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Into the Free: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, February 1, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 693 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Into the Free Series

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Editorial Reviews


“A young girl growing into adolescence confronts family abuse and a dark past in this lyrical debut novel. Millie Reynolds and her mother live in a ramshackle cabin in Depression-era Mississippi, occasionally receiving unwelcome visits from the violent family patriarch, Jack. With her only friend, Sloth, dead and gone, Millie struggles to find any happiness with a “nothing mama” and a ruthless father. Only the passing caravans of gypsies offer her any semblance of belonging. But when unlucky events engulf her, she discovers some surprising secrets that eventually help her hope in God’s love. Cantrell’s exquisitely written story immerses readers in a world that is as cruel as it is beautiful. From the opening lines to the very last sentence, the book’s magnetic prose bewitches and enthralls on every page. A visceral and gripping journey of a young woman’s revelations about God and self, this novel will surely excite any reader who appreciates a compelling story about personal struggle and spiritual resilience.”
 - Publisher’s Weekly
“Cantrell’s words paint vivid pictures that bring Millie’s harrowing story to life. Riveting you to your chair, this story is a reminder that sometimes faith — real faith– is slowly built during the darkest moments of your life.”
- RT Reviews
“Julie Cantrell beautifully renders a vivid past, but her subjects are immediate and eternal—family secrets, love’s many losses, revenge and revelation, and finally redemption. Her characters may buck and brawl and bray against the notion of God in their lives, but there’s no denying He continues to send them into each other’s path, and Cantrell masterfully introduces them to one another in her wonderfully woven narrative. This book is full of insightful detail and wondrous turns, with an ending that moves in all directions through time like God’s grace.”
- Mark Richard, author of House of Prayer No. 2

"A beautiful and literary coming-of-age romance that is as close to perfect as I've seen in quite some time."
Serena Chase, USA TODAY

About the Author

New York Times Best-selling author Julie Cantrell was the editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review. She has been a freelance writer for ten years and has published two children’s books. She has contributed to more than a dozen books, and her first novel, Into the Free, hit shelves February 1, 2012 (David C Cook). In addition to writing the sequel to that novel, Julie was honored to receive the 2011 Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Artist Fellowship and is currently working on a creative nonfiction book about her family’s adventures as first-generation farmers. Julie and her family live in Oxford, Mississippi where they operate Valley House Farm. She is also a certified speech-language pathologist and currently teaches English as a second language to elementary students.



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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: David C. Cook; 3478th edition (February 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078140424X
  • ASIN: B007SS0C7I
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (693 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,870,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Murray on January 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My disclaimer regarding bias: I grew up with the author, and thought the world of her long before she published anything. Now, I am simply in awe of her. Most reviews I've written have been solicited by authors known to me personally. This review is unsolicited. I hope that my inadequate typed words are able to convey the depth of passion I have for this book.

The bottom line: I have no recollection of being so powerfully moved by written words in my lifetime.
I read the first four chapters after a long day at the office, when I greatly desired only to sleep. I forced myself to put the book away, only after awakening my bride to share a few passages with her. I rationalized savoring the experience, meteing out only a few chapters a night. Today, instead, I finished the book. I cried no less than three times. I stopped to get into the floor and play with my kid, tears in my eyes, and to hold him- telling him that I love him. Mrs. Perkin's Millie Reynolds represents to me hundreds of victims of domestic abuse/neglect and child witnesses of domestic violence that have streamed through my office seeking therapeutic services. My tears and anguish for Millie are the tears I've never let myself cry for them- the depth of pain that I felt here something professional boundaries limit me from in my practice.

Julie writes with an authenticity and genuineness that perfectly captures the experience of many children who grow up in violent homes. Millie's growth from child to late adolescent in the book tracks perfectly with the psychologic development of kids in her position. I've developed workshops and delivered countless trainings in this particular subject area.
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Julie Cantrell has written a great novel. It is a story of grief, love, conflict, and forgiveness. And as it is Southern, it is especially a story of faith. It is difficult to write a review of such a story, as the risk of leaving out critical concepts is greater with the myriad of them Julie has woven so well into this tale; so brevity herein. Her characters are masterful: from her father (whom she calls by his given name, Jack)and mother to her almost-mystical, Sloth, to a knight (my appellation) named Bump the reader will attach himself to them as well as others. I don't know where Julie came up with the idea to write INTO THE FREE, but God gave her the talent to write it.
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By Cassie on February 15, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am going to start off with this - I am an avid reader and have never, not once, written a review. I felt I had to for this book. It was absolutely amazing. Heart-wrenching, uplifting and full of love, loss and forgiveness. It was wonderfully written. When I finally finished, I noticed that this is an amateur author who has never written a book before! And she did a wonderful job of creating the characters and the story. I absolutely loved this book, and am sad to have to start a new one, knowing it can't possibly top this one. It is definitely worth a read! I cried, laughed and was frightened right along with the main character, Millie. Great job, Julie!
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book. The story was captivating and powerful, but even more than that, Julie Cantrell's nearly poetic prose painted a picture that engaged all of my senses and emotions and drew me in from the first pages. I highly recommend this powerful, captivating and beautifully written book.
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Format: Paperback
Exceptional prose. Exceptional story. Exceptional characters.

Julie Cantrell creates such vivid imagery and brings her characters so much to life in this debut that I was often left amazed.

This book is a perfect book club book. Because not only is it immensely enjoyable, there are some things that transpire toward the end that will stir up a lot of juicy, engaging conversation! For me, there was a couple things I didn't necessarily agree with, but I was dying to talk to others about them to hear their thoughts/reflections. I know I'll be pitching it to my book club friends in February!

I can't wait for more from this very talented author.
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Format: Paperback
The Reynolds, a family broken, struggling and alone, grasping for air and hoping for dreams.

Jack bullrider, dangerously controlling

Marie depressive, and very much a victim of circumstances

Daughter Millie young, searching for God and answers in the home and situations that she is a part of. Usually found nestled safely among the branches of her magnificient sweet gum tree, Sweetie, she escapes into her backyard watching from above the world that lies beneath.

Sloth best friend of Millie, each helping the other through the storms of life.

Every year the traveling gypsys arrive in town bringing with them fascination, curiousity, a little music and magic to captivate the residents of Iti Taloa, Mississippi. When Millie now 16, meets one of them he entrances her and for awhile she steps out of her present life and sees the world through his eyes. Promises are made and secrets are shared. When tragedy descends upon Millie the choices she has are now limited, her past lying in front of her eyes she must make a decision about her future. But when a new opportunity arrises she leaps forward. Can this be where she has belonged all along, after all, where she can be free?

This very well written novel is by far the best coming of age story I have read. The author tackles sensitive issues with grace and compassion and gives the characters a strong voice. I quickly became "attached" to Millie. A story guaranteed to capture your heart, stir your emotions and keep you reading until finished. I will definately be reading more from this author in the future and look forward to hopefully a sequel. Dialogue, description and scene mesh together perfectly creating an unforgetable and hard to put down book! I was entertained, challenged in my faith and I highly recommend this book to others. Thank you to David C Cook Publishers and Netgalley for the ARC copy for my review.
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