Book Review: A Subtle Grace by Ellen Gable

Award winning Ellen Gable’s new novel A Subtle Grace is an intriguing historical romance with a plot that hooks you from the very beginning. It’s a fast-paced suspense novel about the O’Donovan family – an established, well-respected, but unconventional Catholic family—who live in Philadelphia in 1896.

The main character is the beautiful 19-year-old Kathleen, a nursing student, who fears becoming an old maid and prays to St. Agnes for a sweetheart. She eventually falls in love with the charming son (Karl) of the local police chief.  Is Karl the man she is meant to marry? She seems convinced but her family has their misgivings.  Dr. Luke, the family’s new physician enters the picture. He is a kind, gentle man who is enamored with her. However, through an unexpected turn of events, a dark shadow is cast down upon her dreams.

Not only is Kathleen’s romance story appealing, but all the subplots and themes keep the reader captivated with the story. Kathleen's younger brother, William, believes he is being called to the religious life, while another brother wrestles with chastity, and the father needs forgiveness for a buried secret from his past.

In A Subtle Grace, Gable shows us through her characters, what happens when an individual lives his/her life based on principles rather than on passions. She clearly conveys the differences between love as a feeling vs. love as a choice, illustrating the consequences of each. Themes of redemption, forgiveness, discerning one’s vocation, healing, hope, and joy, all contribute to make this a story that tugs at the heart.

A sequel to In Name Only, A Subtle Grace works well as an independent, stand-alone novel. You will definitely want to read both. Here is my review of In Name Only.

A Subtle Grace is excellent read for historical romance fans. Those who enjoy Christian romance and suspense novels will find this story particularly enjoyable. This is a winner!

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