In The Spirit of Want by William H. Coles, a TV evangelist and leader of a church needs the best defense lawyer to get him off a charge of sexually abusing a girl. Lucy MacMeil gets the job. As one of the top lawyers for her firm and a woman, she is the best lawyer to defend the evangelist’s innocence. Then they lose the case and Bain escapes to Africa while waiting for an appeal. But Lucy has already fallen in love with the charismatic and handsome man of God during the trial and she abandons Luke Osbourne, her husband, a surgeon, her family, and friends, and follows her lover to Africa. But is Bain who he claims to be? The revelations are shocking and when she decides to come back home, she discovers no one wants her. She moves to California and accepts a job as advisor to a woman running for Congress, but the job ends badly with Lucy getting fired after a failed campaign. Can Lucy rebuild her life and win back the trust of her family and the husband she abandoned in search of romance?
William H. Coles’ work is filled with drama and from the witty and exceptional conversations between the characters, and the courtroom drama, the reader gets a wonderful array of situations that are exciting and filled with entertainment. The characters are deftly handled and written with emotional and psychological depth. We follow a woman who makes emotional choices that cost her the respect of her family and everyone she holds dear. Bain is a sleazy character who reflects the hypocrisy seen in many contemporary churchmen. While The Spirit of Want is dramatically engaging and a fine literary piece, it castigates the hypocrisy of modern evangelists who are more concerned about their personal pleasure and the wealth they build than spreading the word of God. Themes of family, marriage, hypocrisy, sexual abuse and the quest for personal fulfillment are skillfully developed throughout the story. One of the best novels I have read with family drama and legal underpinnings.