The price increases to $1.99 on August 28, and then goes up to $4.99 from September 2 to September 30.
Into the Free by Julie Cantrell paints a vivid picture of a spirited young woman, Millie Reynolds, growing up in Depression-era Mississippi. She deals with family abuse, a dark past, and an intense love triangle that will force her to mature and change in unexpected ways. This coming-of-age story takes a riveting look into one woman’s struggle with God and the power of faith.
Here’s an excerpt:
A long black train scrapes across Mr. Sutton’s fields. His horses don’t bother lifting their heads. They aren’t afraid of the metal wheels, the smoking engine. The trains come every day, in straight lines like the hems Mama stitches across rich people’s pants. Ironing and sewing, washing and mending. That’s what Mama does for cash. As for me, I sit in Mr. Sutton’s trees, live in one of Mr. Sutton’s cabins, sell Mr. Sutton’s pecans, and dream about riding Mr. Sutton’s horses, all in the shadow of Mr. Sutton’s big house.
“He owns the whole planet. Every inch and acre. From sea to shining sea!” I lean over the branch of my favorite sweet gum tree and yell my thoughts down to Sloth, my neighbor. His cabin is next to ours in the row of servants’ quarters on Mr. Sutton’s place. Three small shotgun shacks with rickety porches and leaky roofs. Ours is Cabin Two, held tight by the others that squat like bookends on either side. All three are packed so close together I could spit and hit any of them.
Sloth kneels in the shade around the back corner of Cabin One. He is digging night crawlers for an afternoon trip to the river. With wrinkled hands, he drops a few thick worms into a dented can of dirt and says, “He don’t own the trains.”
I count cars as the train roars past. Fifteen … nineteen.
“Where you think it’s going?” I ask Sloth.
“Into the free,” he says, dropping another long, slick worm into the can and standing to dust dirt from his pants. He limps back to his porch, slow as honey. About six years back, he shot clear through his own shoe while cleaning his hunting rifle. Left him with only two toes on his right foot. He’s walked all hunched over and crooked ever since. He started calling himself an old sloth, on account of having just two toes. The name stuck, and even though Mama still calls him Mr. Michaels, I can’t remember ever calling him anything but Sloth.
I keep counting to twenty-seven cars and watch the train until its tail becomes a tiny black flea on the shoulder of one of Mr. Sutton’s pecan trees. Seventeen of those trees stand like soldiers between the cabins and the big house, guarding the line between my world and his. It’s a good thing Mr. Sutton doesn’t care much for pecans. He lets me keep the money from any that I sell.
I watch the train until it disappears completely. I don’t know what Sloth thinks free looks like, but I imagine it’s a place where nine-year-old girls like me aren’t afraid of their fathers. Where mothers don’t get the blues. Where Mr. Sutton doesn’t own the whole wide world.
I can’t help but wonder if free is where Jack goes when he packs his bags and heads out with the Cauy Tucker Rodeo crew.
Jack is my father, only I can’t bring myself to call him that.
Sloth wobbles up three slanted steps to his porch. Mama sings sad songs from our kitchen. Mr. Sutton’s horses eat grass without a care, as if they know they aren’t mine to saddle. I climb higher in the sweet gum and hope the engineer will turn that train around and come back to get me. Take me away, to the place Sloth calls the free.