No Other Name
by Robert Beatty

"The future and the life Samuel wanted was just a short distance away over the horizon."

Samuel Martin is a farm boy willingly bound to tradition. At the cusp of adulthood in 1913, he has no desire but to marry and continue his life on the remote Ohio farm where he grew up. His biggest obstacle is that the girl of his dreams is not among the plain young women of his rural community. On the night of his high school graduation dance, Sam and his best friend celebrate by sneaking off to lose their virginity in a brothel located outside the town limits. There, a lusty, enigmatic teenage prostitute captures both his eye and his heart. Clarinda's childhood abuse has propelled her to this unconventional living arrangement that grants her financial independence and a determined detachment from any inclination to love. She refuses to share her real identity with anyone. Even faithful Samuel, obsessed with making her his wife, cannot reach into her past. Instead, his longing propels him into a hard-edged, lonely future distant from the homegrown ideals he holds dear.

Beatty has a lyrical way with words. Readers will discover a superbly rendered historical family drama that encompasses themes of lost love, lost souls, lost lives, and the torment of finding transcendence and reconciliation far from home. The characters have some expected traits but are endowed with more complexity than is usual in similar tales of abused women and their rescuers. Samuel emerges as a real man, forged in the fire of his enduring love of home and family. Though his goal to include Clarinda in his life is unreachable, he never falters from the task nor blames the girl for the life-shattering consequences he sets in motion. Only a deeply engaged writer serious about his craft can create such a compelling fictive reality and memorable characters. Readers will hope to see more novels from this author.

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