Another Great Review for In Name Only

“Searching for a page-turning historical Catholic novel? “In Name Only” by Ellen Gable is one book you won’t want to put down until you finally reach its satisfying conclusion.”

To read the rest, click on the link:

Thank you, Anne, for the wonderful review!

Interview with Christopher Blunt

Here is the link to my interview with Christopher Blunt, author of Passport:

“We usually think of a passport as something needed to cross an international border. In his homily at our wedding, the priest analogized marriage as being a “passport” to heaven. My passport is named Micki. My wife’s passport is named Chris. His point was that marriage is a school of self-giving, and of learning to sacrifice oneself for the members of one’s family. That process transforms a person into one who is capable of crossing the border into heaven at the end of his or her life. It took me many years to appreciate the truth of this analogy, and it is the biggest thing that Stan must learn as he grapples to reset the course of his life.”

With thanks to Christopher Blunt for the “amazing” interview.

Copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Passport by Christopher Blunt

Because I want to promote Catholic fiction, I’m re-posting my review of Christopher Blunt’s book Passport. I originally wrote this review back in 2008 for the Catholic Fire website. Passport is an extraordinarily fine book with an important message of self-sacrificial love.

by Christopher Blunt
Pelican Crossing Press, 404 pages
Review by Ellen Gable Hrkach

From the back cover of Passport: “Stan Eigenbauer leads a comfortable life with his dog, season tickets to the Cubs, and a garage full of vintage hobby cars. When he meets a lovely young woman, he thinks he’s found the one thing that was missing: a passport to “heaven on earth.” But when a serious lapse in judgment changes everything, Stan must choose between the woman who loves him and the people who need him.”

Passport is the debut novel of author Christopher Blunt, who describes his book as a “coming-of-age story about a young Catholic man’s discovery of self-sacrificial love.”

At the beginning of the novel, we meet Stan, a likeable fellow but one who pretty much blends into the background. Stan is an average guy who is trying to live out his Catholic faith but who has not yet found a lifetime mate. Soon thereafter, Stan finds himself in the difficult and agonizing position of being torn between two women: one he cannot marry (but who needs him) and one who would be the ideal Catholic wife. Throughout the rest of the novel, we journey with Stan as he struggles to make choices, most of which, though painful for him, are selfless and moral.

Passport illustrates the growth of a man who strives to do the right thing, and shows that the struggle to live chastity does not end with marriage; it is simply lived out in a different way. Stan eventually comes to the realization that only in dying to ourselves can we truly love others and find meaningful happiness. It was a joy to read such an uplifting story in this day and age where self-centeredness is the norm.

I most strongly recommend Passport to Catholics in their twenties and thirties, although all people would find the story interesting. There are some romantic elements in the book but this is decidedly not a romance novel in any traditional sense. As a woman, I enjoyed reading a story from a man’s perspective, especially the inner workings of a man’s mind regarding chastity and natural family planning. The author does an excellent job of incorporating teachings on both the indissolubility of marriage and natural family planning without being preachy.

I would highly recommend Passport as it is easy to read, well-written and the characters are rich and well-developed. Blunt’s portrayal of family life is especially real, down to earth and believable.

Here’s the link to buy the book on the Amazon store at Amazing Catechists:

Cross posted at Catholic Fire, May 2008
Copyright 2008/2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Interesting article on the 50th anniversary of the pill

Interesting article by Geoffrey Botkin on the 50th anniversary of the pill called “How the pill led to societal infantilism”

“This year, as the birth-control pill turns 50, America is discovering a lethal side effect. It’s called moral stupefaction. The pill has made an entire generation of adult Americans progressively more stupidly infantile. One half-century of a fatal, anti-baby culture is killing us. There is a culture-wide inability to think intelligently about what we have done to ourselves.”

Cards, cartoons and calendars

Twenty years ago, when our two oldest sons were toddlers, James and I began a family tradition of creating Christmas cards based on caricatures of ourselves and our children. Over the years, we have enjoyed creating these cards together, sometimes using our sons’ talents as well.

Four years ago, the editor of Family Foundations magazine asked if we would consider creating a cartoon for the magazine. We agreed and “Family Life,” which is what the managing editor of the magazine named the cartoon, was born. A sample of one of our cartoons is below.

The process of creating a cartoon works like this: I spend about two weeks coming up with ideas related to the issue’s themes. Usually, I have at least three ideas and/or sketches to present to him. He then improves the idea and draws the cartoon.

Last year, we created calendars which display 12 of the cartoons. They’re cool calendars and great coloring books for the little ones.

There is a special “half-price” sale on calendars for those who read this blog. The calendars are normally $10, but you can purchase one for $5.00 until the end of January. Just send me an email at, put “Calendar” in the subject line and include your name and address and I’ll mail you a calendar (limit one calendar per family).

Copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach

Centennial Exhibition

In one of the early chapters of my second novel (In Name Only), the characters visit the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. I used four different references for writing this chapter, but I found the following website to be the most useful resource with all kinds of interesting information regarding the Exhibition. Most intriguing were the many original photographs which were scanned and digitized. Take a moment to browse through this fascinating website.

Copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach