Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Place Called Freedom” as Want to Read:
A Place Called Freedom
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Place Called Freedom

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  22,213 ratings  ·  1,130 reviews
Scotland, 1766. Sentenced to a life of misery in the brutal coal mines, twenty-one-year-old Mack McAsh hungers for escape. His only ally: the beautiful, highborn Lizzie Hallim, who is trapped in her own kind of hell. Though separated by politics and position, these two restless young people are bound by their passionate search for a place called
Paperback, 437 pages
Published June 30th 1996 by Ballantine Books (first published August 28th 1995)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  22,213 ratings  ·  1,130 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of A Place Called Freedom
Donna Crupi
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Forget team Edward or team Jacob--

When I picked up this book it was only because I dissolve into the pages of every Ken Follett book I read.

Follett took me back in time to Scotland and I was that girl working in the mines six days a week. I felt the burn of the leather strap that pressed against my forehead as I dragged a load too heavy for my small frame to bear, not giving in to the danger, the fear, the exhaustion.

Then he introduced me to Mac McAsh and I fell deeply in love. He is also from
Maria Espadinha
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Freedom — Life’s Corner Stone

Freedom is not always an easy option. However, it’s thoroughly recommendable!😁
Life tends to block without Miss. Liberty around! 😉

Another masterpiece from the great Ken Follet! 🥰
It’s a 4 glued to an huge tail of “++++++++++...”!!! 👍👍👍
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars - It was really good.

I didn't even notice until I sat down to write this review, that I did not make any highlights in this novel. While Follett may not have a literary flair that makes me highlight beautiful passages, this story grabbed my attention from the beginning and kept me captivated until the end. I thoroughly enjoyed the storytelling within this novel and learned a great deal about the atrocious coal mining work environment in Scotland during the mid 1700s. It was also rather
Emily Cox
Jul 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
Oh, honestly...

How did this book ever make it past an editor and onto a shelf and, consequently, onto my Kindle? My Kindle doesn't deserve this!

What could have been SUCH a cool story feel painfully flat due to writing that was, in my opinion, elementary at best. Unbearable. Cliche. Eye-roll worthy times 1000.All tell and absolutely, positively no show whatsoever.

Let me give you some recurring examples:
'She felt afraid.'
'She felt cold.'
'She felt strange.'
'He felt exhausted.'

I'm not kidding. Those
Rohit Enghakat
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A sweeping saga of love, greed, betrayal and revolt combined with period drama is worth a read. A Ken Follett book makes it really special. This is a story of Malachi McAsh who is a Scottish slave working in the coal mines of Scotland owned by a greedy and wily man George Jamisson and his sons. McAsh yearns for freedom from slavery and circumstances arise when he is forced to go to America as a convict. He falls in love with Lizzie Hallim, an aristocrat lady who is married to the villain of the ...more
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

What I thought would be an enthralling, epic historical saga, turned out to be a dismally cheap disappointment. All of the credible historical elements - the pitiful and heartbreaking plight of Scottish miners, the commerce corruption within Britain's upper echelon, and the shipping of Scottish/British convicts to America as seven-year indentured slaves, bought and sold at auction - were grossly overshadowed by dime-store romance, lust conquests.

Quite tacky, to say the least. A bitter disappoin
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ken Follett has created another great book, filled with strong characters and an engaging plot. We travel to Scotland and learn how cruel the coal workers and their families were treated. Follett introduces his strong, independent characters, especially the main female! Freedom is briefly attained in London, England. An ocean crossing on the Rosebud brings the characters to Virginia. The search for freedom is the main theme.

"I'll go anywhere that's not Scotland - anywhere a man can be free.....
Krista Claudine Baetiong
Why did I read this book, give it a 5-star rating, and put it in my “Favorites” shelf list?

