NEW BOOK REVIEW
The Other Side of Freedom ... By Cynthia T. Toney
In a southern U.S. farming community in 1925, thirteen-year-old Salvatore and his Italian immigrant father become involved against their will in a crime that results in the murder of an innocent man and family friend. Will Sal keep the secrets about that night as his father asks, or risk everything he and his family cherish in their new homeland, including their lives?
Amidst bigotry, bootlegging, police corruption, and gangland threats, Sal must discover whom he can trust in order to protect himself and his family and win back his father's freedom. Sal's family, their African-American farmhand, and the girl who is Sal's best friend find their lives forever changed as dreams are shattered and attitudes challenged in a small community called Freedom.
"Strangers. And none of them dressed like farmers." A tingling that creeps down 13 year old Sal's hairline, a stern look of warning from his dad to stay back and the glint of a revolver from the men on his porch sets this novel into action. The Other Side of Freedom by Cynthia T. Toney is a remarkable story of love and loyalty amidst the hardship of families in the 1920's.
The mystery evolves and builds, adding characters that enhance and move along the flow of the story. I loved that Toney did not go overboard with excessive details and let me picture life and struggles of that era. Seeing life from a 13 year view and trying to understand exactly what the family was facing was an eye opener.
Who children trust and how much they understand is quite the dilemma that they to face, even in this day. I loved how Toney quietly lays out ways to handle situations, still having the fear of reaping the consequences of their actions.
I was not expecting the way the story wrapped up with it's twists, which added to the pleasure of reading this book. An easy read for middle school and up, a must read for all ages.