Friday 26 January 2018

Stealing Jenny - Ellen Gable

Stealing Jenny
Ellen Gable
Full Quiver Publishing
ISBN 9780973673623


This is the second book by Ellen Gable that I have read in the last year it is also the fourth by Full Quiver Publishing. Full Quiver Publishing has a tag line of their website of "Theology of the Body Fiction", and after reading these four books published by them I greatly appreciate that goal. This book was definitely a page turner. I could hardly put this book down. This may have only been the second book by Ellen that I have read but it will not be the last!

I am having a hard time classifying this novel. It is part crime fiction and police procedural. It is part Christian fiction as it revolves around a family of great faith going through a very hard time. I would put it in the genre of realistic fiction. Much Like Madeleine L'Engle's Austin Family chronicles. In fact, this book could be a sort of next generation for some of those books. It sort of feels like reading about Vicki Austin's children or grandchildren. 

As a husband, as a father it was hard to read this story. The description of the book is: "After three heartbreaking miscarriages, Tom and Jenny Callahan are happily anticipating the birth of their sixth child. A neighbor, however, is secretly hatching a sinister plot which will find Jenny and her unborn baby fighting for their lives.". It is a very intense read. The story is told from the perspective of a number of characters. Jenny Callagan a young mother expecting her 6th child, and very excited after three miscarriages. Her husband, Tom. Denise Kramer a divorcee who cannot conceive a child on her own. Sargent Romano of the Ontario provincial police. But the story is not linear, each of the main characters remembers back, to earlier times in their lives. To some of the events and situations that have brought them to this time. Some of those memories are good, and some not so good. Each of the characters have made mistakes, and most have learned from them. 

As can be guessed by the title and description Jenny is kidnapped just days before a planned C-section because of complications in her pregnancy. The play moves at a quick pace, and even with the 'flash back' moments the story proceeds well. The main story takes place over a few days. But the flashbacks encompass almost two decades of time. The main story is set just outside Ottawa, and some of the flashbacks are to Tom's time in Kingston, while at Queen's University. Having grown up in Kingston, and spent a lot of time in Ottawa playing sports, it was so easy to picture the settings and places in this story. But that also made the story hard thinking about my family, my friends, or my own mistakes when I was younger.

The story has a decidedly Christian feel, and Tom and Jenny are Catholic and faith is very important to them. The parish priest makes a few appearances, and there is mention of mass and continual adoration taking place until Jenny is found. There are memories of bullying in high school. And there is also premarital sex, talk about abortion, and for one character an actual abortion. There is a lot in this book that would make for great discussion material with older teens and young adults. Or it can be read as a crime thriller by just about anyone who enjoys the genre.    

This book was an excellent read. It was hard to put down. It draws attention to many real life issues. And it places them in a frame work that will make you think. I am glad I gave this book a read and think you will be if you give it a go! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Ellen Gable:

O'Donovan Family Series:
On Name Only
A Subtle Grace


Great War Great Love Series:
Julia's Gifts
Charlotte's Honor

Ella's Promise

Other Books:
Emily's Hope
Stealing Jenny


Contributed to:

Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship

Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary
Image and Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body

Ashes Visible & Invisible 10 Stories for Teens

Reviews of other books from Full Quiver Publishing:
Dying for Compassion - Barbara Golder
Dying for Revenge - Barbara Golder

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