The Spirit of Want


Lucy MacMiel is a successful trial lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia, married, who falls in love with a client accused of sexual assault on a girl. He is a famous and powerful faith-healing evangelist whose charm, dominance, and virility captivate her. Her lust pulls her away from family and career and she follows her lover to Africa where she discovers secrets that force her to leave him and try to regain her life in the US. But her recovery of career, family, and friends is fraught with rejection when she cannot suppress her desire for the evangelist, the only man she’ll ever love, and she must again face decisions she knows in her heart if wrongly chosen may bring disastrous results.
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8 reviews for The Spirit of Want

  1. Anonymous

    The year is 1984. Widower, Dr. Luke Osborn works as an eye doctor specializing in retinal surgery for the new Eye Institute. For a new doctor it is a privilege to be apart of mingling with the ultra-rich whose generous donations created this new facility, but Luke feels that he does not belong. He has never possessed that much money or lived twitch extravagance.

    This new institute is A. J. MacNeil’s dream project as the institute’s leader. Naturally at this event, his wife, Agnes as well as his grown daughters, Lucy and Elizabeth astute do. Strangely the two daughters are very different. Lucy is a lawyer who is dark, slim, drunk, and angry. Contrastly, Elizabeth, a teacher, is fair colored, a little overweight, sober, and pleasant.

    One of his first conversations with Lucy had her complaining about eye surgery, “It’s not just mistakes that piss me off, it’s the coverups.” Would you want to converse with her if you operated on eyes?

    At the party, Luke is offered the position of being the director of clinical research. He is hesitant with accepting this position since he views himself as a surgeon, not an administrator.

    As he leaves the party, Luke does have a shock. His vehicle is stripped. Tires, wheels, bumpers, mirrors, and radio are all missing. How will he get to his home which is two and a half hours away?

    Lucy agrees to drive him home. She is somewhat drunk and drives her expensive sports car erratically and way too fast. They swerve to miss a dog, hit a bump and colliding with a tree. Luke and Lucy looked for whatever caused the bump, but do not find anything.

    The next day, a woman’s body is found. She happens to be a judge’s wife. Since she died of blunt trauma. Since the police were not called, the logical conclusion is than Lucy was likely drunk and is being charged with vehicular manslaughter.

    Lucy needs Luke to convince the grand jury that she was not intoxicated as she drove to Luke’s. This is how their relationship begins and quickly evolves into the two being married privately be a justice of the peace. Did she marry him for love or to control his testimony? Or is Luke marrying the boss’s daughter for his career advancement?

    Luke comes from a family where his father was domineering, his mother was passive and he has five siblings. He is a little skeptical in beginning this relationship since his first wife killed herself. However, he allows Lucy to quickly take the lead in their marriage.

    As a lawyer, Lucy is placed on a case of defending a television evangelist of the Apostolic Church of Christ accused of rape of a minor. Hower Bain is on video surveillance of being alone with the girl. How can anyone defend him?

    Hower is separated from his wife, son, and daughter. He states that this is because of their faith differences. Could it be that he is unfaithful? This case requires Lucy to travel and to spend much time away from Luke.

    Lucy does become pregnant and gives birth to Jennifer prematurely, weighing less than three pounds. With two highly regarded professional careers, they decide to hire a nanny to care for their daughter.

    However, taking care of Hower Bain seems to be more of a time commitment than a newborn. He is demanding, rebellious, establishing his own rules that are not helpful, such as against his lawyer’s advice, giving a five minute television interview. Or is more going on with her commitment to the case?

    Luke has his own challenges. Sandra Perez has been dismissed as a fellow. Luke’s colleague, Modesto Sanchez, had been ordered to give her a poor evaluation. Apparently, Sandra had witnessed Luke’s father-in-law, A.J. causing harm to a patient, completely blinding him, by performing surgery on the wrong eye. He believes Sandra. How does anyone confront his boss and father-in-law who demands loyalty, even if he is in the wrong?

    The Spirit of Want is an event-driven account of Lucy and Luke. The pace is extremely fast with the book covering several years. A hidden gem within the story is the artwork reflecting the story created by Betty Harper.

    Do some people use others only as long as they receive benefit from the relationship? How do you go on whether you are the giver or the taker? Or could each of us be both at the same time or does it depend on each relationship?

    As a former ophthalmic surgeon, he understands his topic. This resident of Salt Lake City, Utah has won numerous awards and nominations in the Sandhill Writers Competition, The SEAK Competition, The William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, and The Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction.
    Read The Spirit of Want for the answers.

