and you can identify with their emotions easily.  The setting is in a small town in Maine called Holliston in 1892.
                Warren Brentwood III has returned from two years of traveling the continent after graduating from college.  He is being groomed by his father to take over the family lumber business.  His father has named him as manager, but really the job is in title only.  His father still makes all the decisions.  His parents want him to marry a childhood friend from a “good” family.  Warren has no romantic feelings for this girl and isn’t ready to marry.  He is asked by his pastor to lead a new young people’s group composed of some of his friends as well as those from “the wrong side of the tracks”.  The purpose is to reach those other young people who don’t feel welcome in church.  During these meetings, he is drawn to Esperanza Estrada, but knows they can never have a future together as she is poor and not of his social class.  Espy is a Christian like Warren.  Can he overcome his parents’ objections and indeed have a relationship with Espy?  What has she gotten herself into this time that the whole town is talking?  Warren is also faced with a challenge from his pastor as to his future.  What does God want him to do?
                Esperanza Estrada, or Espy, is a young woman who is spirited, gets along well with all different kinds of people, and genuinely cares for the less fortunate.  She has secretly been in love with Warren for a very long time.  She lives in a very poor area.  Her father comes and goes in her life.  He is an alcoholic and only returns home when he runs out of money.  She has 10 brothers and sisters who she takes care of.  She works at a cannery, canning fish.  She loves to read and learn about new things, but had to leave school before starting high school to go to work to help support her family.  She joins the church group and works with Warren.  She hears about an opportunity to leave the cannery and clean house for a local teacher.  He offers to lend her books from his personal library, and then offers to tutor her.  He makes inappropriate advances toward Espy and is caught by his wife.  He tells Espy he’ll explain everything and she has nothing to worry about.  The next thing she knows the whole town is condemning her as a hussy!  Where is God in all this?  Will anyone believe her side of the story?
                This is just a sweet story that will keep you turning the pages until the end.  I have added this author to my “keeper” shelf.  This is a wonderful story of faith and seeing God at work in the lives of his followers as they study his word and grow closer to him.
My rating is 4 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988
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