Asuccessful woman lawyer falls in love with a TV-evangelist accused of sexually molesting a child. She loses the case and while on appeal he escapes the country. She leaves family and new husband and child to follow him to Africa. She is faced with deep questions about who he really is and she returns in penury to try to rebuild her life and career only to discover the devastating effects of unrequited love.

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Review from CatInTheHat on OnlineBookClub.org

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.
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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.


Reviewed By Viga Boland for Readers’ Favorite

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.

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?

Review by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers’ Favorite

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.

Review by 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.

The Spirit of Want review

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.


read 34 more reviews for The Spirit of Want

– 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)