  2. Rabia Tanveer

    The Spirit of Want by William H. Coles is the story of a woman who is successful yet, when a man comes into her life, she loses it all. This is the story of Lucy MacMeil, the daughter of a successful doctor and the wife of an equally successful surgeon. Lucy is a defense lawyer by profession and she really enjoys her job. However, her life is changed completely and for the worse when she takes up the case of a TV evangelist who is accused of raping a girl. When she takes up his case, she had no idea that she would fall in love with this man.

    She tries her best at saving him, but the case against him is too strong and he loses. Seeing that he has no way out, the evangelist runs away to Africa and Lucy leaves everything behind, including her husband and a very young infant, and goes after him. She left everything for him, but when Lucy reaches him, he tells her to go back. Shocked, dismayed and terrified, Lucy has no idea what she will do. Can she go back and try to salvage her marriage? Or will she stay back in Africa and hope that the man she loves will accept her?

    This novel was hard to read, not because it was written badly, but because of how real it felt. Lucy’s emotions were raw and real and you could feel them in your heart and in your soul. William H. Coles described emotions so well and that gave depth to the characters. Sometimes this novel was so heart wrenching that I had to stop for a few moments. The Spirit of Want is definitely a novel I really appreciated because it made my inner literature lover very happy! Fantastic, simply fantastic! I am lost for words.

  3. Arya Fomonyuy

    The Spirit of Want by William H. Coles is a powerful story that is emotionally charged and intense, a tale with psychological depth and emotional insight. When Lucy MacMeil accepts the sleazy TV evangelist accused of rape as a client, she couldn’t imagine that this case would rock her entire world, including her profession and marriage. While working the case, the defense lawyer falls for the evangelist, but he loses the case and runs away to Africa. Unable to live without him, Lucy follows the man, abandoning her husband and family, but she is confronted with dreadful truths about the so-called man of God that will test everything she knew about him. Shaken, she packs her stuff and returns home to her husband and family. But things aren’t going to be the same for her anymore. She has to face shame, and the loss of her job and reputation. Read on to see how far desire can drive the human heart.
    Here is a book that many readers will relate to, a story that plays out very often in real life. Reverend Bain is a character I don’t want to meet in real life; he seems to exude a deep-seated duplicity and a charm that overrides it, especially to gullible women. I loved him as a character and the way he is developed throughout the story. Lucy is another compelling character and one could say she is a case the author uses to explore the depth of human desire. William H. Coles creates a powerful plot, punctuated with intense and emotionally charged episodes. The writing leaps off the pages with elegance and the dialogues are intelligent, natural, and utterly entertaining. The Spirit of Want was an exciting read for me, another brilliant and realistic story from a gifted writer.

  4. Romuald Dzemo

    A character-driven story, The Spirit of Want by William H. Coles explores the thrills and perils of desire, following one woman’s quest for pleasure and the consequences of her choices. Lucy is a successful defense lawyer, who is married to Luke Osbourne, a surgeon practicing under her father. When Lucy takes on the defense of a TV evangelist accused of sexually assaulting a girl, she isn’t aware it will be a perilous path for her and her marriage. She falls in love with the evangelist who loses the case and flees to Africa while awaiting the appeal. She leaves everything behind, including family and work, and follows the evangelist to Africa, but what she discovers is enough to make her question everything she thought she knew about this man of God. She runs back home in shame, but the damage has already been done. Read on to discover what other choices she makes in desperation. Can she really find redemption and regain her reputation? But where and how?

    I enjoyed this story a lot and loved the way the author handled the theme of longing, crime and investigation, and family. The characters are awesome and it is easy to follow them throughout the story. Lucy caught my attention from the very start. She came across at first as flirtatious and flippant, someone who may not take herself seriously, and this aspect of her personality gets to be fully developed throughout the story. It was surprising for me to note that she could fall so low, in spite of her apparent intelligence, background, and education. The writing is superb and it flows with unhindered fluidity. I enjoyed the prose as much as I enjoyed the compelling plot with the powerful cast of characters. William H. Coles’ The Spirit of Want explores the anatomy of desire in a brilliant manner; it is entertaining in an insane kind of way.

