I wasn't sure I was going to be able to force myself to read through this book. It seemed disjointed and confusing, but the more I got into it,
Jack is an abusive, alcoholic rodeo cowboy who comes home periodically to beat up Millie's mother, Marie. He can't stand that she numbs her pain through her addiction of morphine.
Marie would rather escape her world than deal with it. There are days she can function, but most of the time, she escapes into sleep through her morphine and often she has Millie dose her up.
Millie is a young girl who wants something more than what she has. She knows her life is not normal, but she doesn't know what normal is. There's Sloth, next door, who looks out for her and loves her like his own, but he's old and getting frailer by the day.
River lives among the Travelers and falls for Millie, but after the events of the year she when she turns seventeen, he is just a little too late for her affections.
Dianna Miller is a nurse at the hospital where Millie's dad is taken after a bad bull-riding accident. When Jack dies, and Millie's mom is taken to East Hospital for the mentally ill, Dianna takes Millie in, not knowing that her husband had once been engaged to Marie. Of course, Dianna's friends are all too willing to fill Dianna in on his previous romances. Afterwards, Dianna never treats Millie the same.
These are the major players in Julie Cantrell's novel, Into the Free. Beginning in the Great Depression and carrying through to Worl War II era, Into the Free lets Millie tell her story in her own way, and also lets the reader feel every emotion, every tear, and every triumph Millie has in her little town.
While it took me a bit of time to get into the plot of the book, the plot quickly took up speed and compelled me to keep reading all the way through to the end. I wish I could give this book five stars, but the slow start prevents me from doing so. Four strong stars.
My thanks to Thomas Nelson for allowing me to read and review this book.