SPOILER ALERT: I am finished Children of Liberty.
I cannot believe how wrong I was about this book before I read it. If you are terrified - as I was - STOP feeling that way right now and listen up.
I am so glad I put my head down and trudged in. Before reading this book, I had such disdain for Harold Barrington. I thought he was a selfish non-human. Now I see that couldn't have been further from the truth.
I wondered how anyone could willingly take their family into the inescapable dungeon of Communism.
But now I get it.
Harry was a product of his Victorian-into-Edwardian, upper crust environment. Class defined you and you were slave to it at all times. What you should do vs what you want to do. What you must think vs how you wish to feel. It's all so overwhelming (and yet, some people thrive on that kind of limitation and structure.) I wonder if losing Harry's mother at 13 had something to do with his inability to nurture his own own feelings.
Regardless, money and status held Harry back in life...from his friends, from his family and most importantly, from himself.
In the words of Patsy Cline, one of my favorite singers of all time: "I don't want to get rich...just live good." Ain't it the truth!
My heart aches for Harry's inability to foster his emotions and speak up for himself. Don't get me wrong, in many ways he was a spoiled brat who had zero appreciation for the life he lived on Easy Street. Things he was given in abundance, others had to work their fingers to the bone to achieve. And even then, they could only have a mere fraction of what Harry took for granted. But honestly, this poor soul was never going to be able to crawl out from under that massive cloud of wealth and prestige, yet remain an accepted member of his own family. Years of oppression can make a man so bitter, he doesn't know his own face in the mirror anymore...no matter what tax bracket he falls under.
And because of that, I am so immensely glad I read this book. Now I "know" Harry...and you should, too. I highly recommend this prequel to those of you who love the Bronze Horseman series as I do.
My enormous thanks to Paullina Simons for not only writing this beautiful story, but also for sharing it with me. :)