  5. Reviewed By Viga Boland

    The spirit of want is what drives most of the primary characters in this literary fiction novel by William H. Coles. The beautiful, but deeply conflicted lawyer, Lucy, isn’t sure what she wants. But after she marries Luke, a doctor who wants Lucy from the day he meets her, she knows Luke isn’t what she wants. Lucy’s gentle and loving half-sister, Elizabeth, wants a husband and children. The girls’ mother, Agnes, wants a grandchild; their father, a top surgeon, wants money and status. And then there’s the charismatic preacher, Hower, whom Lucy is hired to defend in a rape case, who ends up bedding her to get what he wants: to escape imprisonment and ultimately regain his power and hold over his devoted followers. When Lucy succumbs to Hower’s power, all hell breaks loose in both her professional and personal life. She abandons Luke, her child, and her family, believing Hower will satisfy the spirit of want that drives her, only to have her wants, like her, die unfulfilled.
    As in most of William H. Coles’ novels and short stories, the focus is always on the flaws and fragilities that make the mighty fall. This was the case with surgeons McDowell and Otherson in two of Coles’ other novels, and such is the case with Lucy in The Spirit of Want. Coles enjoys exploring the psyches and personality traits of those driven to succeed who reach the top. But, as is often said, once you reach the top, there’s only one way to go. So Coles fires on, showing readers how pride can destroy, and reminding us there is much to learn from others on that downhill slide. One of the difficulties readers encounter in reading The Spirit of Want and other novels by Coles is his tendency to address many different social, religious and political issues while telling the story. He does this by introducing lots of characters and situations as the story develops. While each of these situations and the accompanying exchange of ideas between the characters is interesting, and prompts readers to think about more than just the plot of the book, some readers may find these digressions distracting. Thankfully, since Coles’ primary writing device is dialogue, rather than narration, we are not distracted for too long before the plot leaps forward again.

    In The Spirit of Want, one of the transitions in situations for which the reader was quite unprepared was Lucy, the lawyer, becoming sexually and romantically involved with Hower. In one chapter, after visiting with him to probe deeper into the rape allegations, she comes away disliking him with such intensity she hopes she never has to meet with him again. The next time the reader hears about Lucy and Hower, she has been disbarred for conduct unbefitting her professional role as a defence lawyer…and the reader had no idea they had even met again under any circumstances. That is enough to make readers flip back through the pages, wondering if they’d missed a chapter! One other element that makes The Spirit of Want, in fact all of Coles’ novels, interesting is what he reveals about what goes on behind the scenes in the medical profession. Knowing that Coles is himself a retired doctor, there’s no reason to believe that what he presents is merely creative fiction. It’s eye-opening and often not very nice at all. As in all the works of William H. Coles, there is much to learn about many things in The Spirit of Want.

  6. read 34 more reviews from Indie Book Reviews

    – Well-written, creative, and thought-provoking, “The Spirit of Want” by William Coles is a great read for fans of literary drama and romance novels. This book has a cast of great characters and plenty of unexpected intrigue and twists to keep us interested. We really feel like we are in the characters’ head and heart, and I feel Mr. Coles did a great job of bringing in a fresh voice to a literary genre and it felt original, both in plot, voice, and narrative style. I didn’t feel like I’ve read this million times before. It is very character-driven and fast paced (almost TOO fast at times), with great dialogue and conversations that engage us in Luke, Lucy’s, Bain’s, and the others’ story. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the ending, though… kind of sad and the epilogue just sort of ‘summed up’ everything. Would have preferred to see it play out more. And it could benefit from some better editing – because the pacing, while fast, was erratic (lots of dialogue talking about not much, then some narration that rushed over some very important events). Things like that. Nothing terrible, could just use some smoothing out. Overall an engrossing and complex story and I’d love to read more from William Coles. Happy to see he’s written several others! (4-5 stars)

