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4.3 out of 5 stars
Her Good Name
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Ruth Axtell has given her readers another beautiful love story, long and satisfying. Her heroine, Espy, is the daughter of a poor immigrant fisherman who falls in love with Warren, heir of the town's lumber empire. But there is so much more to this tale than your typical late 19th century class differences. Espy--a strong young woman of faith, has an almost royal self-esteem that doesn't match her work clothes. This daughter of the King's heavenly self assurance is a threat to the upper class townspeople who feel she doesn't quite know her place. Warren is also somewhat threatened by her poise and candor, but attracted to Espy's beauty and determination to succeed in her studies. He knows they can never be together because of their different backgrounds.

One Sunday after worship services, their pastor puts the two of them together as leaders for a new project to recruit young adults from the "other side of town" into the Church. Espy is a natural leader and urges Warren and his society friends to do more than offer ice cream socials to the widows, orphans, and cannery workers who are under financial hardship. Inspired by her ideas, the group immediately goes to work, raising money to help struggling families in their community. Warren, impressed by Espy's enthusiastic relationship with God, finds himself longing to be more than a good church goer and son of the town's lumber baron.

Suddenly, a false rumor threatens to destroy Espy's good name and she is forced with the decision to move away from the small town where she grew up in order to begin a new life. Still in love with Warren, she bravely begins a journey where she continues to grow in her spiritual development, continuing to put God first in her life. Meanwhile, Warren struggles to defend Espy to the various townspeople and begins a new journey of his own.

This is a compelling story with a captivating heroine. Long after finishing the book I found myself thinking of Espy with a smile on my face, hoping for a sequel.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Ruth Axtell's HER GOOD NAME offers the classic romantic conflict of class differences, set in 1892 Maine, with fresh twists and strong characters. Espy Estrada gave up her education to help support her mother and brood of siblings but longs to better herself. Warren Brentwood has returned from college to run his father's lumber business but feels unfulfilled. The two have been childhood friends and are now drawn together by circumstances and emotional connection but neither believes a future is possible. Lies and the resulting censure drive them apart and drive Espy from her hometown. Both Espy and Warren struggle with their faith and with their futures. Rich descriptions of the settings and deft characterizations of secondary characters as well as the protagonists further enrich this emotional and page-turning story.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
"Her Good Name" is a classic "clash of culture" story. When Portuguese maid Esperanza "Espy" Estrada loses her heart to Warren Brentwood, the son of a wealthy businessman, she's confronted with prejudice--both her own and the criticisms of society. Warren faces similiar problems. He's obligated to enter the family business, but his changing values--and his feelings for Espy--make the decision far from simple. It's pure joy to watch Warren and Espy overcome their fears as they explore their faith, grow closer to God and finally to each other.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I have long enjoyed love stories where the hero and heroine have to overcome both society's strictures and personal obstacles to forge a life together. Her Good Name is an excellent story in that aspect. Espy Estrada and Warren (love that name!) Brentwood come from different worlds, even though they both grew up in the seaside town of Holliston, Maine.

One thing I loved about this novel was the way Espy always did right. Life had thrown her some pretty hard situations, and though she often thought about scaling back and not trying her hardest to honor God, she chose to do right anyway, time after time, struggle after struggle. I was so glad to see a happy ending to her story. But boy oh boy, was that happy ending a long way off at times!

Before Espy and Warren could forge a life together, they had to overcome society's class structure, cruel rumors, and their own self doubts. Both Warren and Espy ended the story as different and more mature people then they were when the story started. Plus as a woman who married a pastor, this story holds a special meaning to me. I'm so glad Espy and Warren found way to be together and Warren was able to pursue his divine calling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
In 1892 Espy Estrada is a poor half Portuguese girl in a small Maine town who dreams of doing more with her life than working in the cannery like the other poor Portuguese young ladies around her. A new job as a maid for a local teacher seems promising - especially when he offers to tutor her and help further her education for free.

