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Into the Free

A dramatically entertaining and hopeful story of a young girl who must grow up way to fast.



Millie Reynold’s longs to escape the madness that incorporates her world. Her father is abusive, and her “nothing” mother just struggles to survive. When a caravan of gypsies dance through town, Millie 16, would love nothing more than to run away with them. Millie knows she cannot abandon her mama. Instead the gypsies leave Millie with a key which unlocks generations of family secrets. When tragedy after tragedy strikes her family, Millie must find the strength to overcome her family history and figure out who she really is and what she wants. Can Millie forgive and make her way into the free?

“Oh, dear child. You’ve got a lot to learn about marriage. Any fool can choose the boy who sends her heart into a flurry. But there’s a big deep divide between desire and devotion. You better not choose the boy who makes you dizzy. No ma’am. You have to choose the one who is steady. Stable. Safe. Choose the one who loves you, through and through, for who you really are. The one who wouldn’t change a single thing about you even if he could.”


Millie’s favorite place is high in the branches of a sweet gum tree. It serves as Millie’s lookout, so she can see beyond the misery of the shack that sits below her. The shack has leaky roof, a rickety porch and her mother who rarely gets out of bed. So Millie takes care of her, and has taken care of her for just about forever. As Millie watches a train go by in the distance she wonders what it feels like to be free.

INTO THE FREE is beautifully written with vivid descriptions of rural Mississippi in 1936. You’re going to have to hold on tight once you start this book, because it will be difficult to put down. JULIE CANTRELL has woven an intense and gut wrenching tale of a young girl who must grow up much to fast when tragedy after tragedy befalls her family.

The cast of characters are intriguing, and I particularly liked Sloth, Millie’s elderly neighbor, and Mabel, a maid that works in town. The story is about loving people for who they are and forgiving them for who they are not. I enjoyed learning more about gypsies and appreciated the research Cantrell did for that part of the story. INTO THE FREE is the first book of a two book series, the second book is When Mountains Move (2013). You are definitely going to want to read both. I do!

Three words for this book...dramatic, entertaining and hopeful.

“Ain’t nothing more important than loving your mama. Even if you can’t understand her. Love her. That’s all you gotta do.”

“When it rains God be wantin’ us to sit still and take notice.”

Publisher David C. Cook

Published February 1, 2012

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