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In Name Only (O’Donovan Family #1)

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  678 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
1876, Philadelphia. Caroline Martin's life has finally taken a turn for the better. After years of hard work, she has met a virtuous and wealthy man whose love seems to promise the kind of life realized only within the comforting novels she keeps on her night table. Tragedy, however, will teach Caroline of the complexity with which God Himself authors the lives of those wh ...more
Paperback, 410 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by Full Quiver Publishing
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Sep 22, 2011 Annmarie rated it it was amazing
I enjoy historical fiction, especially those that are romances. However, I have been hard pressed to find one that isn't full of imagery I would rather not be exposed to. With her novel In Name Only, Ellen Gable satisfied all my needs. This story is a true romance, wonderfully written and set in the Victorian time period.

Ellen tackles some difficult subjects with finesse. While the novel's main character is Caroline Martin, an orphan who goes to live with a wealthy uncle in Philadelphia, it is a
Apr 23, 2012 Valjbianco rated it it was amazing
It is certainly tempting to look around at our world and lament simpler days gone by. We find ourselves surrounded by violence, sexual immorality, abortion, addiction…in short all of those things that we pray may never affect our children.
As one begins reading IN NAME ONLY, set in post-Civil War America in the late 1800’s, the cares and travails of today’s world rapidly melt away into a time when men were gentlemen and ladies were, well, just that. In fact it is easy to imagine that Gable’s s
Jun 12, 2013 Vincent rated it it was amazing
Shelves: catholic-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Krisi Keley
In 1876, nineteen year old Caroline Martin journeys to Philadelphia to live with her uncle and cousin after the death of her beloved father, whom she has taken care of for many years. Uncomfortable in her new surroundings because of her own modest background, but welcomed by her wealthy uncle, she settles into her new life and is soon courted by her kind and upstanding neighbor, Liam O’Donovan, as well as frustrated by the presence of his vice-ridden, womanizing brother, David. Despite her conce ...more
Melinda Gregory
Dec 21, 2012 Melinda Gregory rated it it was ok
A Kindle freebie... glad it was free. I don't think I realized this was fiction from a Catholic standpoint until I was halfway through it. So many better "religious fiction" choices out there than this one... the writing fell flat on so many levels, the characters were not rounded out, and the dialogue was so unbelievable (even for 1870's upper class people). A good idea: an orphaned 19-year-old who comes to live with her rich uncle & cousin, marries a next door neighbor, then has to navigat ...more
Mindi Morgan
Mar 08, 2012 Mindi Morgan rated it it was ok
I like to read faith-based fiction and this book looked interesting. The writing was a little above average and did keep my interest until about half way through. However, I started to get weary of the story and the over use of Catholic references. I am a Christian, but not Catholic. I felt like this author was pushing her own personal religious agenda on the reader, so I stopped in the middle. It was disappointing because the story line was solid except for a couple of Biblical fact errors. I w ...more
Barbara Cook
Jan 25, 2014 Barbara Cook rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book because I feel like Christ can change a heart, a life, a relationship......but there was too much emphasis on the Catholic Church. It's not the church but Christ that is the answer. Having said that, I felt character development was lacking and writing predictable and slow.
Tim Speer
Feb 20, 2016 Tim Speer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful christian love story. I had a hard time putting this book down. I enjoyed the setting. Great story on how people can change their bad ways by coming to know and trust in God.
Trisha Niermeyer Potter
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 27, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it
First, I will start off by saying that I am male and that I do not tend to gravitate towards romance, romantic comedy or anything in that same vein. Sure, I went through that stage when I was dating in which I watched romantic comedies for the sake of my then girlfriend, now wife and occasionally I still will at her request. However, on the whole I find the genre contrived, predictable and as painting unrealistic pictures of love, marriage and sensuality. In Name Only is none of those things.

Nov 10, 2011 Sue rated it really liked it
I was asked to review the novel " In Name Only" by the author Ellen Gable on my Kindle.This is a historical romance novel set in the 1800's. Nineteen year old Caroline Martin journeys to Philadelphia to live with her uncle and cousin after the death of her beloved father, whom she has taken care of for many years. Uncomfortable in her new surroundings because of her own modest background, but welcomed by her wealthy uncle, she settles into her new life and is soon courted by her kind and upstand ...more
Aug 04, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing
In Name Only is set in the late 1800’s in Pennsylvania. Recently orphaned Caroline finds herself living with her uncle and cousin, and a romance blossoms. Throughout the book, Caroline struggles with a variety of hurdles and challenges, and in the midst of appreciating the writing, I also was reminded that this house I live in was built in about that time period.

