About the Book:
When the reward is the most costly sacrifice of all . . .
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.
From Author Cynthia Toney: “Possibly orphaned but definitely impoverished, one of my great-grandfathers journeyed from Sicily to America as a young boy with a family not his own, and he grew up with their children. He established the strawberry farm that inspired the setting for this novel.”
I loved The Other Side of the Freedom – the writing, the story, the close-knit Italian family, and the early 20th century Louisiana strawberry farm setting. Cynthia Toney makes writing look easy with a story that flows smoothly.
Young teen Sal, from whose point of view the story is told, is at the center of an Italian mob’s high stakes scheme of running liquor through small Southern towns after Sal’s dad and uncle are coerced into abetting them.
The secondary characters – Sal’s parents and uncle, his African-American friend Hiram and his best friend Antonina – are interesting but remain rather static while Sal is the one who comes of age, deciding what cost he is willing to pay to serve the truth.
This is Young Adult book, but there’s nothing here to keep younger children or older teens and adults from enjoying the story as well.
About the Author, Cynthia T. Toney:
Cynthia writes contemporary and historical teen fiction containing elements of mystery and romance. She holds a BA in art education and began her first novel while working as an advertising designer and marketing copywriter. She has a passion for rescuing dogs from animal shelters and studying the complex history of the friendly southern U.S., where she resides with her husband and several dogs.
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