Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Subtle Grace by Ellen Gable

Award-winning author Ellen Gable has produced a stunning stand-alone sequel to In Name Only (Full Quiver Publishing, 2009).  A Subtle Grace is a historical romance, set at the turn of the 20th century.  Gable spins a compelling story of the O’Donovan Family, a wealthy and morally upright, yet down-to-earth Catholic family.  The novel is engaging, with a moving plot, while also exploring sensitive issues of courtship, chastity, family secrets, healing, and forgiveness.

The O’Donovans encourage their 19-year-old daughter Kathleen to pursue a nursing career, while carefully guiding her through her first experience with courtship.  Kathleen feels drawn to Karl, the charming son of the local police chief, while also developing a working friendship with Luke, the new family physician.   Her older brother William feels called to become a priest, while her younger brother John struggles with maintaining his chastity.

Gable makes wonderful use of symbolism, through the artwork carefully selected for her cover, descriptive scenery, and mentions of classic literary works that give subtle hints at where the plot may be going.  Yet she escapes predictability, and the story kept me wanting to read more.  The end is both surprising and satisfying.

This book is appropriate for reading by older teens.  Content includes non-graphic descriptions of mild violence, birth, death, prostitution, and attempted rape, and vague hints at self-gratification.  These issues are explored honestly but gently, and open the doors for fruitful parent-child conversations on the Theology of the Body.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Instilling the Virtue of Modesty in Children

I am writing a two-part column for Celebrate Life on instilling the virtue of modesty in children.  I have so much to say on the subject, I wish I was not limited to 500 words per column!  The first part, which appears in the Jan./Feb. issue, deals with matters of dress.  My article focuses on the principles of modesty in dress rather than on specific dress codes - which many Christians disagree widely on.  You can read it here.  The second part, scheduled for the March/April issue, will be a great deal of fun to write, although I could use 5,000 words rather than 500 - it deals with behavioral aspects of modesty. [update: Part II can be viewed here]

The picture above was taken after last January's snowstorm.  Pictured is my youngest daughter, then age 6, and our dog Honey.  That storm weighed down the branches of my trees so much that they broke and I had to have them trimmed.  My backyard pictures will never be as picturesque without those snow covered boughs.  We just had another ten-inch snowfall last night, but it looks nothing like this one.