    – I really enjoyed “Spirit of Want” by author William H Coles. I was drawn to the description and liked the easy writing style of the author in the sample, so I read the whole thing. I was really impressed! I liked Coles’ way of writing… it is intelligent and literary and very descriptive and insightful. There are bouts of narrative ‘telling’ that slow the pace, and I think it could have used more heightened tension at times…but I do like going through Lucy and Luke’ highly charged and emotional journey as they go through their struggles, from getting married then her taking on the case where she meets and falls for Bain… her pregnancy and abandonment of her family, Luke’s relationship with Elizabeth… the shocking reveals and other harsh realities of life. This book seems to have so many subplots it’s hard to not stay interested, but I would have preferred more focus. The ending gives satisfaction and I like that we see where and how everyone ends up. Recommend. (4 stars).
    – This story was great! I really liked it, even more than I thought I would. It’s quite different than what I was expecting from the description, and I mean it in a good way! There are humorous moments, some poignant and philosophical, some sad… definitely different from many books I’ve read lately. The characters of Luke, Lucy, Rev. Hower Bain, AJ, and all the others (great supporting cast here) were interesting and provided an impressive depth to the story dynamic. Even though at first I thought this would just be about twisted romance, it’s about so much more than just that. It’s about struggles and ups and downs and danger and drama and relationships and the crazy parts of life with unusual characters that will take you by surprise time and time again. Never predictable or boring, “The Spirit of Want” is a fast paced and passionate literary drama that entertain and make you think and make you feel. It is nice to see that William H. Coles has several other books out… starting the next one now! (5 stars)
    – A very solid effort by William H. Coles in his novel “The Spirit of Want”. The writing is superb and kept me turning the pages on my Kindle night after night. Great lead characters that are flawed and three-dimensional. Even the side characters like Elizabeth and Fenley and AJ are richly drawn, and the others are authentic and eccentrically delightful. I do feel at times it could have used some better editing (both in construct and content) as some episodes of dialogues felt like chit-chat about mundane that didn’t forward the plot much, but then there would be segments of narration that ‘summarized’ important story events. At times I yearned for more heightened action, but when it came it was very good, and not predictable! (fortunately!) By the end I was turning the pages of my kindle as fast as I could, as I couldn’t wait to find out what becomes of everyone. Recommend for adult readers of literary fiction. (4 stars)
    – What can I say about this book? First off, I can tell you that “The Spirit of Want” is a well- crafted emotional journey and a wild ride and fans of this genre will love sinking their teeth into this one! The story flows from scene to scene effortlessly, and William H. Coles shows exceptional ability when it comes to vivid storytelling. He has the ability to make the reader feel like we are really there in Lucy’s and/or Luke’s world (depending on whose ‘chapter’ it is), and part of their life throughout the years. While mostly a character drama, this novel touches on so much more—–it has flashes of brilliance, deep insight, and is downright profound at times… all while demonstrating the need for love and balance in our life and the struggles one must go through. Couldn’t put it down and can’t wait to read more from Coles. (5 stars)
    – Lately I’ve been in a rut of quitting books and not picking them up again because I lost interest at one point and just never continued. This was definitely not the case with this book, “The Spirit of Want” by William H. Coles. From the very beginning the strong, energetic narrative pulled me in and the action flowed seamlessly from one page to the next, and was original and unpredictable enough to make me just *have* to see what would happen next. Not formulaic or cookie-cutter at all. I was impressed with Coles’ writing style and even though there are some dark moments, in a way this book is more ‘enlightening’ than anything and very introspective. Makes you think and relate to Luke and Lucy’s lives (together and separately) and their struggles. Definitely an exciting story that flows well and has some twists and turns we don’t see coming. While not a perfect book (is any, really??) In my opinion it is well worth the read and well worth 5 stars. (5 stars)
    – In “The Spirit of Want”, Author William H. Coles brilliantly delivers a literary treat that has you captivated from the first to the last page. The characters and scenes are so well depicted that I felt like I was right there in the story. Life, love, and all Relationships are complicated and it is no different for our characters of Luke and Lucy. Despite the difficult conflicts around them, they go through many emotional trials and tribulations that will keep you captivated to the final outcome. Page after page you find yourself drawn deeper and deeper into this emotionally engaging and at times quite surprising story. You will thoroughly enjoy this ride and want more! Recommend for fans of literary drama, romance and suspense. (4-5 stars)