Espy has all the male attention any girl could want - even that of local heir and pretty boy Warren Brentwood III who is recently back from college.

The two strike up a friendship, and, of course, any reader can see where this is going. Poor girl from the wrong side of the tracks - rich boy who gets whatever he wants...but of course the difference in their social classes keeps them from even seeing each other and from thinking the other would be interested in the least.

Her Good Name gets off to a very slow start. The entire first half of the book is basically back story. Girl and Boy knew each other as kids, they are now reacquainted but know nothing can come of their friendship because of social class. They are both placed on a church committee where they find ways to both linger together longer and avoid each other entirely.

Warren is being pursued by fellow upper-class girl, Christina. Espy seems to have a constant trail of love-sick boys after her. Neither likes the attention the other receives.

Then one day the teacher Espy works for makes a move on her - and his wife catches their embrace. Or, rather, his embrace, as Espy has somehow been completely unaware of the man's advances that even a child could have picked up on. Not wanting to admit to trying to kiss the maid, the husband says she made moves on him, Espy is fired and the entire town is abuzz because of it. This is where the book gets its name - her good name (which honestly wasn't "good" to start with since she was seen as just another Portuguese working girl) becomes sullied amidst the upper-crust. And for some reason love interest Warren believes the gossip.

The book actually gets slightly interesting when Espy moves to Bangor, Maine, to find more suitable work and to escape the undying gossip around town. Months later she is shocked to see Warren there as well - it seems he's left his father's lumber business in order to study theology and become a minister. The two spend a lot of time together where they fall in love without admitting it to each other.

Warren returns home for a short time and is invited by their hometown pastor to preach. He writes Espy and says he needs her there for moral support. Having not returned home since leaving her sullied reputation behind, Espy is hesitant, but goes for Warren's sake. There he parades her in front of his disapproving parents and their friends, making her further realize she is not a part of his social standing and never will be.

Her Good Name is a very predictable fiction novel. It might be good as a beach read - or, as I read it, something to pass the time while ignoring one's three children and it didn't much matter if I was interrupted over and over.

I found Espy and Warren hard to cheer for. Both had the "woe is me and my lot in life" attitude, though they enjoyed doing charitable work. And I realize I wasn't around 120 years ago, but I seriously doubt the misdeeds - true or false - of a poor immigrant's daughter would warrant the tongue wagging Espy received from the town's elite. And her reaction to run away didn't endear me to her at all. I felt she needed to stand up for herself - make her story known and believed, especially to the man she was actually falling for.

I would give this novel 2.5 stars out of 5. Readable, but hardly enticing.

Read more on my blog! [...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
Her Good Name by Ruth Axtell was a fantastic read and one I greatly enjoyed. I liked the fact that it was based out of Maine because I don't think I have read a lot of books from that state. While the story did not say a lot about the state itself, I still enjoyed the fact that it was a different setting.

Her Good Name tells the story from Espy and Warren's point of views. Espy is the oldest of 11 children, living in the poorer parts of town. She spends her time taking care of her younger siblings and working to help provide for them. When she gets a job cleaning for a professor and his wife, she finally feels like she is moving in the right direction.
Warren is the only son of a wealthy family. His father owns a lumberyard business and expects Warren to take over the company someday.
Having been in grammar school together, Warren and Espy are somewhat acquainted when the pastor of their church asks them to head up a young adults group. When they try to bring their two worlds together in one group, there are definitely differences that arise and cause a strain in the group.
Meanwhile, as Espy works for the professor, he offers to tutor her. This turns out to be a bad idea as scandal arises and Espy is forced to leave town in shame.

There's so much that happens in this book that it's hard to write a review that covers all of it but doesn't give anything away. Throughout all the aspects of the book I found myself living Espy's life right along side her. Her world came alive to me as I was transported back to her time. Some of the characters in the book were hard to like, but for the most part, the cast of characters was well written and fun to get to know. I enjoyed the whole storyline and am very glad I read this book.

