Monday, August 29, 2011

Review of “Stealing Jenny”: A Novel by Ellen Gable

I have reviewed Ellen Gable’s first two novels “Emily’s Hope” and “In Name Only” on this blog, and have eagerly awaited her third novel. Ellen is a pro-life writer who writes in an engaging manner, with keen personal insight and always a hopeful and pro-life message.

After enduring three miscarriages, Jenny is expecting her sixth child. Denise is her neighbor, who secretly envies Jenny her ability to pro-create and watches her and her children from across the street. She is plotting to kidnap Jenny and steal her baby.

Unknown to Denise, Jenny has a complication that requires a caesarian section. Although the title gives away the main event of the novel, the reader is kept in suspense, as the well-being of Jenny and her baby are held in the balance.

At home, Tom takes care of his five children, praying and hoping that Jenny will be found and returned before she goes into labor. Kathy is the police detective who follows the scanty clues to try to find her whereabouts.

“Stealing Jenny” departs from the Ellen’s previous novels in style in that it is modern, without historic elements, and more of a thriller in its genre, with out-of- the ordinary events happening to the heroine. However, the undercurrents of faith, hope, and marital love present in the first two novels are the same here.

The self-analysis that the characters go through in her first two novels is also a big part of the book. Ellen writes in the omniscient third person, bringing the reader into the thoughts of each of her main characters. At times, the characters reminisce, letting us know what has happened in the past to cause them to act or think the way they do in the present. Ellen does this skillfully and seamlessly.

Why anyone would be so ignorant and blatantly disregarding of human life to try such a scheme, Ellen explains by giving Denise’s history. Ellen’s attitude toward the protagonist is a Christian one, hating the action but showing sympathy toward the sinner.

Any woman who has ever really wanted to conceive; any woman who has been through a miscarriage; and any woman who has been through a difficult pregnancy, will sympathize with Jenny, even before she gets kidnapped. Her condition adds a heightened dimension to the plot of a kidnapping.

I would recommend this to anyone who likes suspenseful novels. If you are going to give this to a teenager, you should read it first. The book deals with such topics as premarital sex, abortion, and labor in an unusual situation. The moral viewpoint is Catholic and pro-life.

“Stealing Jenny” will be available from Full Quiver Publishing and on September 15, 2011.

Look for my review of “Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship”, edited by Ellen Gable, in the coming weeks.

For more information about the author Ellen Gable and her books:
Editor, Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship
Author, "Emily's Hope" (Honorable Mention 2006 IPPY Awards)
Author, "In Name Only" (Gold Medal winner 2010 IPPY Awards)

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