Author: Julie Cantrell
Publisher: David C Cook
ISBN: 978-0-7814-0424-2

“I turn again to the words on the wall just as morning breaks through and beams of sunlight reach the wooden cross. It may take a long time, but somehow I believe that the broken pieces of me will come back together. Someone, somewhere, is on my side,” Millie concludes in Julie Cantrell’s novel, Into the Free.

This three hundred and sixty-eight page paperback book is targeted toward young adults and older who yearn for a story of forgiveness with a touch of romance. With some slang, topics of physical abuse and assault, the Christian tome centers on the young life of a Mississippi girl during the Depression era. At the end of the book, there are an author’s note, ten question reader’s guide, additional discussion questions, author interview, book club page, acknowledgement, and bibliography.

Young nine year old Millie Reynolds has had a rough, tragic life. Watching from high in the branches of the sweet gum tree, she again witnesses her father, Jack, beat her mother to a pulp in their home’s kitchen. Oh, how she hates the man, wishing he was gone forever from their lives. Yet her mother still stays with him, sheltering deep, dark secrets of her own, tucked away and buried in a box as she drifts often to “the valley” where no one can touch her mind and thoughts.

Angry, despondent and wanting to leave the small town of Iti Taloa, Mississippi, Millie deals with tragedy after tragedy involving both parents and a trusted older friend. When she meets up with a band of gypsies on their annual pilgrimage, she becomes enamored by one young boy in particular.

Years later she still looks for that young man every year when the gypsies come to town to laugh, sing and play their instruments. And every time she yearns to forget her past and escape with the now grown-up man that holds her heart, circumstances beyond her control force her to stay and face the music.

As Millie comes of age, she is must decide which her path in life to take: to be either similar to her parents or to break free and trust God for His guidance. Wanting so desperately to hang on to the gypsies’ way of life, she is torn between the Romany people and her father’s past rodeo lifestyle.

Cantrell’s characters bring the heartbreak, hatred, and humility of life’s problems to light while reiterating that God has His own plans even though abandonment, fear and loneliness seem to take center stage in one’s life.

This book was furnished by Book Club Network Inc. in lieu of an unbiased review.

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