Her Good Name By Ruth Axtell

Her Good Name is more than just a superbly entertaining novel; it holds spiritual truths that are important to remember. Social boundaries were heavily drawn even in the late 1800’s when this story takes place. The wealthy worked hard to keep their group elite and unspotted by those of lesser means. This is the situation Espy Estrada and Warren Brentwood found themselves in.
Espy was a beautiful and intelligent daughter of an American mother and Portuguese fisherman. She had her 11 siblings lived in poverty. After an accident her father had developed a serious drinking problem to the point he was rarely at home. It fell to Espy and her older sister to support the family. Her dreams for an education had been cut short.
Warren on the other hand came from a wealthy family that had given him the best education possible. They had his life planned out to take over the family business and marry the girl (of course an aristocrat) of their choice. He had been taught since he was young that this was his destiny. Although he felt obligated to comply with his parent’s wishes, he was made of a different cloth than his family. He was kind and compassionate and saw value in people no matter what their station.
Espy had liked him since they attended grammar school together many years ago. He had just returned to their hometown from college and she finds ways to run into him on a daily basis. Warren is shocked at the beautiful young woman she has become and the strange affect being near her brings.
They are suddenly thrown together when their pastor asks Warren to start a youth group to bring young people back into the church and proposes Espy be his assistant. They become very excited about bringing both the wealthy and the working class together not only to learn God’s Word but also to help the poor in the community. Alas, trying to combine the two social groups is like mixing oil and water. In spite of the difficulties, Espy’s enthusiasm, energy, and positive attitude are encouraging and impressive to Warren. His family is very upset at him having any type of interaction with her. He becomes torn between his growing feelings for her and his family’s expectations.
Espy feels she is moving up in the world when Mrs. Stockton, the wife of a respected local high school professor hires her on as housekeeper. Espy knows Mr. Stockton has a large library and hopes to be able to read some of his books. Unfortunately the professor has other motives and his wife catches him making inappropriate advances on Espy. Rather than tell the truth they spread lies about her and she becomes shunned by the entire town including Warren. She can stand it no more and moves to a nearby town where she lives with a missionary and his wife. God begins to work in both their lives in amazing ways.
The author beautifully illustrates truths in God’s Word warning us not to judge others by how things appear. I loved Espy’s strength in facing such condemnation and as she grew spiritually, allowing God to defend her good name. I admired Warren’s strength in choosing to please God no matter who he might displease, even those closest to him. Two scriptures that this story brought to mind were:
No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
Isaiah 54:17
And of course, A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. Proverbs 22:1
I was also very impressed that although this was a romance novel, it was written very clean and purely. An excellent book!
“I received a copy of this book from Moody Publishers for the purpose of this review.”


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