D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review


The Spirit of Want provides the story of a lovely lawyer who falls in love with an unlikely prospect: a client accused of rape. As Lucy’s involvement with this “bad boy” causes her to lose her license, her family, and her mind, she follows him on his flight from justice to Africa; there to learn that sometimes one can go home again – only in a different way.

The first thing to note is a similar comment to some other stories of William H. Coles: it should be forewarned that this is not a linear, staid story, but keeps its readers challenged through a host of characters and situations that keep the tale fast-paced and moving. It’ll be easy to become lost if attention is not paid to the details Coles crafts in both introducing and connecting his characters; but those who appreciate changing perspectives and subplots will relish the depth that these facets bring to the overall bigger picture in The Spirit of Want.

Another thing to realize is that this story of a savvy professional woman’s downfall is not an impossible fiction, but a hard-hitting story based on what too often happens to otherwise-smart females who find themselves falling for an obvious bad influence.

As Coles crafts the kinds of rationales and experiences that follow Lucy from success to failure and everything in between, readers are treated to a chronicle that leads in some unforeseen directions. While this process may seem multi-faceted and even confusing at first, ultimately it succeeds in portraying a woman who falls in love with a man who is either a fraud or a savior, depending on perspective. As Lucy comes to question her lover’s self-perceptions of his worth (“She sensed the pulse of anger in him. “I helped more than I didn’t.”), she begins to locate the path towards her own realizations and the truths about her choices – and so does a man who circles in her orbit, Luke, who is involved with Lucy’s sister Elizabeth.

As the story becomes more about Luke than Lucy’s choices, it takes some completely unexpected turns with a story line that will especially satisfy fiction readers looking for something refreshingly different.