    – This book by William H. Coles was entertaining and very fast paced (especially for a literary novel… those usually tend to draaaaag) and had good, realistic action and conversations, and the main characters (especially Luke) were believable and relatable, even though I had a hard time liking Lucy. She was just so immature and selfish. Well written and not everything tied together at the end the way we might expect (or hope). But questions do get answered and all the various complex sublots tie together neatly (impressive!). Could use a little better editing and structuring (in my opinion) – the pacing was fast, but almost erratic. However, this book will take a reader screeching through the pages because it is a very good story! Will read more from Mr. Coles’ in the future, as he seems to have a considerable backlist that will be checking out very soon. I’m glad there is much more to come. Recommend for mature readers of literary romance, relationships and drama. (4 stars)
    – “The Spirit of Want” by William Coles is definitely one of the more “different” books I’ve read in a very long time. It was such an interesting mix of almost everything, from romance to philosophy to relationships, to self- growth and discovery and achievements, to scandal and heartbreak.… it is really hard to just sum up or categorize it easily. That said, I did enjoy it very much once I was all the way done, but there were several parts where I felt the pace jumped around a bit and seemed to lose some focus. I liked the characters, and the way that Lucy and Luke’s relationship/storylines developed, and there are some good twists throughout to keep you hooked. Needs some proofreading (some punctuation issues I saw), but on the whole was an enjoyable, and very different, type of read that I’m looking forward to reading more by William Coles. (4 stars)
    – William H Coles crafts an authentic, engrossing novel and has a talent for creating sympathetic characters we believe– and believe in. Great writing, great action, great characters, great plot…. Overall a terrific read that I feel really introduced me to a new type of book that I haven’t really read before. . I admit this isn’t really my normal genre of reading (stick to fantasy or thrillers mostly), but lately I’ve been wanting to read something different and this fit the bill perfectly. Liked how intelligent and articulate these characters were, yet we still relate to their humanity and feel what they are feeling. Some of the scenes were so shocking and it’s rare that I feel caught off guard but it happened a few times here. Great character and scene detailing, and Great chemistry and passion. Seems to cover SUCH a wide range of big ‘events’, from manslaughter to adultery to rape… almost too many things (in my opinion) almost feels like a whirlwind at times. But the whole time I didn’t want to stop reading and always wanted to see what would happen next! (4-5 stars)
    – Wow, what a ride! At first I wasn’t sure what to really make of this story, as the description seemed to cover a lot of different elements, I wasn’t exactly sure what the focus would be. But soon I found myself sinking into this unique and creative world that William Coles created and found myself transported to another time and place altogether. For me a mark of a good book is if it can 1) take me away from the ‘real world’ for a while 2) entertain me and make me think 3) Make me believe in it. And for me, “The Spirit of Want” did all this and more. The author has a great style, even though I could have done with cleaner editing. I enjoyed the dialogue, as the lightning-quick narrative felt appropriate for the tone. There is a genuine authenticity to the characters, and the story shows a lot of heart. I enjoyed it through the end (which I’m on the fence about) but I’d like to read more from this author in the future. (4 stars)
    – I read a lot of literary fiction books, so this is a genre I’m familiar with. I’d never read anything from William H. Coles before, but the premise seemed intriguing and I’m always on the lookout for fresh new talent, so I was curious to see how he would deliver in this one “The Spirit of Want”. Mr. Coles is unarguably a very creative writer, but more than that he genuinely impressed me with his thorough world-building and interesting characters and inventiveness on many levels. All too often I read works that feel clearly derivative of other books (especially in Lit Fiction), and although I appreciate literary influences (as is felt here as well), when something this original comes along it is a refreshing change of pace from the norm! Some of the writing was downright lyrical in the simple elegance of the prose, and other times I was nearly breathless from the intensity and rapid-fire events. Other times I was chuckling aloud at the witty banter, or cursing a character under my breath For such a long book I finished it in less than a week, and went through so many highs and lows, it felt like a rollercoaster. I enjoyed the ending even though it isn’t super ‘happy’ all around, it fits well and I like to see how all the characters ended up. I would recommend this book to others as it has very good writing and powerful. Memorable characters with an interesting story to tell. (5 stars)
    – I enjoyed “The Spirit of Want” by author William H. Coles, even though this isn’t usually one of my more preferred genres (don’t dislike it, just don’t generally gravitate). But I liked the sample and the style of Mr. Coles’s writing…. This felt more like a unique character drama with ‘life issues” to me than anything, so I gave it a shot. I really liked the literary world he created here and thought that he did such a wonderful job with the descriptions of the storytelling of the events and the different characters. There are several of them and the focus moves around quite a bit so it’s hard to keep track sometimes… some we don’t really know that well and we don’t get much of a sense of their identity, other than the main characters. But there was great action, and was so shocked at some things that happened. Emotionally engaging and with lots of action, some admittedly over my head- can get confusing at times with all the different perspectives. But I liked how easy it is to read and this is such an unusual book I can’t even compare it to anything else. Does need better editing, though. Feels pretty suitable for (very) mature teens on up. I had a great time reading this! (4 stars)
