Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Set Me Free by London Setterby - Book review
Set Me Free by London Setterby
Publication date: 8 July 2016
Genres: Gothic, New Adult, Romance
Miranda Lewis is desperate to get away from her controlling ex–so desperate she leaves him in the middle of the night. She ends up on a remote island off the Maine coast, where she befriends a bubbly shopkeeper, Claire, and becomes fascinated with Claire’s son, big, brooding Owen Larsen, a woodworker who keeps to himself. Even the friendliest locals here are secretive–and Owen is at the center of their secrets.
Still, Miranda loves the salt air, the craggy coastline, and, most of all, the work of the island’s beloved local painter, Suzanna White. Miranda wants to stay–to claim a life of her own, to paint again. But the longer she stays, the more her fascination with Owen increases. Why is there a painting of his stern, handsome face in the art gallery by the beach? And why is everyone so afraid of him?
Book Review by Nadaness In Motion
“If you’re not an English major, what are you?” Owen asked.
“I’m…” Before Rhys, I was a bartender and a painter. But since then? “I’m nothing.” Absolutely nothing.
Set Me Free by London Setterby is an interesting emotional read. The story opens with main character, Miranda, named after Shakespeare’s Miranda in The Tempest, running away from her abusive and domineering boyfriend Rhys. She has no idea where she’s going except that she needs to get as far away from him as possible.
I liked how the title Set Me Free, not only involved the protagonist Miranda but also Owen. The whole town of Falls Island needs to be set free from a tragedy that happened seven years before.
Everyone has a secret in the novel; Miranda’s is the fact that her ex was abusive and that she ran away from him. She is constantly terrified that he would find her – and for good reason – which constantly keeps her on edge, thinking that any sound might be him. He, too, is relentless in his search.
“Anything that made me think of Rhys – Scott grabbing my arm, a hand raised in the darkness – terrified me, until my bones shook and my lungs felt crushed.”
I particularly liked how Setterby portrayed Miranda, the abuse victim’s emotions throughout the novel. Even when Miranda stands up for herself, she begins to have a change of heart about her actions. This happens several times in the novel.
“I should have been proud of myself. But instead fear and adrenaline gave way to numb shock. Over? Truly over? How would I live without him? How long could I sleep in my car and live off leftover French fries?”
As soon as Miranda sets foot on Falls Island, she discovers artwork by a painter called Suzanne White, whom she learns died seven years before. She later learns that Suzanne was believed to have been murdered by her boyfriend.
Miranda is enamoured by Suzanne’s work and later by the woman herself when she sees a self-portrait of her. As she begins to get to know Owen, she starts to compare herself to Suzanne, who as “Beloved of All” in the town.
I loved Miranda’s attempts to solve the mystery behind Suzanne’s death and the bit of amateur sleuthing involved. The way she made the discovery at the end and exposed the hidden killer was brilliant; it was very creative on Setterby’s part.
“I knew enough about grief to know that it never truly went away, even after seven years. Sometimes it was just a stone you carried around with you, hardly remembering it was there, and other times it hit you with its full shrieking malevolent force – always at the strangest moments, like when you were driving or at the bank.”
One of the fun things about the dark tale of Set Me Free was the references to literature. Miranda’s father is professor who teaches the works of Shakespeare, hence her name, while Owen’s mother, Claire, names her dogs after famous British writers and poets.
I also liked Setterby’s hints as the possible paranormal aspect of the novel, leaving the reading wondering whether things happen for a reason or there is some other force at work guiding the characters and events.
“The hair on the back of my neck prickled. I couldn’t help imagining the island plucking Owen and I from our beds and setting us down on the granite hilltop – chess pieces on a board only the island could see.”
Although I did not feel the gothic aspect much, which for me felt like a lot of mist. I also felt that sometimes I was unsure if the weather was cold or warm in the novel, like the grass being icy but Miranda is wearing just a dress and jacket. Felt odd.
Still I liked the novel, which had a lot of romantic and mushy lines and quotes, another aspect that the author is lauded for.
“Owen was already temptation personified, no matter what skeletons he had in his closet.”
There is major character development for both Owen and Miranda, along with the whole town, which has become used to believing things that aren’t true but because they are the norm or what everyone is doing. The development part for me is important and Setterby has done a splendid job for the two main characters.
“Being brave once was not enough, or even a dozen times; I had to keep being brave, no matter how hard it was.”
Add the book to your Goodreads’ to-be-read list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29973030-set-me-free
Keep up with the tour schedule here.
As part of the tour, there is a Giveaway open to US & Canada for 2 signed copies of Set Me Free. Enter here.
Note: I received a free copy of Set Me Free by London Setterby via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour for the book.
About the Author:
Hello! I’m London, a writer, lawyer, and life-long New Englander. I write all flavors of romance, from surreal fantasy romances to raw gritty contemporaries. I also write across the gender and sexuality spectrums. Everything I write is a little bit funny, a little bit sad, and probably kind of strange.
You might know me from Wattpad–my Wattpad Featured Read, Set Me Free, a Gothic romance, will be released as an ebook and in print in summer 2016.
My gritty erotic romance, Breathe, is currently being serialized on Radish, a free app. It will be released in ebook/print as well sometime after Set Me Free.