Today is an exciting day in the bookish world!
I had the pleasure of being on the launch team for Careena Campbell’s debut novel, Free.
If you’re looking for an adventure on the high seas, full of hope and the promise of true freedom, this YA Christian historical fiction novel is the perfect book for you!
Read my full review below, and get swept up in the adventure for yourself in a special excerpt of the story 😊
Very few books allow you to encounter freedom, and Free is certainly one of them.
As the book opens, readers are introduced to a young woman named Ruth, who is forced into service on a merchant ship. Fearful and confused, she still manages to bring a pure heart and joyful spirit to every trial and adventure she faces on the high seas.
Still, despite her abundance of both kindness and patience, the men remain resistant, confused by her unwavering faith and uncommon humility towards those who have treated her so unfairly.
But freedom can come to the hardest of hearts, and hope remains that, one day, Ruth will find herself in the company of those who know they are wholeheartedly free.
Careena Campbell has penned an exceptional tale, full of adventure, high stakes on storm-tossed waves, and, above all, the longing for freedom and a place to belong.
With characters rich in faith, internal struggles, perseverance, and humility, Careena has crafted a book perfectly suited to lovers of YA historical fiction, and, at the same time, produced that rare thing: a story that leaves readers with hearts wide open to the miraculous and full of faith that they, too, can be free.
Read an excerpt from Free below:
Ruth limped the few short steps to the edge of the ship. Her hands floated up to the railing as she gazed upwards. The night sky was encrusted with millions of brilliant stars, each twinkling one after the other. They stretched out all the way to the horizon, where they cast their reflections over the ocean. The sea, like a great blue blanket covered with shining sapphires, rocked back and forth as the wind gently caressed its water. The waves seemed to sigh in contentment, as if they were settling down to sleep, as they softly swooshed over each other.
Ruth’s heart beat fast as she was overtaken with the beauty and the majesty of God’s creation. She could not resist praising and thanking the Creator of this breathtaking scene, and her awe bubbled over in soft song.
“This is my Father’s world,
and to my list’ning ears,
All nature sings and round me rings
The music of the spheres…”
The nearby sailors turned, surprised to hear the gentle strains of a song floating from the ship’s edge.
“…This is my Father’s world,
I rest me in the thought,
Of rocks and trees of skies and seas—
His hand the wonders wrought…”
For a moment, they watched the maiden fairly sing. Why was she so calm? Didn’t she understand the danger they were facing?
But Ruth, for once, did not even notice them. She was swept up in the beauty of God’s peace.
She reflected on her own situation as she sang the final verse:
“This is my Father’s world;
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
“This is my Father’s world!
The battle is not done!
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and heav’n be one.
“Yes,” Ruth thought. “The battle is not done. God isn’t finished with me, and He’s not finished with the sailors, either. I will press on. I know He is still working!”
Ruth’s heart swelled with joy and contentment. Leaning out over the ship’s railing, she folded her hands to pray. “Lord,” she whispered, “please bless the sailors and help them to come to know You. And help me to be brave even when things aren’t this peaceful. Amen.”
Ruth straightened up and smiled as she returned to her room for the night. Now she felt she could face her future, for God had reminded her of His presence.
Free releases this Thursday, March 11th! You can help Careena celebrate release day by pre-ordering Free and adding it on Goodreads!
You can learn more about Careena and connect with her on The Anchored Writer.
And don’t miss my interview with Careena this Thursday!
Lots of exciting new things are beginning on 21:25 Books! Watch for announcements on Instagram 📖🌹
Wishing you happy reads,