    – This book was great… lots of fun to read and very creative. Describing it is a hard task! All sorts of interesting characters, and a terrific mix of scandal, betrayal, romance, intellect, high stakes drama, profound and introspective philosophical conversations… you name it. Although I did think the beginning took a while to really get going in a clear direction… we think it might be about one thing (Lucy and Luke and then the fallout from the accident) but then it seems to go off in a totally different direction. But once things got moving along I really got hooked. I liked that it was so descriptive that we can really put ourselves inside the various characters’ perspectives. Fabulous narrative prose and the dialogue and conversations with the characters were very authentic. Great chemistry and tension throughout, and while there are some upsetting/weird scenes that I didn’t expect, I liked the fact that this was really unpredictable and kept me wondering what would happen next. Occasionally it reads like a rough draft with some punctuation issues and verb tense inconsistencies. But still a good story. Recommend for fans who want a complex, yet engaging literary read. (3-4 stars)
    – “The Spirit of Want” by William H. Coles is an absolute must-read for fans of literary drama and light romance This novel holds its own with the top-notch writing and plot structure (needs editing, though), and an exciting, varied cast of ‘colorful’ characters and plenty of intrigue and thrills to go around. There were some times where I felt it could have benefited from some trimming down, there were frequent places where there was needless information, word repetition, or chit chat. However, I feel Coles did a great job of bringing in a unique voice and making the story wholly his own, and giving it a fresh feel…. In fact, I can’t think of anything I’ve read like it before. This isn’t what you would consider a “action-packed’ thrill ride, even though lots of exciting events unfold over the course of the years. It is more character-focused and the decisions, consequences and ramifications they face. Great character development, especially towards the second half of the book. Because we see the story take place through several different perspectives, we do have a certain sense of detachment, but it is certainly an engrossing story with authentic (if not always likable) and relatable characters, and a strong supporting cast to take you along for this interesting, memorable ride. Recommend for ages 18+ (4 stars)
    – I honestly had no idea what to expect when reading this as I went into it pretty blind (only knew it was literary fiction which I enjoy). I was in no way prepared for how totally addicting this novel would be, and the sheer magnitude of the world, the characters, the various interweaving multi plots, the relationships, the turmoil and heartache… I was really impressed. The way William Coles writes is captivating from the beginning and you just want to keep reading and reading and not stop. It is both descriptive and has great world building (important for a believable story) but also is so fast moving so that you aren’t bored. I was reading as fast as I could, and even though it’s a really long book, I was disappointed when it was over. I wanted more!! But the ending is amazing as is the rest of the book. Recommend for fans of literary drama. (5 stars)
    – Nicely-crafted and passionately written, “The Spirit of Want” by author is the first book I’ve read by William H. Coles but he is certainly an author I will be keeping an eye on in the future. This world he creates here is impressively conceived, and I was pleased with the level of character development throughout. The plots are complex and intelligent, yet quirky enough to keep you hooked. There are several big reveals that continue to shift the dynamic of the storyline in unexpected ways, something that even a jaded reader like myself can fully appreciate and still be shocked by. This is great because nothing I hate more than predictable clichés. I enjoyed the story, but think there could be some improvements to the pacing and the editing. But it did provide interesting entertainment value and I liked much the whole interplay and resolution of these fascinating characters (esp. Luke, Lucy, Bain) were all really good. I will be looking forward to more great stories from William Coles and will be recommending to my friends to enjoy a thought provoking literary drama. (4 stars)
    – Usually I tend to lean towards more action, suspense and adventure novels. So while literary, romance, or character-driven contemporary novels, isn’t really my thing, I decided to give “The Spirit of Want” a shot as I was in the mood for something a little different. Well, I can definitely say that a lot of people would love this book! First off the characters are awesome, and I liked the relationship with them and how they connect with each other, for better or worse. Really run the full spectrum of humanity on this one. Great conversations that felt authentic and moved the story along. There is conflict and action and even romance. Some sexy scenes, but not too graphic. There are a lot of characters, some more fleshed out than others, but all are realistic enough and don’t seem like cardboard cutouts (even though sometimes aren’t much more than just ‘names’) I especially like the intelligent… almost philosophical angle that Coles employs that gives this story an edge over others I’ve read lately. Also had an almost spiritual quality that I wasn’t expecting. I enjoyed this much more than expected and would recommend to others as well. (4 stars)
