Freedom Oliver has plenty of secrets. She lives in a small Oregon town and keeps mostly to herself. Her few friends and neighbors know she works at the local biker bar; they know she gets arrested for public drunkenness almost every night; they know she’s brash, funny, and fearless.
What they don’t know is that Freedom Oliver is a fake name. They don’t know that she was arrested for killing her husband, a cop, twenty years ago. They don’t know she put her two kids up for adoption. They don’t know that she’s now in witness protection, regretting ever making a deal with the Feds, and missing her children with a heartache so strong it makes her ill.
Then, she learns that her daughter has gone missing, possibly kidnapped. Determined to find out what happened, Freedom slips free of her handlers, gets on a motorcycle, and heads for Kentucky, where her daughter was raised. As she ventures out on her own, no longer protected by the government, her troubled past comes roaring back at her: her husband’s vengeful, sadistic family; her brief, terrifying stint in prison; and the family she chose to adopt her kids who are keeping dangerous secrets. (goodreads.com)
I pretty much just swallowed this book whole. I had a real hard time putting it down when I had to and bathroom breaks were even harder.
Freedom Oliver is a tragic character that is one hell of a hot mess but you can’t help but involve yourself in her story. It’s so captivating and heartbreaking that you won’t be able to look away from it. The thing is you know going in that Freedom is a mess and, more importantly, you know why. At least the gist of it. The heavy amount of details are strewn throughout the book but you know why she is the way she is. You don’t just get handed this hot mess of a character, who may or may not be sympathetic depending on the reader, and have to back into sympathy as you find out about them. You know. From the beginning. And it pangs the heart to watch Freedom spiral. And then watch her crappy life only get crappier as long-simmering poop finally hits the fan.
I also liked how others who were involved in Freedom’s life also get the spotlight as the POV changes throughout the book. You get to see the story’s perspective from people on Freedom’s side, against her, and others in between that don’t otherwise have a stake in her game. It mixes things up a bit and keeps the story engaging and fresh. I don’t think it needed a whole lot of help in that regard because it was always something different with Freedom and she could have held the story on her own but the different perspectives made the world and the problems all the more real to the point where you could hang on to them.
And I did. They were tangible and I could feel them and it pained me to read them as they got worse before they got better. By the end I was rooting for Freedom to finally have some closure and safety and balance in her life. She’d earned it, dammit. I wanted her to have it. And she got portions of it, but it came at a price. And that price made me cry. I’m not going to lie. There were tears.
It’s a compelling story that’ll grab hold of you at the beginning and propel you through the pages until you’re eating dirt at the end of it. And you might even like that dirt with how everything turns out. You never know. I did. FREEDOM’S CHILD hits on things that people can get easily riled up about and carried those through the story on a wave of great writing and storytelling that, without those things, would just be cheap ploys to engage false emotions in people. Instead they were tools that drew out real emotions as they dragged you through the house built around them. And I loved every second of it. This book’s put Jax Miller on my radar and I can’t wait to read more of her writing.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.