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When I received Freedom of the Soul, I really didn’t know what to expect. The author is Tracey Bateman, so I expected a good read, but this book is part of a series that travels between different times. Those are hard to do well, yet I really enjoyed the way Tracey handled it.
The main story occurs in 1949 Oregon and centers on Shea Penbrook. She has lost her last family member and flounders to determine what to do with the rest of her life. As she’s ready to walk away from her heritage she finds a trunk in the attic filled with diaries. She opens them and discovers a family history that had been headed. And with it she learns, she may have a home and family in Georgia.
The journals tell the love story of the rich son of a plantation owner and a slave girl. I found this part of the story especially gripping as it showed the lengths people will go to find and hold on to love.
Once Shea arrives in Georgia, she begins to interact with another branch of the Penbrook family tree. This portion of the family was the focus of book one. The South in 1949 was a place filled with prejudice. Tracey paints a picture of it that made me evaluate my own heart for traces of prejudice.
This book is also filled with the legacy of secrets that have passed down through the generations and are being maintained even in 1949. And those secrets could kill the love that is growing between Jonas Riley, the owner of Penbrook House, and Shea.
I think we’ve all had secrets that we kept to protect ourselves. This book illustrates just how harmful those can be and that the risk of exposing them frees us to pursue the future God has for us.
This wasn’t a book that I inhaled in one or two sittings. Instead, it was I kept returning to over the course of a couple weeks. The story moves forward (and backward) at a steady pace, with characters that are interesting and plenty of conflict.
If you enjoy historical romance, I think you’ll enjoy this book.