Freedom Oliver is a barmaid, and is on the witness protection scheme, which she has been on for the past eighteen years, having been freed from prison after the real murderer of her husband Mark has been found.
This is his brother Matthew Delaney, who when we first encounter him, at the very beginning of the novel has just been released from prison on appeal, and is out for revenge on Freedom. Delaney and his family set out to track Freedom down. So far, so predictable. Freedom gave up her children for adoption, when they were very young, and has been covertly tracking them for the past few years. When she finds out that her daughter has disappeared, Freedom goes on the run to look for her, and ends up in Kentucky in an armed confrontation with a sheriff.
None of this is a plot spoiler, as we learn all of this within the first twenty-five pages of the book. In the course of the novel, we encounter religious cults, the good and bad sides to families, whilst we plunge deeper and deeper into the underbelly of American society, in the process moving from Oregon, to Kentucky via New York, in a whirlwind of activity. As the novel progresses, we gradually find out the events leading up to and the murder of Mark, alongside Freedom’s real-time search for her missing daughter, who is now grown up.
I found all of the characters to be well developed and very memorable, particularly the central character of Freedom. Freedom’s narrative voice is very strong and powerful, and this is shown very effectively in the chapters she narrates. Freedoms’ devotion to her absent children are her motivation to keep going, especially in the years in exile in Oregon, alongside keeping herself safe from Mark’s evil family.
I enjoyed this novel a great deal, finding it to be an exceptionally powerful, enthralling and moving novel, which I read very quickly. It was hard to believe that this is Jax Miller’s first novel, and hope her next one, will be as good as this.