Saturday, April 13, 2013

Her Good Name by Ruth Axtell

cover of Her Good Name by Ruth Axtell shows a woman in a cap and white apron Her Good Name by Ruth Axtell. Moody, 2012. 288p. (9780802406279)

It’s not often that books are set in Maine and while this story could have taken place almost anywhere in 1890s America but it was fun to read somewhat familiar city names. Skip over the summary if you don’t want to know too much of the story.

Goodreads Summary:
In the 1890 thriving coastal town of Holliston, Maine, the leading lumber baron's son, Warren Brentwood, III, returns from his years away at college and traveling to take up his position as heir apparent to his father's business empire.

Esperanza Estrada, daughter of a Portuguese immigrant fisherman and a local woman, Espy lives on the wrong side of the tracks, surrounded by a brood of brothers and sisters and a careworn mother. She is unable to pretend she is anything but "one of those Estradas." When she overhears of a position to clean house at a local high school teacher's home on Elm Street, she jumps at the opportunity-to be able to run into Warren Brentwood now and again, but also to imbibe of the culture and intellectual atmosphere of the Stocktons.

When rumors about Espy and a respected, married gentleman of the community begin to circulate, the entire church congregation and then the community pronounce judgment on her behavior. The man Espy is in love with, Warren, believes the lie and his loss of faith in her causes Espy to give up without a fight. She leaves her family and hometown for the nearest city with little money and no acquaintances and is forced to spend the night on the street. A man who heads a mission for the homeless finds Espy and offers her shelter. Espy finds the true love of God while working at the mission. Will she be able to forgive the townspeople and return home?

My Review:
That summary sure told a lot of the story! Sorry about that. Anyways…

Her Good Name was an enjoyable read but also dealt with a serious issue. Espy is accused of inappropriate behavior when it really wasn’t her fault and she was actually the victim. Why is it that the women so often get all the blame and must live with the consequences while the men get off seemingly scot free?

The characters and their development over the course of the story were all believable and it was easy to imagine the scenes and attitudes of Warren, Epsy, Christina and the others. The settings and historical aspects weren’t described very much, but for me that was alright.

I liked how the author handled Epsy and Warren slowly realizing and fully grasping the full extent of God’s love and faithfulness. So often Christians go through the motions of “Christianity” – attending church, praying, reading a bit of Scripture, yet they are missing out on a personal relationship with our Almighty Savior and failing to fully trust and rely on Him.

four butterflies: worth the read and the re-read
(Well, maybe not the re-read, but definitely worth the read)

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.
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