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Set You Free: Love, Lies, and the Secrets that Bind Kindle Edition
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|Length: 242 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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Perhaps the biggest appeal for me in this story is the characters. In particular, I fell in love with the characters Enos and Mama Jo. The story focuses on Deena and Blake as they both try to escape their pasts (Deena quite literally). Still, I felt an instant heart-to-heart connection with the gentle giant Enos and the sassy-but-sweet Mama Jo. While Deena and Blake had the most prominent character growth, my attention was best kept by Enos’s development. Through his friendship with Deena and her daughter, Kat, he learned to stand up for himself and his friends, and he became what I consider to be a real hero. I won’t say anything else because of spoilers, but suffice to say that the growth of this minor character shows just how well Seward has written all the characters in general.
The book also stands out from similar stories because Seward adds an element of mystery and danger to it. Deena isn’t running from the typical “I did something bad” or “I lost someone I love” sort of dark past that most characters going to small towns do. Instead, she has truly dangerous figures looming over her, chasing after her with the intent to do her and Kat harm. We don’t find out for a while what that danger is and for even longer why it’s following her, and that mystery makes the plot very compelling. The way in which the town pulls together to protect their newfound family members warmed my heart and made me wish that more of America—more small towns, even—would be that way.
The only reason I hesitated to give this book 5 stars is because there are many parts of this book which can be considered stereotypical for the genre. With the exception of the nature of Deena’s past, the plot is cookie-cutter; the characters, even the ones I like, are slight twist on very common stock characters; and the themes are well-known in this genre. However, the way in which Seward weaves these together, along with the parallel narrative in the journal Deena finds, lifted it up beyond your typical small town story.
Overall, if you like contemporary fiction, pedestrian fiction, and maybe a little mystery and action added into the mix, you’ll want to read this story. The plot is gripping and the characters feel very real (sometimes to the point when you want to slap them for making stupid mistakes). Some of the book is a bit cheesy and some of the stereotypes can be hard to swallow, but the book in general provides a fantastic reading experience.
“Set You Free: Love, Lies, and the Secrets that Bind” by Elmer Seward is a suspense story with romantic elements that follows a mysterious woman named Deena who is fleeing in a terrible storm while accompanied by her young daughter. A chance encounter with a stranger named Blake changes her life as she gets integrated into the network of folks who inhabit the small town of Opechancano. Each person she meets has a challenge that they have fought to overcome, but they all are inexplicably willing to extend a helping hand to Deena and her daughter. Unfortunately, evil is stalking them, and the inhabitants of Opechancano may or may not be able to withstand the death and destruction headed their way.
I was entertained that this book opened with a scene that brought to mind the classic setting of a dark and stormy night. The author did a nice job of building on that base and gradually fleshing out the characters whose lives intersect, while reminding the reader that everyone has something painful that holds them in the past IF we let it. There are intriguing twists that play out as barriers are let down and the tragic events that have shaped these people are exposed. The pain exposed as the story progresses is artfully depicted and I enjoyed the way we were able to view each character differently as more information came to light. There is a bit of graphic violence, so those who are squeamish should proceed with caution, and the base subject is very sobering and thought-provoking. For me, the pace is a little uneven and a few things were predictable but I enjoyed watching the two different mysteries unfold and I cheered at the fortitude and small-town cohesiveness that is depicted even though I think that some things were tied up just a little too neatly. Those in the mood for a mystery within a mystery will undoubtedly enjoy this tale.
A copy of this title was provided to me for review
Most recent customer reviews
The characters drove this story, and did a fine job of doing so.Read more
This suspenseful and well-written book caught my attention with the first sentence and kept me guessing and engaged all the way to the last word.Read more