    – Fantastic! Wow what a great ending! Powerful and perfectly imperfect… Actually the whole thing was pretty great, but I don’t think I put my kindle down once after the 60% mark. This is an impressive effort from author William Coles, and it is quite clear that he is an author we can expect great things from. While this book wasn’t technically perfect, as I do feel the pacing needed tightening and an editor needed to use the red-pen over many trivial details and some punctuation errors , there is the spark of something wonderfully inventive here (rare for this genre!) and the writing felt as natural as it did effortless. You can’t fake or even teach that, in my opinion. William Coles has a natural literary voice, and I could totally see this being a movie or miniseries (or it should be!) It’s quite intense, and has that big “epic” feel to it which I love, but without all the bloat that can sometimes weigh down books like this. You really get lost in this world for a long time and don’t really want to leave! Cast of characters that are intelligent and complex, real and flawed– just like this book. A great read that will appeal to fans of many genres, as it encompasses so many different aspects of literature, not just drama or romance. (4 stars)
    – “The Spirit of Want” by William Coles was an interesting mix of world-building, suspense, romance, character development, relationship drama, secrets and scandals, and dare I say, almost spiritual philosophy? I can’t quite say that I’ve ever really read anything like it before, and it took me awhile to become fully invested in the book, as the beginning seemed to take some time to really show its ‘hook’…At first I thought it would be about the accident, but then the story evolves into something else completely. So I kept reading and really appreciated the level of detailing and thought to the character development in their individual storylines, and how they were all connected to each other, even if at times I wondered where the true focus lay and it felt a little ‘jumping around’. There are many complex subplots woven throughout and while this is a pretty long book, it was enjoyable and mostly well written save some proofing issues that should be fixed. (nothing horrible, though). Can see lit fiction fans really liking it, as there is a lot of emotional engagement and riveting storylines with charismatic characters. (3-4 stars).
    – “The Spirit of Want” is an incredible book that introduces us to the creative, yet relatable and believable world of author William H. Coles and what a crazy, dramatic, interesting world it is! It is imaginative and pulls no punches in drawing from almost every available literary element available. This is a rare novel that I thought had almost everything, from romantic love scenes, to legal/medical elements, danger, intellect, family struggles… it’s hard not to find something you like. There are dark secrets revealed throughout, and nothing is predictable or what you think will happen! One thing I’ll say is that I was impressed with how well the author William Coles told this story using a variety of different techniques and perspectives – really allows us to get in the different characters’ ‘heads’ in a way and see the whole picture. Some parts we feel like a bystander (like when it is more narrative), other times like a willing participant. Execution and presentation wise it needs steadier pacing, as some parts feel a bit belabored, and others rushed over. But these are mild issues and the story is great! I liked the ending a lot and appreciated the follow up at the end. It is great to see that Coles has several other books published already – I’ll be reading them soon! (5 stars)
    – “The Spirit of Want” really struck me as unique due to the depth of the characters and the fact that even for a Literary novel the rules seemed to go out the window a few times and really threw me for a loop (no spoilers). The writing is very strong and the plot is compelling and intelligent enough to really keep our interest – which is honestly saying a lot considering I got bored reading most books these days. This one just flows so much smoother and faster and keeps picking up steam as it goes along. I think the second half had much better tension and action than the first as I did think it was pretty slow in the beginning and there was a lot of ‘telling of the plot’ that wasn’t really necessary. While I could picture some scenes clearly and what was happening, I had trouble with some others and felt a lack of grounding. The chapters vary from speaker to speaker (sometimes staying the same) and were short and fast paced which I appreciated. Like the dynamic with the characters and how it all came together in the end. Some tense moments and kept me hooked! Recommend for fans of the romantic literary genre, as well as philosophy and drama. (4 stars)
    – Although not my normal cup of tea, “The Spirit of Want” from William H. Coles delivers on the things I like in a book – great writing, vivid, atmospheric scenery that transports me to another time and place, characters I can connect to on some level, and plots that are complex enough to challenge me and make me think, but not so convoluted so that I need to be taking notes as I go along (although I do admit to losing track of some characters from time to time…some just come and go)This is a powerhouse novel, one that is driven by character and drama, not just action. Fascinating characters –even if some are hard to like at times. This book is hard to describe…. you just have to experience it for yourself. I loved the ending and was happy to see that this is a standalone novel, not part of a series which is a nice change. (so sick of cliffhanger endings!) But I would like to read more from Mr. Coles someday! (3 stars)