First, it is a Ken Follett material; I believe his only mission in life is to sway people into loving anything he writes— I say this because it has certainly worked for me. Second, the story is set in a former era—the late 18th century—and I am such a fan of period/historical reads. Third, it talks about a young man’s struggle against social injustices, a subject of which I am largely sympathetic (having w
RoseMary Achey
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Follett's characters are so extreme-you are either a saint or a really despicable human....not much in between. Highly predicatable you knew where this one was going writhin the first few pages.
Robin Webster
Dec 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Mack McAsh is a young man born into slavery in eightieth century Scotland and refuses to accept a life of servitude and hardship working down a Scottish coal mine. This is the bases for a fantastic fast paced story that moves from the Scottish coal mines to the back streets of eightieth century London, before moving on to the state of Virginia just prior to the American revolution. There is also a rich array of characters that Follett really brings to life. The story is underlined by the beginni ...more
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inspirational, travel
This is the example of an awesome piece of writing, from the beginning to the very last page.
Bev Taylor
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
welcome to the end of the 18th century where there r distinctive classes both socially, politically and financially. but the 'lower' classes were definitely the winners on family and friendship

mack is a slave by birth working in the mines of scotland but he does not intend to stay. also there is lizzie, a rebellious female who is engaged to jay his landlord's son

separate worlds but their lives r thrown together time after time, firstly in london where mack rebels to protect his teams who remov
Nov 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An informative historical adventure

Follett's A Place Called Freedom was one of the most requested books when I worked at a now-defunct used book store more than 10 years ago. I finally got around to reading it and I can see why it was in such demand.

Follett introduces the reader to the turbulent politics on 1760s England, Scotland and America. He throws in a liberal dose of romance and the reader will be reminded of the Tom Cruise / Nicole Kiddman epic movie Far and Away . There are plen
Bodosika Bodosika
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourite
This book is immensely interesting and hard to put down.A beautiful story line,believable characters and simple English had no option rather than to give it 4 solid Stars.
Mr. Gottshalk
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
I think in order to write a quality historical fiction novel, the author has to be a really terrific storyteller AND someone who knows a lot about the history and background of a place. Ken Follett has both of these characteristics.
The novel begins in the awful dark, gray landscape of the coal mines in Scotland, progresses to London (which has its own issues regarding social/class disparities), and ends up in the colony of Virginia. When I was a kid, I was always fascinated by the vague line on
Oct 05, 2011 rated it liked it
A Place Called Freedom follows the character Mack from a coal mine in Scotland to London where he struggles to earn decent pay for himself and other laborers. He ends up in the colony of Virginia still yearning for true freedom. This novel had great potential to be a story as gripping as Pillars of the Earth, but it feels rushed instead. I would have loved more detail about the surroundings and period details about dress, food, & everyday life. I especially thought the story fell short when Foll ...more
Ed Finnegan
Dec 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I liked this book for a different reason then I like some other book sIve read.
This was the last christmas gift I ever gave my father for christmas 1995, I was very sick in 1996 and didnt get gifts for any one, he died before the next christmas, I had not been thinking of it or able to read it until recently, I found the book that I gave him , I never asked him what he thought about it, that is one of the best things about reading a book is being able to talk with some body about it.

I liked the
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
If I could, I would give this one 3 1/2 stars. Follett is really excellent as story development and crafting stories that are engrossing and intense. However, at times his writing can feel pedantic at best. This is the story of one man that struggles for freedom on his own terms -- outside of the class structure he comes from. A common theme for the time period that this story covers, the scope ranges from Scotland/England to the Pre-Revolutionary United States. Follett does explore the ramifica ...more
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, historical-fic
I picked this book up on a whim... I loved The Pillars of the Earth and so hoped I’d love this one too! I didn’t love it. In fact, I feel like I’m being really generous with three stars.

A Place Called Freedom is a fantastic and intriguing idea! The idea, however, is followed up with a very predictable story, elementary writing (came off more as half assed) and bad dialog. I never really “felt” the characters (rolled my eyes a few times) nor did I “see” any of the places traveled to.

The story al
Sep 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Ken Follett is something of a guilty pleasure. He doesn’t write great literature but his books are usually very entertaining and along the way I often learn some interesting historical facts. I knew nothing of the “slavery” of the coal miners in 18th Century Scotland (although paid a meagre wage they were regarded as the property of the colliery owners and not allowed to leave their jobs). The hero of the story is one such miner and the novel tells of his struggle to escape his life of servitude ...more
Dick Edwards
Jan 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved this book!!! It was basically 3 books in one, set in the late 18th century: (1) the coal mines and mining industry of Scotland; (2) industrial London, focusing mainly on the unloading of coal; and (3) colonial America, and the push to escape to, and populate, the frontier. One learns not only the technology of mining coal in that era, but also the terrible conditions that the miners had to endure to earn a living. Then in London, one learns about the intrigue and conditions involved in t ...more
Joe Stamber
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this historical fiction with a bit of thriller and a bit of romance thrown in. Follett is good at writing about how the lower classes struggled under the often arrogant upper classes in years gone by and has delivered another great example with A Place called Freedom. It begins as a tale of downtrodden coal mining families working in horrendous conditions being kept in their place by the gentry that exploit them. From there it unfolds into a great story with about every ingredient ...more
Dec 31, 2010 rated it liked it
Read it for the second time. The first time, years ago I wasn't captured by the story. It's the same basic character mix he uses in many of his books: The bad guy with the powerful, political, driven mother. The hero from the lower classes. The girl torn by 2 worlds. But he's researched a lot what it was like to live in particular times and places. This time I read it from a historical perspective and liked it better.
Started this with enough time invested to want to continue -- and *now* I sleuth enough to find it is an ABRIDGED Follett. I wondered when I downloaded the book how an audio Follett could be only four hours long, I figured it must be a short story, but now I know. This is Follett's 400+ page book (a little short for him) reduced to four hours. I hope I'm not too disappointed.

