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Set Free: A Story of Peace Found Through Forgiveness
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Set Free: A Story of Peace Found Through Forgiveness

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  101 ratings  ·  31 reviews
“Gaile Owens is my mother. I am her son. Please do not take this from me. There is no justice in taking her life. There is no justice in denying the healing power of forgiveness.”

Stephen Owens was 12 years old in 1985 when he discovered his father at home badly beaten and near death. Evidence proved Stephen’s mom, Gaile, had hired a hit man to carry out the mur
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by B&H Books
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Average rating 3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  101 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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David  Schroeder
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith
Full disclosure, I'm working on this book. But I must say that when it comes out this fall, it is an incredibly dramatic story of forgiveness that is a must for any person to read. I have some galleys available if any of you would like to read it prior to October 1. Thanks!
Jun 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
Well La Ti da. Holds back a lot, expects a lot from the law enforcement and has no respect for them trying to do their job. I stop reading on page 76. I just could care less about reading more about his half story, you can feel the fake he is presenting. I feel he just wanted to look at me book.
Oct 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
A sad story, but the writing was not very good. This book suffers from a lack of "show, don't tell". I felt like the author was holding a lot of stuff back, including his emotions.

The pacing felt off, and events and phrases were repeated often. There were lots of cliches, which usually point to an inexperienced author.

By far the last few pages were the strongest, but they alone weren't enough to make this book worth reading.
Miz Billi
Oct 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
Wow, written by a teacher? Hard to read. Tho he is a better person than I. Not sure I could have forgiven her. So she was not executed and was taken off of death row. Fine. But she should never have been released. The husband she had murdered didn't get to walk away, did he? A greedy, manipulative, thieving narcissist that have her husband brutally murdered for insurance money and allowed her 12 year old son to find his father brutally bludgeoned like that. Then she maligns her late husband by s ...more
Amy Booth
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
I hate to rate this one so low because I really did appreciate his story, but it was tough to get through. I got really bogged down with repetitive details. It was a beautiful story of forgiveness that I wish could had been told with a bit more panache.
Jean Hall
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure I would like this book when I started reading it, but ended up hooked and read the whole thing. It was interesting and made me think more deeply about my own Christian faith.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
Poorly written with scattered thoughts. Also very repetitive. I put the book down after 50 pages.
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Set Free: A Story of Peace Found Through Forgiveness
Stephen Owens

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through Goodreads' First Reads Giveaway program in exchange for my unbiased and honest review.

You can read the back of a book to get a general idea of the plot that lies between the covers. But until you open the book and start reading on page one, you don't truly know.
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was given a copy of the book for the purpose of review.

Set Free is a story about the life of Stephen Owens. This is a moving story about his need to forgive and be forgiven. Stephen Owens has lived a nightmare that many of us will never have the experience of. But there will be some who can fully understand and relate. Gaile Owens, Stephens' mother, was incarcerated most of his life and hers. Gaile says she had an abusive marriage and also was cheated on. She had tried to leave the
Sandrea Igess
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I thought the book was awesome, there is a little bit of everything in Set Free: A Story of Peace Found Through Forgiveness. This book had me emotionally involved from cover to cover. I am glad Goodreads gave me the opportunity to read it. In the story I was horrified that Gail felt she had no choice but to hire someone to rid her life of her husband. To make matters worse the oldest baby discovered his dad. I can understand how a child can be torn between the love they have for both parents whe ...more
Paul Lunger
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
"Set Free: A Story of Peace Found Through Forgiveness" is the true story of Stephen Owens mother who was convicted & sentenced to death for the murder of her husband. Eventually through the appeals process & a lot of patience she would eventually find her own freedom. The book itself is a story of perseverance & determination as Stephen works on learning just how to forgive his mother for what she did & also how that new bond that he had with her helped once she got released. Wit ...more
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a interesting book that showed how a crime affects the family of the convicted person. While this book does give some insight into the crime that was committed, the real foundation of the book is how it affected the son and his family members. While realizing that sometimes you are not given the whole truth, the author was able to reconnect with his mother that was convicted and sent to death row. The mixture of feelings and the journey they both took to get the conviction commuted to l ...more
Jan 22, 2016 rated it did not like it
Thank you netgalley and B&H Books for letting me review this book.

