Title: Freedom’s Ring
Author: Heidi Chiavaroli
Genre: Time-Slip/Historical Fiction
Publishing Date: August 8, 2017
About the Book:
Two years after nearly losing her life in the Boston Marathon bombing, Annie David is still far from “Boston strong.” Instead she remains isolated and defeated—plagued by guilt over her niece, crippled in the blast, and by an antique ring alongside a hazy hero’s face. But when she learns the identity of her rescuer, will he be the hero she’s imagined? And can the long-past history of the woman behind the ring set her free from the guilt and fears of the present?
As a woman alone in a rebellious town, Liberty Caldwell finds herself in a dangerous predicament. When a British lieutenant, Alexander Smythe, comes to her rescue and offers her employment, Liberty accepts. As months go by, Alexander not only begins to share his love of poetry with her, but protects Liberty from the advances of a lecherous captain living in the officers’ house where she works.
Mounting tensions explode in the Boston Massacre, and Liberty’s world is shattered as her brother, with whom she has just reunited, is killed in the fray. Desperate and alone, she returns home, only to be assaulted by the captain. Afraid and furious toward redcoats, Liberty leaves the officers’ home, taking with her a ring that belonged to Alexander.
Two women, separated by centuries, must learn to face their fears. And when they feel they must be strong, they learn that sometimes true strength is found in surrender.
WOW! I was introduced to Heidi’s writing earlier this year when I read her second novel The Hidden Side. It’s easily been one of my most talked about books so far this year. Since then, I’ve been anxious to read her debut novel. I am glad to say that I was not disappointed in the least! Heidi has a unique writing style that goes right for the heart and will captivate you from cover to cover.
Freedom’s Ring is a time-slip novel that takes place in Boston following both the life of Liberty in the 1700’s during the Revolutionary War, and Anaya (Annie) in the present day following the Boston Marathon bombing. Both characters will quickly enrapture you amongst the pages of their stories as you discover the depth of their connection. I would honestly have a difficult time trying to pick a favorite between the two timelines. Heidi was able to seamlessly weave their tales into one amazing journey.
As someone who was born and raised in the United States, I don’t know what it feels like to have a war fought on my own home-turf. I found Liberty’s unwanted attachment to Alexander both puzzling and brutally honest. Looking back to social studies, war was always talked about from the “good guy/bad guy” perspectives– with the winners being the good guys. Yet what the history books fail to make blatantly clear, is that people of the same family could be on different sides of the same battle. Both sides had men who were fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, etc. They were human. I believe that Liberty’s story paints a realistic picture of just how troubling and conflicting relationships could be based on loyalties. Her heart deeply wrestles with her love for a man she doesn’t feel she should love.
I still remember watching the news and hearing about the Boston Marathon bombing. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have actually been a victim and/or being related to a victim. Heidi painted a realistic picture of a family trying to make themselves whole again following the traumatic event. When you see a glimpse of Anaya’s life before and after, it’s as if she left her life behind her that day just before the finish line. It’s not until her “mystery rescuer” re-enters her life, that she starts to fight to put the pieces back together in her life. It’s not an easy journey, but that’s not surprising when healing needs to take place in stages. It was a journey painful at times, but you could slowly see more and more glimmers of hope for her and her family.
I loved this story, and can’t wait to see what Heidi Chiavaroli comes up with next! I highly recommend both this story, and her newest The Hidden Side. Heidi has a way of making history come alive before your eyes and making you feel like a part of the story. This is a story I’m sure I’ll remember for a long time. Definitely another I’ll be adding to my favorites 🙂
Age Appropriateness/Content Awareness:
*PLEASE NOTE: This section may contain mild spoilers but I do my best to reveal the difficult and/or triggering content without giving away the story.
Both stories take place around violent times in history. The prologue brings the reader to the day of the Boston Marathon bombing, and shares some fairly graphic details to bring the reader into the chaos. Liberty’s story contains some war violence. There is also a scene that contains a rape leading to pregnancy. It’s not overly graphic, but it’s definitely an intense scene. My personal recommendation is for ages 15 and up.