With a Name Like Love tells the story of Ollie Love as she and her family stop in the little town of Binder. The Loves family will stay in Binder for a few days while her father spreads the word. Her family has gone from town to town, never staying past 3 days, for longer than Ollie cares to remember. But right now, in Binder, Ollie is ready to settle down.
When Ollie tells her dad that the family needs to stay in Binder, even past their 3 days, to help Jimmy Koppel, he agrees. But neither Jimmy, nor the town of Binder, want help from the Loves.
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The Story Behind the Story
Growing up, I’d often hear stories of my mother’s family. They were Quakers from North Carolina and kept fairly detailed records that had been passed down for generations. One member of this line, my Great Uncle Will, broke away from his Quaker roots and decided to become an itinerant preacher. He married a woman named Bertha and took to the road. They had a total of seven children as they went from town to town, state to state. He never affiliated himself with one religious sect over another, preferring instead to do good works and share a general message of kindness.
Great Uncle Will, the itinerant preacher with his sister (my grandmother) Gertie.
While the father in With a Name Like Love, Reverend Everlasting Love, was not directly based on my Great Uncle Will, the concept of his lifestyle was. Bertha Dixon kept journals that she eventually printed into a book. I was able to read about the ways of a travelling preacher—about how they raised their children and about the people they met as they moved around the country.
I recall a specific moment when I first began writing this novel. I asked myself, “Who will this preacher-man be?” I considered writing him as a bit of a louse or perhaps a philanderer to add an element of conflict to the novel. The moment that question entered my mind, this thought came so clearly:
That is not who I am.
|Jenni Howell Photography|
At that point, I knew I had to write Reverend Love as most itinerant preachers really were—hardworking, kind and devoted to their families.
No matter how ordinary your appearance or how meager your circumstances, you can be an influence for good. Both my Great Uncle Will and his literary companion, Reverend Everlasting Love, exemplify this truth.
With A Name Like Love Book Trailer
Tess Hilmo arranged this beautiful song to give us a glimpse into Binder, The Loves and Jimmy Koppel.
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