Posted in Historical

Ruth Axtell’s Her Good Name


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, lives on the wrong side of town, 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 her respected employer begin to circulate, the entire church congregation and then the community pronounce judgment on her behavior. 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?
For me, this book was a page-turner. It wasn’t as good as some of her other books, but it was still a good read. I enjoyed that the main character was Portuguese. Sometimes it’s nice to have a different kind of heroine. I really liked all of the interactions between Espy and Warren and how you could see the romance develop overtime. However, although realistic, Warren was a bit annoying in his pretentiousness. The whole book, I kept hoping Espy would have a little more backbone. That said, I loved that spiritually, Warren and Espy grow in God through their quiet time and by spending time in His Word. So realistic and so pratcical as anyone could do this to further their relationship with Christ. The novel was slightly predictable, but Ms. Axtell is such a good writer I was carrying the novel with me everywhere. Recommended.

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