Thursday, August 2, 2012

Review: With a Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo

Ollie Love is the oldest of five daughters. Their father is Everlasting Love, a traveling preacher. The family usually only stays for three days in any one area, and each member of the family contributes to the service.

Ollie doesn't love the lifestyle and often wishes that they could settle down and stay in one place in order to enjoy modern conveniences like flushing toilets and refrigeration. When they stop in one town, however, she meets a boy and her heart is immediately filled with compassion for him. His mother has been accused of killing his father and the town has shunned him. Ollie feels a heavy burden and convinces her father that they should stay a little while longer so that they can help him.

I thought this book was utterly charming! There are a lot of things I really appreciated about it, I loved the family dynamics--Ollie's family really loves each other even though they have their disagreements, she doesn't get along well with her sister Martha for example. And while Martha is mostly opposed to Ollie thoughout the book, Hilmo carves a space for readers to see she is also a compassionate young girl. I liked that the Loves really tried to work out the things they believed in practical ways in their lives. I love that Ollie's father takes her seriously and doesn't belittle or condescend to her own sense of burden and compassion, but rather that he comes alongside her and helps her.

There's even a little feminism going on, one of the daughters loves studying the word and longs to preach, but doesn't feel like she can because she's a girl. I think that actually happened/happens a lot in ministry families and it was a nice little subthread in this book.

So the story is kind of a mystery, but also just a story of family and friendship. It's full of so much heart and tenderness and is just really really lovely. Oh and there's stuff about the beauty of music that is just wonderful, too. The characters are all really fabulous. A very warm and nice middle grade book.


Rating: 4.25/5
Source of Book: ARC received from publisher
Publisher: FSG


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