Millie longs to escape with the gypsies, away from her troubled life with her mother, and abusive father, Jack. But when Jack dies in a rodeo accident, and her mother dies from an overdose she is taken in by a local family. But her past holds many secrets, pieces that will lead Millie to who she is, and Into the Free.
Millie longs for freedom, she is adventurous, and has learned to navigate well the hard life that she was brought up to, with each world rocking change to her life, her perception widens. She is strong, facing and seeking out the secrets of her past, trying to reconcile the father and mother she knew, with how others saw them, and who they were before she was born. She is a strong heroine, raw, and realistically flawed.
I loved how the story was told through Millie's eyes, I got to see and experience firsthand her emotions, and how the injustices in her life strengthened her resolve and shaped her into the person she is still growing to be. I like how Millie finding out about her past, helped to her make sense of her life and why people treated her the way they did. River is clever, mysterious, promising a new world of adventure, but always just out of reach. While constant cowboy Bump, is there when Millie needs him, his faithful friendship helps her weather some of the storms, he is a dreamer and has overcome many obstacles of his upbringing, which in the end only made him stronger.
The small town of Iti Taloa comes to life, in a changing world, just coming out of the Depression. Vibrant and vivid characters, in their complexity and duality bring this book to life, nobody is one thing, cruelty and kindness find a home under the same name. This book had me riveted by the characters, mystery, love, loss, faith and forgiveness. A beautiful and memorable read, I can't wait to see what adventures await Millie in the next book!