It’s easy for me to forget how different life is in 2009 than it was in 1878. It’s so much more comfortable here, but I couldn’t help b
Michael Seagriff
Dec 10, 2011 Michael Seagriff rated it it was amazing
I'll be honest. This is not the type of book I would ordinarily put to the front of my reading list. I don not read a lot of fiction. But I had the privilege of meeting the author and seeing a sample of her work. I became enthralled with her story telling abilities.

Caroline, Liam and David immediately came to life. I felt that I was actually in Philadelphia in the mid 1800's witnessing the story unfolding right before my eyes. The author naturally, realistically and compellingly weaves the funda
Karla Goforth Abreu
May 02, 2012 Karla Goforth Abreu rated it liked it
This was a relaxing read, instead of watching mindless tv, etc. It is a historical romance, exploring issues of loss, grieving, human frailty, and redemption, and class discrepancies. Surprisingly, the book explores many Catholic concepts as heart practices rather than the modern day ritual it so often becomes. Unfortunately, it pushes Catholic concepts such as the immorality of birth control to a ridiculous measure. Still, all in all it was enjoyable, and an entertainment for a few hours. For i ...more
Nancy Belanger
Dec 09, 2010 Nancy Belanger rated it it was amazing
What fascinated me most about this lovely Catholic romance was all of the historical detail Ellen provides; it was like stepping back in time into Caroline's era. Ellen must have done a lot of research into this time period, and that makes the story that much more engaging. Caroline's story was sweet and moving, and like another reviewer, I also found myself thinking about her during the day when I wasn't reading the book; her characters are that real and that compelling. This book is a must-rea ...more
Toni Ladd
Jul 28, 2011 Toni Ladd rated it it was amazing
In Name Only a novel by Ellen Gable is a wonderful work of Catholic historical fiction. It is so delightful to read a romance that keeps to moral teaching. I cried and I laughed while reading this book. Once started it is hard to put down and by the end I wished it could continue. A great book that I highly recommend.
Aug 25, 2012 Loraine rated it it was amazing
Complex and intriguing story line with excellent characters grappling with life's ups and downs. Forgiveness, grace, mercy and growth permeate the story line of all 3 of the main characters in this interesting book.
Sam Fink
A light reading. A romance novel which makes it very unusual fare for me. But some good words about sexual tension and Catholic (Christian) principles on self control. A little overly contrived in places and a fair number of deaths. Not a great novel but a reasonable effort to pass time.
2.5 stars, extra 1/2 star given because of the people who gave it lows stars because is was too "Catholic."

I came upon this book years ago and tried several times to read it. I never could get past the first chapter, but I recently came upon it again while reading an article about Catholic doctrine, specifically NFP, sacramental marriage, abortion, etc. The author article mentioned this book was a nice way to teach doctrine without resorting to dry lectures and handouts. I decided to read the bo
Michelle Onuorah
Apr 08, 2014 Michelle Onuorah rated it liked it
(Potential spoiler alert!)

First of all let me say that Ellen Gable is a very talented writer. Any comments that I have to make on this book are simply about the story itself - not the way she wrote it. She has the ability to absorb you into the tale she weaves and I truly felt invested in every single character's life. That is the hallmark of a wonderful author.

This is my first time reading her work and though I am a Protestant Christian, my father is Catholic and I know that many Catholics have
Mar 19, 2011 Ruth rated it it was ok
1876, Philadelphia. Caroline Martin's life has finally taken a turn for the better. After years of hard work, she has met a virtuous and wealthy man whose love seems to promise the kind of life realized only within the comforting novels she keeps on her night table. Tragedy, however, will teach Caroline of the complexity with which God Himself authors the lives of those who turn toward Him.

