Freedom’s Ring / by Heidi Chiavaroli. 5.29.2018

Tyndale House ISBN 9781496423122

Adult Rating: 5

A ring declaring “victory belongs to the strong” helps two women enduring emotional trauma in Freedom’s Ring.

Anaya “Annie” David was a runner in the Boston Marathon the year it was bombed. Her rescuer places a ring in her hands and promises to find her. Two years later, Annie still has the ring but no information about the man who helped her. Nightmares plague her and guilt over injuries sustained by her niece at the bombing drives Annie away from her sister and her family. Reestablishing and forging relationships will require strength beyond what Annie can give.

Just prior to the Revolutionary War, Liberty Caldwell finds herself in Boston with the undesirable job of housekeeper for a British captain and lieutenant while she waits for news of her only living relative, her brother James. After the captain attacks her, Liberty steals some money from the captain and a ring from the lieutenant and runs away. The road she has to travel will require much strength, more than she alone can give.

Heidi Chiavaroli’s writing flows between past and present without any hitches. The dual plots force the characters to change, offering them a chance to either grow and overcome or wallow in defeat. Brief, intense scenes–the bombing and the rape–are not gratuitous. The point of both is to show how the characters choose to handle what has been done to them. The tension resulting from romance drama, a family mystery, and drama resulting from family relationship issues pushes the story along quickly. The dialogue is well-written, also keeping the story moving and spotlighting the characters’ personalities.

The theme of strength coming from the Lord weaves its way into Liberty’s and Annie’s lives. “I needed something more real. Something bigger than myself. Something–someone–stronger than me.” (p. 331) “I wasn’t strong. I was weak. The anchor, the horn…God was strong.” (p. 332)

Kristina Wolcott, CLJ