I received a free copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review. I received no compensation for this review and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions stated are my own.

Leah B
Must Love Books
mustlovereading.wordpress.com
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
Her Good Name by Ruth Axtell is set in 1882 Maine. The story unfolds about miss Espy who is trying to make a way for herself and because of her poorer class it seems to be more difficult. Warren is from a prominent family and went to grade school with Espy but seems to keep running into her everywhere he goes. As their relationship turns more towards friendship, something terrible happens that jeopardizes Espy's reputation. Because of her working class, she is made into a liar and judged as the entire town turns against her. Warren doesn't trust her anymore and Espy decides her life is going nowhere staying in such a town and gossips. She goes on a new adventure and discovers a whole new life with Christ at the center.

At the start of the book I did not like Espy character, she seemed too annoyingly flirtatious in the first couple of chapters. As I continued reading, I soon fell in love with her character and the overall storyline. I was pleasantly surprised when the storyline took a different turn and truly wove in God's love and how important He is in our lives. I truly enjoyed this book, it was a rather refreshing book to read.

"I received this book for free from Moody Publishers in exchange for this review"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
Once again, Ruth Axtell doesn't disappoint! I ordered Her Good Name in advance because Ruth is one of my favorite authors of Christian Romance. The first book I've read of hers was Winter Is Past. After that I was hooked. I haven't read them all yet but I'm getting there. Sort of pacing myself cuz once I've read them all I will be very sad.

Anyway, Her Good Name was a wonderful Christian Romance. One thing I can always count on in Ruth's stories is that it's a learning experience. And her stories always feel so real to me - like I'm right there in the same room listening to the conversation. Everything flows so nicely.

At first I didn't care for the hero but as the story took shape, and his life experiences were revealed, I began to understand and like him much better. I loved Espy from the beginning. She seems so sure of herself in some areas but naive and inexperienced in others. They both grew up and matured throughout the story and came together beautifully in the end.

I give this story 4 stars because if I give every book 5 stars then I leave no room for improvement on those special books like Winter Is Past!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I really wanted to love this story. While the book was beautifully written, I found myself not caring for the hero/heroine. While they finally followed their hearts, they seemed merely shallow throughout the majority of the book. Espy's sister, Angela, was more of the strong, sympathetic lead I have loved in the author's other works...maybe we shall see her story? So, while I think the author has an amazing gift with words, the lead characters put a damper on the reading experience for me.
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on April 1, 2015
Format: Paperback
Her Good Name by Ruth Axtell is a wonderful book set in the late 1800's in the town of Holliston, Maine. The main character, Epsy, a fisherman's daughter, dreams of having a life with Warren Brentwood, the heir of a large lumber company. Being as they are from different classes of society she knows that she does not stand a chance so she tries to better life and takes a job at a local professor's home.

It doesn't take long for rumor's to begin to fly concerning Epsy's relationship with the professor. Her whole world is turned upside down and she is left alone and penniless. All she has left is her faith. Will anyone ever believe her professed innocence and what about Warren? Warren is has his own struggles. He is torn between being the man society expects him to be and the man that God is calling him to be.

There are so many things I loved about this book. I am a huge fan of historical fiction and I especially love it when and author writes a fiction story that is historical accurate and helps to enrich the readers knowledge of that time period. Ruth Axtell did just that in Her Good Name. I also love when an author encourages readers spiritually. This book was rich in faith and the challenges that both Epsy and Warren faced in their efforts to do God's will was uplifting and makes the reader really think. I also loved the the character of Epsy! What a lovable character she was! Always joyful no matter her situation. Always holding her head high in-spite of the trials she is facing. There is so much to be learned from this character. It was a blessing to read about her and I was sorry to see the story end.

If you are a fan of historical fiction or christian romance I would highly recommend this book. It is the first book I have read by this author, but I am confident in saying that it won't be my last!

***This book was provided to me through Moody Publishers blog review program in exchange for my honest review.
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