My Comments:
I wanted to like it; I really did. I did find it to be a better written better plotted novel th
Jan 14, 2013 Jean rated it it was amazing
In Name Only by Ellen Gable is a captivating romance novel set in Philadelphia in the late 1800’s. It is the story of Caroline Martin, an innocent and beautiful young woman who leaves her family home and heads for Philadelphia to live with her uncle and cousin following the death of her father. After many years of caring for her ill father and struggling to survive, Caroline’s life takes a turn for the better. She meets a handsome, virtuous, and wealthy man whose love is better than she ever ima ...more
Jan 16, 2016 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are Catholic and like both romance and historical fiction, this is a book you will enjoy. It gives quite a bit of Catholic teaching and the meaning behind those teachings especially in regards to love, sex and marriage. The romance is believable without being graphic or leaving everything up to the reader's imagination. The plot line had a lot of twists and turns to keep the reader interested. The main characters of the story, Caroline and David are well developed, especially David. Often ...more
May 30, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
This story, set in the post Civil War years of Philadelphia, involves a young Irish woman, Caroline, who was raised by her widowed father. When her father dies Caroline is sent from Boston to Philadelphia to live with her wealthy uncle and his daughter. She soon meets the brothers who are her uncle's neighbors. The brothers could be thought of as the good brother and the bad brother. The story tells of the relationships that develop between Caroline and the brothers. There is a great deal of tra ...more
Jun 29, 2012 Tanya rated it it was ok
This is a book that I really wanted to like more. Unfortunately I have a hard time with the stilted writing style. It seems so much more passive than active that I never felt like I was living the life of the characters. David seems to be the more rounded of all the characters. Not being a member of the Catholic faith I can't comment on any of the religious doctrine in the story particularly as it relates to time period.
The story has great potential to be epic in nature but I find it flies throu
Jun 21, 2012 Melissa rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. Unfortunately, it felt like a secular novel with catholic proselytizing thrown in for sport. The characters weren't developed very well. I had a hard time caring what happened to them and the two main "loving" relationships in the book weren't believable. The romance wasn't shown being developed. The characters just said they loved each other. I didn't believe it.

I think the author was trying to throw too much story into the book. The skipping through time quic
Apr 08, 2013 Mercedes rated it liked it
I don't normally read religious fiction mostly because I find most of them quite dry but I do love a good historical fiction particularly from the time period that this one is set in. I did find the propriety and upper/lower class discussions in the beginning of the book kind of boring I will admit but the fact that the main character hated her corset was slightly entertaining. As a Catholic myself I was expecting more of that in the book when it really doesn't come until the second half of the ...more
Dec 01, 2014 Sara rated it liked it
3.5 stars This is my first BookBub free book and I really enjoyed it. It reminds me of a book I read very recently (Redeeming Love) because it deals with personal moral struggle, trusting God and forgiveness. It's the story of Caroline Martin, a young woman in the late 1800's who has suffered the early death of her mother and then her father. She is sent to live with her uncle in Pennsylvania and meets the O'Donovan brothers. She marries one of them and despises the other. The story continues fr ...more
If you love a good romance, you’ll find yourself swept up in this one. I found the story really gorgeous and very unexpected in the way it unfolded, for me it ticked all the boxes for a highly entertaining read. But while it’s true that Ellen has written a gripping and unpredictable plot with thoroughly believable and endearing characters, this isn’t all the magic of the story. Yes, it is the story of a great love between two people, but at a deeper level it is also about the great and enduring ...more
May 04, 2012 KareB rated it really liked it
It took awhile for me to get used to the dialogue of this book. The characters took pride and care in their language, their appearance, their actions. This is a big contrast to the world of today. We live today focused on the bad and negative of the world; giving into tempation and immorality as "times are different". This story did a wonderful job demonstrating that, yes tempatation is out there but we do have the ability to withstand giving into "desire". I enjoyed this story. I don't think it ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please Create New Series (O'Donovan Family) 3 15 Feb 16, 2015 07:12AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: In Name Only by Ellen Gable 2 12 Jan 14, 2015 08:58AM  
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Ellen Gable (Hrkach) is an award-winning, bestselling author of six (soon-to-be seven) books, contributor to ten books, and publisher/editor of numerous other books. All four of her novels have been #1 on Amazon Kindle's Religious Drama category and three have been #1 in Religious Fiction. Her novel, Stealing Jenny, is a contemporary suspense novel that spent two years in the top ten of Religious ...more
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Other Books in the Series

O’Donovan Family (2 books)
  • A Subtle Grace (O'Donovan Family)

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