Friday, March 4, 2022

Arms of Freedom by Kathleen Neeley: Review & Giveaway!


ARMS of  Freedom

About the Book

Book: Arms of Freedom

Author: Kathleen Neely

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release date: October 6, 2021

With each page of the age-old journals, Annie discovers all that unites her with a woman who once lived in her farmhouse. One lived with wealth and one with poverty, but both knew captivity. Both longed to be free.

Miriam yearns to escape her life as a super model. She drops the pseudonym and uses the name she gave up years ago—Annie Gentry. Then she alters her appearance and moves to rural South Carolina to care for her grandmother. Can she live a simple life without recognition? Can she hide a net worth valued in the millions? Love is nowhere in her plans until she meets a man who wants nothing more than Annie Gentry and the simple life he lives.

Charlotte lived in the same farmhouse in the tumultuous 1860’s. The Civil War was over, but for a bi-racial girl, freedom remained elusive. She coveted a life where she wouldn’t bring shame to her family. A life where she could make a difference. As she experiences hope, will it be wrested from her?

The journals stop abruptly with a climactic event, leaving Annie to search for information. What happened to Charlotte? Did her life make a difference?  Did she ever find freedom?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Kathleen Neely is a retired elementary principal, and enjoys time with family, visiting her two grandsons, traveling, and reading.

She is the author of The Street Singer, Beauty for Ashes, The Least of These, Arms of Freedom, and In Search of True North. Kathleen won second place in a short story contest through ACFW-VA for her short story “The Missing Piece” and an honorable mention for her story “The Dance”. Both were published in a Christmas anthology. Her novel, The Least of These, was awarded first place in the 2015 Fresh Voices contest through Almost an Author. She has numerous devotions published through Christian Devotions.

Kathleen continues to speak to students about writing and publication processes. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

More from Kathleen

I’d like to introduce myself and then share a little bit about my book, Arms of Freedom. I am a retired educator having taught preschool, fourth grade, and then moving into administration as an elementary principal. When I retired, I pursued my desire to write. My first novel, The Least of These, won first place in a contest titled Fresh Voices. That honor renewed my confidence, and since then, I’ve written five novels. Arms of Freedom is my first timeslip (dual timeline) novel.

Arms of Freedom was birthed during a time of racial tension in our nation; a time when social injustice and protests were forefront in the news. Many publishers safely avoided manuscripts with any mention of racial issues—perhaps a wise decision from a business perspective.

However, failure to look at our past denies us the opportunity to learn from history. Our fear of offending can push major historical offenses into a dark closet. I chose to illuminate those offenses by launching this book. Following the Civil War, the period of twelve years known as Reconstruction was perhaps the most brutal period of racial terrorism. The contents may be hard to read. I confess that I often wrote through tears.

In the end, I hope your takeaway is this: Regardless of race and ethnicity, all people are created in the image of God, a one-of-a-kind miracle, loved by Him, and created for a purpose. We are called to unity, to be perfectly one (John 17:23). May we join together in raising our arms of freedom to the Savior who released us from the captivity of sin.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. — John 8:36 NIV

I hope you enjoy Annie’s story as the life of this contemporary character intersects with Charlotte’s story from 150 years earlier. Both experience a coming-of-age change as they seek to escape from what holds them captive.

My Thoughts

Annie Gentry aka Miriam is worn out from her modeling career and is in desperate need of a change.  Her grandmother deeds her the family farmhouse in Hickory Falls.  Miriam cuts and colors her hair in the hopes of making herself unrecognizable.  As Annie, she moves into the farmhouse and works on giving it a facelift.  In the attic, she finds a child’s room set up and a trunk with journals from a girl named Charlotte.  Charlotte lived in the house following the Civil War.  Annie begins reading the journals that detail Charlotte’s early years.  When the journals end without the final details of Charlotte’s life after Hickory Falls, Annie goes searching for information.  Maybe what Annie learns will help her with her own life.  Annie needs to find a way to move forward with her life and let go of the past.  

Arms of Freedom by Kathleen Neely is a timeslip novel.  It is well-written with developed, realistic main characters.  The story goes between the present day and back to the late 1860s. The author’s descriptive writing brought the scenes to life. I loved Annie’s grandmother.  She is a sweet woman.   Seth is a kind man with a big heart. I was taken aback by the violence, bigotry, and hatred in the book.  I was unprepared for it. Kathleen Neely gives an accurate portrayal on what it was like to be black and live in the south following the Civil War.  The Christian element is light.  I liked that there was more emphasis on God and Christianity near the end.  Arms of Freedom is an emotional novel that deals with love, loss, domestic violence, and social injustice.  Arms of Freedom is a touching tale with a generous grandmother, a commanding mother, a foul father, a helpful hardware store owner, a vengeful fashion designer, a dutiful daughter, and a model ready for a makeover.


To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!  Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click here to enter.  Good Luck!  

Arms of Freedom is available from Amazon*.  If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read it for free.  You can find Kathleen Neeley's other books here.  Do not forget to leave a comment for an extra entry in the giveaway.  I will return tomorrow to share my thoughts on Looking for Leroy by Melody Carlson.  I hope that you have a satisfying day.  Take care, stay safe, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, March 3

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 4

The Avid Reader, March 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 5

Inklings and notions, March 6

For Him and My Family, March 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 8

Miriam Jacob, March 8

deb’s Book Review, March 9

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 10

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 11

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 12

Bizwings Blog, March 13

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 14 (Spotlight)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 14

Simple Harvest Reads, March 15 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 16

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


  1. Sounds like a good read! Interesting

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this book, this sounds like an excellent and moving read