Beth Moran Gets Better and Better
All Faith Harp wants is a quiet life – to take care of her troubled brother, Sam, earn enough money to stop the wolves snapping at her heels, and to keep her past buried as deep as possible. And after years of upheaval, she might have just about managed it: she’s engaged to the gorgeous and successful Perry is holding down a job, and Sam’s latest treatment seems to actually be working this time.
But, for Faith, things never seem to stay simple for long. Her domineering mother-in-law-to-be is planning a nightmare wedding, including the wedding dress from hell. And the man who killed her mother is released from prison, sending her brother tumbling back into mental illness.
When secretly planning the wedding she really wants, Faith stumbles across a church choir that challenges far more than her ability to hold a tune. She ends up joining the choir, led by the fierce choir-mistress, Hester, who is determined to do whatever it takes to turn the motley crew of women into something spectacular. She also meets Dylan, the church’s vicar, who is different to any man she has ever met before.
Beth Moran is an English Christian author. The Name I Call Myself is her third novel, following Making Marion and I Hope You Dance. If you’ve read either of those and didn’t like them for any reason, then I doubt you’ll enjoy The Name I Call Myself, so you can skip this review. But if you liked them or haven’t read them, read on.
I will admit I found The Name I Call Myself a little difficult to get in to. It had a lot of similarities to her previous novels, in that it centres around a young woman discovering her true self. This isn’t helped by some early scenes which reminded me of Bridget Jones at her least intelligent. Faith isn’t an easy character to get to know (even though the book is written in first person). But once we get past the awkwardness that is Faith’s engagement party, the novel really picked up both pace and interest.
Faith is a complex character.
She was raised by her grandmother (now dead) and her older brother, Sam, after their mother was murdered by her partner … as Sam watched. That experience drove the teenage Sam down a trail of alcohol, drugs and mental illness. And he’s never recovered. It left Faith with … well, ‘issues’ almost begins to describe it. She is a very private person, and it takes a long time before I understood enough of her history to really understand the reason she didn’t share a lot.
The Name I Call Myself is about Faith’s relationships. Her with relationship with Perry, her fiance. Her relationship with her brother and his new girlfriend. And her non-relationship with her future mother-in-law (who takes controlling passive-aggressive to new levels). Then there is her relationship with the Grace choir, including Hester the bully conductor. And her almost-relationship with Dylan, the pastor. It’s in her relationships with these supporting characters that we get to know the real Faith …
The Faith perhaps not even Faith knows.
Yes, there are touches of romance, of comedy and of suspense. But The Name I Call Myself is really about Faith’s search for love, acceptance and identity, a search many of us can relate to.
Recommended for fans of contemporary Christian fiction with an edge.
Thanks to Lion Fiction and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.