Christie Hagerman's Reviews > Into the Free

Into the Free by Julie Cantrell
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Dec 20, 11

Read in December, 2011

This is a book full of contrasts, of appearances that promise one thing but open up to reveal a totally different scene. Our heroine Millie's Mississippi in the 1930's and 40's is full of trees that sing, fascinating Gypsies, small farms, and enchanting forests. Look a bit further and you find drugs, gossip, abuse, and racism filling the beautiful land. Behind religious piety you find hypocrisy and self-righteousness. Within people on the fringe of accepted society you find honesty and compassion, and within those of the upper class, well, a lack of both. A creative young girl filled with life and energy turns out not to be a child at all, but an "old soul", as her mother has told her, who must forfeit childhood to survive the traumas of her everyday life.

I don't really care for novels with abuse, but I was so drawn into Millie's life that I couldn't help but keep reading. The words flowed like poetry, and I found myself smiling at the descriptions of how a character felt, how the landscape came alive, how the tree embraced the scared child.

The author's character development is superb. Millie's voice is so strong, so appropriate for a nine-year-old that I doubted the author would be able to continue making Millie believable as she aged. I was pleasantly surprised. I was so taken by Millie's story, by the cards she'd undeservedly been dealt in her young Life, that I wanted to jump into the pages and bring her into my own home. I cheered when people showed her kindness, raged when another hard knock threatened to rob her of any hope. I read straight through this book and was very disappointed when it ended. I will be anxiously awaiting the sequel.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the netGalley.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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