Update: As I finished the second of four parts, I've decided to abandon this one. Maybe for later, maybe never. Just not t
Jun 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Not to be rude but this is the worse book I've read so far! The female characters are flat and limited to the masculine point of view of the author. Follett tried to make his female lead character strong and independent yet she came out basic and dependant on men. Sadly not even the plot is good. Honestly I rated it 1 just because I can't rate 0.5...
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Ken Follett is better writing about the past. Thoroughly enjoyed this story set in 1700's from Scotland to Virginia. Loved the characters. Great ending left me wanting more
For the most part, I enjoyed this little historical jaunt into the world of Georgian-era slavery, in both the Scottish coal mines and colonial plantation country.

Like most of Follett's books - that I've read anyway - there's a female protagonist who has to deal with all kinds of misogynist crap and yet manages to get in some slugs of her own. Her weakness towards her husband had me wanting to smack her, but her willingness to be lulled and persuaded to take the path of least resistance at times
Jean Perry
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
very good book, typically Ken Follett's good story-telling. I had no knowledge of the "slavery" aspect of the mining industry in the United Kindom - Scotland, but it should have been apparent to me - i just have never tho't about mining in Scotland at all. It gives a good look at how thruout history the people in power have little concern for the laborer and only the courageous have opposed the powers-that-be. Only in America, particularly colonial America, had there been a chance in history, un ...more
William  Shep
Jan 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
This very interesting novel should be required reading in social and economic history courses, and for anybody interested in labor and immigration history. Follett gives us the story or Mack McAsh, a coal mining serf from 18th century Scotland. He eventually escapes to London, where he works on the docks unloading the coal ships from Scotland and northern England, and where he gets caught up in labor conflict and social unrest and is imprisoned. His punishment is to be transported to America whe ...more
Dec 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing

From the coal mines of eighteenth century Scotland, to the palaces of London, to the tobacco plantations of the Virginia Colony, Ken Follett’s epic, ‘A Place Called Freedom’ is another can’t-put-it-down, five-star, page turner of a novel. Not as extensive in scope as “Pillars of the Earth’ and ‘World Without End’ but, none-the-less, vast, and furious enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. And, oh, Follett’s incredibly vivid characters.

Recommendation: A very entertaining
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Shadow Hunter
  • The Burma Legacy (Sam Packer, #3)
  • A Forest of Eagles
  • The Afghan
  • As the Crow Flies
  • A Matter of Honor
  • The Saracen's Mark
  • Edge of Eternity: by Ken Follett (The Century Trilogy, Book 3) | Summary & Analysis
  • Three
  • A Shadow Beyond
  • The Irish Princess
  • Mirage
  • The Magic Bullet
  • A Cage of Eagles
  • Storm of Arrows
  • The Deceiver
  • The Burning Chambers
  • On Far Malayan Shores
See similar books…
Ken Follett is one of the world’s most successful authors. Over 165 million copies of the 31 books he has written have been sold in over 80 countries and in 33 languages.
Born on June 5th, 1949 in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a tax inspector, Ken was educated at state schools and went on to graduate from University College, London, with an Honours degree in Philosophy – later to be made a Fellow of

Related Articles

He made the Middle Ages come to life in The Pillars of the Earth, and now the history buff starts fresh in the 20th century with a new epic chronic...
64 likes · 26 comments
“era algo así como decir que el adulterio tenía su origen en el matrimonio. Los” 0 likes
“dismay Preece recovered yet again, rather suddenly, and” 0 likes
More quotes…