Review by Sfranco1 -- The Spirit of Want

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Latest Review: The Spirit of Want by William H. Coles

Review by Sfranco1 -- The Spirit of Want

Post by Sfranco1 »

[Following is a volunteer review of "The Spirit of Want" by William H. Coles.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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In The Spirit of Want, William H. Coles introduces us to Lucy MacMiel, a beautiful, successful, but emotionally distant attorney. This is the story of how Lucy's choices affect not only herself, but those of the people around her, including her husband, daughter, parents, and sister. We also see how she is shaped by a hard-set belief that she does not belong within her own family.

The book takes place over approximately 15 years in Georgia, Ghana (Africa), and California. We follow Lucy as she goes from being a successful attorney to being disgraced. She has a marriage, which she orchestrated, to a great man who would do anything for her, but loves another man who is bad for her. Her parents give her everything, but nothing at the same time. Her sister, although initially hesitant, tries to be supportive, only to be pushed away. Intelligent, strong, and proud, Lucy makes poor choices, all because she follows what her heart wants and gives in to the belief that she does not belong with her family.

I really enjoyed this book. Lucy is a complicated, but very human, character. She is both ruthless and vulnerable. She makes poor choices, and the reader will root for her while also being angry with her. William H. Coles develops Lucy perfectly. He shows how she can both reject and desire love. He shows us her insecurities and how she manages them -- sometimes in disastrous ways. We see how she is a strong, beautiful, and intelligent woman, yet she is fallible to her heart's wants, as irrational as they may be.

I also enjoyed the development of the secondary characters. We see how they are affected by Lucy and her choices and how they react and change because of her. Their development is such that the reader will feel their pain and frustration. The reader learns of a family secret, withheld from Lucy, that could possibly change Lucy's outlook on her belief that she does not belong. The reader will also feel conflict: was it fair to react this way towards Lucy? Were they too harsh? Too lenient? Or were they justified? Was Lucy truly never a part of her family or did she create that situation with her behavior?

This book shows how complicated human emotions are, leading to complicated relationships. It shows how wanting something is not always rational. The book also delves into the secondary characters' relationships with each other. The reader sees them evolve, as they find ways to deal with Lucy. It shows the ripple effect one person can have in other peoples' lives.

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The chapters are short and therefore easy to navigate. Character development is good, honest, and raw. Some passages seem to go off tangent and it is not obvious how they relate to the overall story. I found myself hoping that Lucy would find happiness and peace, even though she created her misfortune. I think other readers will feel the same.There is little action or adventure in this book, so it would not appeal to readers that prefer that. Readers that like tidy endings where loose strings are tied up might find this book frustrating.

I recommend this book to readers who like complicated, well developed characters and who like books about the realities and consequences that come from making difficult and sometimes poor choices.

The Spirit of Want
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Erin Painter Baker
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Post by Erin Painter Baker »

While this does not sound like a book I would pick up on my own, your review makes it sound like I would find the material engaging if I did find myself reading it.
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Post by Nisha Ward »

Lucy's situation is harsh but that it can be recognised how humanity in a person complicates things is a compliment to the author. I would be interested in finding out how ghis leads her to Ghana, though. Thanks for the review!
"...while a book has got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the reader it's got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the writer as well." - Terry Pratchett on The Last Continent and his writing.
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