I was completely unsure of what to expect when I picked up this book–but I’m so glad I grabbed it!
The characters drove this story, and did a fine job of doing so. I fell in love with Mama Jo, Enos, Blake and others from Opechancano, a tiny and wonderful town. It took awhile to warm up to Deena, to be honest. Yeah, it was clear she was running from something, but she was a little over the top with her snippy attitude and crazy fear of spiders (and snakes). Once I got a glimmer of her past, I could understand her unbelievable fear of letting Kat, her daughter, out of her sight but I still thought her rudeness was uncalled for. Over time, though, the folks in town wore her down and she slowly lightened up. Blake and Mama Jo, though, should have awards for putting up with her early on.
The bad guys here were so bad I occasionally had trouble taking them seriously. Every molecule in their bodies was pure evil. They killed without compunction and were absolutely single-minded in their search for Deena. I have to admit, I do love how things ended and who did the handling… it was unexpected and strangely charming.
There is romance here, but it’s on the back burner, slowly simmering throughout the story and very sweet and quiet. Also, there’s an old journal that Deena finds that sort of parallels her life (not exactly, but similar) that is a bit heart-breaking, especially when we learn who it’s really about.
All-in-all, Set You Free is a character driven story, with occasional edge-of-your-seat excitement and some of the best characters I’ve ever read about. Honestly, for the three dimensional, interesting and unique characters alone, I’d read this author again. It’s his strong suit and really fantastic.
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