I love a book that grabs me by that vacant place where my tonsils used to be and doesn’t let go. Into the Free is such a book. Julie Cantrell created a loveable character in Millie Reynolds. Loveable because she’s tough, honest, and still vulnerable. Millie longs for a stable family where the adults fill their roles, and she doesn’t have to.
Into the Free conveys Depression-era Mississippi innocence along with the harshness of survival in a time of unemployment and poverty. Life is hard, Millie’s family life is harder, and still she marches on. While not duplicating Harper Lee’s Scout, Millie has enough of a Scout echo to strum heartstrings that adore Alabama’s favorite heroine. Millie’s music is an original song that captures her struggles and joys. It still plays in my head.
A five-star book for me is one that I’ll read again and that I find myself pondering scenes from as if they happened to someone I know. Into the Free is a definite five-star.