The premise of the book sounded like a good one. A 12 year old boy finds his dad bludgeoned to death in his own living room and his story of how he came to forgive his mom who set the whole thing in motion. I truly couldn't wait to read this book on how he came to forgive his mom and tried to get his mom off of death row. After I started reading it I struggled through. This book suffers from telling and not showing
Lauren Black
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
I got this book about a week and a half or so ago. I liked the book, but it was not one of my favorites. It is a story that you would most likely see on Nightline or 20 20. I think older people (adults 30's, 40's, and 50's) would like this book more than the younger generation. If you like stories like those on Nightline then you'll like this book. Otherwise, if you don't like 20 20 or Nightline then don't bother with this book because it won't be the book for you. I would also like to add that ...more
Ellen Moore
Sep 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
This was an interesting account of a man whose mother had hired someone to kill his father when the man was a boy. His mother was in prison on death row, and his father was dead. This is the story of his faith struggle as he tries to forgive his mother and establish a relationship with her. He visits her in prison and becomes involved in her attorneys' fight to save her from execution. He also has to explain to his 2 sons the situation in his family and help them develop a relationship with thei ...more
Delanie Sullivan
Jul 18, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a great story with a very powerful message. The author shows how forgiveness is necessary to everyone in order to lead a full and free life. The writing unfortunately left much to be desired. I felt the author was frequently repetitive, even using the same phrases. Sometimes the timeline seemed jumbled or disjointed. Also, I think the story would have been even more powerful if he had delved deeper into his own feelings or how his desire to forgive his mother came about. Overall it was ...more
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: firstreads
I won an advanced copy of this book through a giveaway on Goodreads. I found it to be very moving and thought provoking. While I realize this was not the main focus, I want to say I don't believe in the death penalty, and her travesty of a court case and subsequent appeals are a clear reason why. I found both Steven and Failed to be strong in ways I am not sure I am. Excellent lesson for everyone on forgiveness.
Kt, Kt
Dec 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and it's author's willingness to share his struggles in the path to reconciliation with his mother. I felt like the message of forgiveness was very relevant. I found myself often wondering why there was no more information about Brian but it is Stephen's journey not Brian's.
Kelly Schulz
To read this book was to sit under a powerful testimony of God's scandalous grace distributed by His kind patience and ever-drawing love in the life of equally bound mother and son!
Stephen Owen's gospel call in the final pages follows with poignancy the foundation of lives made new in the pages leading up to it!
CS Patra
Aug 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A very powerful book about one son's struggle to forgive his mother for a heinous crime. It goes through so many loops and twists and ultimately comes to an incredible. Chapters are very easy to read and understand and it makes you feel like you understand what's going on. Truly incredible story about forgiveness.
Michele Burkholder
Jan 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
I couldn't get through the book, and I almost never stop reading a book before reaching the end. He took a fascinating subject, and made it boring, by using dry and detached language, and repeating the same thing over and over again.
Andrea Reiff
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A must read. This book truly changes your heart towards those incarcerated for murder. I encourage any one to read Set Free and allow yourself to be open to forgiveness of others sins. Such an inspiring read.
May 31, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
A beautiful story of forgiveness as the author tells his story of finding his bludgeoned and dying father, only to discover that his mother arranged the murder and was sentenced to death for the crime. This honest telling is what forgiveness looks like.
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In this true story Stephen expresses-through his religious beliefs-coping with the murder of his father, arranged by his mother. And the years his mom lived in a prison's death row until the time of her miraculous parole. I get it...
Kristen Krcma
Aug 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: thoughtful, christian
Candid & Sincere
The candor was open and unpretentious. I felt several “bursts of emotion” as the author might call them and found myself wanting to dwell longer in them, but the book clipped along adding to the theme of not lingering in the past and moving forward through forgiveness.
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A moving story of forgiveness that manages to be touching instead of not handled very well.
Nonie Noordman
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book

And I loved Stephen's live outboard for Christ sake. God bless you walk as you minister along the pathway
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very interesting story. Left me wanting more information. Left me pondering the judicial system.
Christine Sabourin
Mar 01, 2015 rated it liked it
A good story, a story worth reading. At times I found there was a lot of repetition of material already covered
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
awesome emotional book about spirituality and forgiveness!!
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