    – I praise “The Spirit of Want” not just for the solid writing and creative and original plot and storyline, but also for the deeply emotional and multi-layered complexity of themes and universal concepts that made it such a rich and rewarding reading experience. Rarely do I get so sucked into books like this where it feels like every page is something that affects me on some level, whether just enjoying the lovely prose, or being mad at characters, or worrying about them, or laughing at something they said… . It was such a brutal, almost heart-wrenching experience from the beginning all the way through to the end. Feels like so much more than just a standard literary novel, but an insightful examination of the human condition, good bad and ugly. Love can make us do strange things and people who make poor choices are always so fascinating to watch. And I like that it is never ‘easy’ or ‘predictable’. Just when it looks like things might be all fine, the author has more twists in store for us. Ugh. But so, so good. Ready for more from William Coles and can’t recommend highly enough to fans of the genre who are looking for something that is different and thinks outside the box. (5 stars)
    – I just finished “The Spirit of Want” by William H. Coles. Great book. I was impressed not only with the author’s narrative skills, but combined with a vivid imagination, a profound wisdom of good, evil, and human nature, emotion and intellect… and you have a truly unforgettable book that surpassed even my loftiest expectations. While I found it at times to be uneven in terms of pacing and overall tightness of prose, I never felt myself wandering away from the story, but was invested all the way through, which is pretty amazing considering the length. The plot development was fantastic and detailed, and I appreciate the well-roundedness of the players – no one felt flatly “good” or “bad” (even when they are supposed to be), and we see their strengths and weaknesses and even their motivations throughout. I think this book should probably be geared for mature readers only. A compelling read, one I wholeheartedly recommend for fans of literary fiction that is unlike anything you’ve ever read before. (4 stars)
    – There were so many things I liked about this book, I hardly know where to begin. First, I liked the fast pace of the action because I cannot stand lit fiction that moves slow! Second, I really like the way William Coles writes his characters, and especially dialogue and action scenes. I really feel like I am inside the story, as a part of it, instead of being on the outside looking in and having a story “told” to me, even though the plot at times is basically narrated to us, including some more important parts that I thought could have had more ‘fleshing out’. But Mr. Coles’s vivid descriptions and lyrical prose creates a beautiful portrait of a creative, and at times dark and dysfunctional world that one can get lost in for hours and hours. This book seriously has everything good—action, drama, romance, right and wrong, intelligent plots, profound and thought-provoking characters, … I thought the whole story was pretty creative, and wasn’t just a re-telling of the same overused plot devices we always see. Although I had to a few times, I truly didn’t want to stop reading until I’d finished. And I was disappointed when it was all over! Ready for the next ones by William Coles. (4 stars)
    – “The Spirit of Want” by William H. Coles was an enchanting and powerful read that is at times depressing and bleak–even heartbreaking– but strangely uplifting and inspiring other times. It will appeal to lovers of literary drama and romance fiction alike. It is highly inventive and imaginative, with clear, crisp writing and an engaging tone. All the characters stand out in their own ways—some are fully-realized, while some are simply stock characters. While there are some issues in terms of execution—many instances of slow “telling” of minutiae that did nothing to progress the storyline and dragged the pacing to a near halt and hurt the tension— Coles tells his own story in a fresh way that makes the whole journey unpredictable and interesting… and downright shocking at times. Warning, it is not a quick or easy read by any means, and there is a lot of substance and philosophical mechanism at play here. So be prepared to spend some time and plan to open your mind, nor is it for the prudish, easily offended or younger readers. But in my mind it was highly worth it and I almost wished it were longer! (4 stars)

  7. 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.

  8. CatInTheHat

    Review from
    Coles demonstrates the complexity of relationships in many different ways. Marriage is not just built on love, but also on history and need. It is not always easy to guess which marriages will survive and which ones will flourish in The Spirit of Want, as the complexities go far deeper than the surface. True love can be found, but it is not always obvious and is often surprising. Relationships between family members can be strained when the adopted child feels left out, or when one is hiding a huge part of their life from the ones they love. Medical issues among the family members add to the development of both the characters and the various relationships.
    It is clear that Coles has done vast research on the three major fields. The legal discussions and proceedings show the legal process at work in a very realistic manner. The descriptions of various types of medical issues and the associated care go well below what is typically seen in a novel. The complexity of big religion is stunning, yet very authentic. It is not just about faith, and sometimes, it is not about faith at all.
    Read the entire review here…

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