“The Other Side of Freedom.” is a 2018 Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval recipient! In 1925, the thirteen-year-old son of immigrant farmers witnesses a crime and must choose whether to remain silent as his father asks or defy evil to save his family.
In a southern 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.
The closer Sal got to Freedom, the more the butterflies in his stomach fluttered. For the first time in his life, he had to sneak into town. He didn’t belong anymore, wasn’t welcome, wasn’t even safe. None of his family was. All because of a crime they didn’t commit.
As a fan of historical fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed The Other Side of Freedom by Cynthia Toney. This story, set in the 1920s, has so many historical and time-period details, from the 1924 Ford Model T Tudor to the mention of Al Capone and the first black man elected to the US Senate. The tension begins in the first scene when Sal finds well-dressed strangers at the door. And the tension mounts from there with an attempted bank robbery, a death, sneaking and spying, and a lot of tough choices and obstacles for thirteen-year-old Sal. Toney’s attention to descriptive and sensory details makes this story even stronger.
This coming-of-age story about Sal, who belongs to a tight-knit Italian family, helps readers to understand the difficulties of farm life during this time period, the ugliness of segregation, and the courage of the immigrant. It also brings out a strong message of courage and self-sacrifice. I highly recommend this book.
Cynthia T. Toney writes for tweens and teens because she wants them to know how wonderful, powerful, and valuable God made them. Her novels include The Other Side of Freedom, which received a 2018 Catholic Press Association CPA Book Award, and the Bird Face series, which begins with 8 Notes to a Nobody. Her books include thought-provoking questions for classrooms and book clubs. She has a passion for rescuing dogs from animal shelters and enjoys studying the complex history of the friendly southern U.S., where she resides with her husband and several canines
Have you been participating in the Virtual Book Tour for Tortured Soul? Thank you! This is the last stop and your last day to enter the giveaway.
For many years now, the Holy Souls in purgatory have had a place in my heart. I’ve read many non-fiction essays and books about them, including some by Susan Tassone “The Purgatory Lady”. One of my favorites is a little pink prayer book called The Rosary for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. In addition to helping the poor souls with your prayers, this book is filled with Scripture verses that deepen your understanding of purgatory.
It is an honor to have Susan Tassone’s endorsement for my book:
“Theresa Linden’s Tortured Soul gives an accurate, captivating, and ‘novel’ way for readers to learn about and better understand the Church’s teaching on purgatory. Thank you, Theresa!”
As I learned about the Poor Souls and prayed for them, I grew in my love for them and the idea of writing a purgatory story began to “haunt” me. I wanted to write a novel that would:
give readers a deeper understanding of purgatory and clear up common misconceptions
inspire many to trust in the mercy of God (concerning loved ones that have gone before them)
inspire many to pray for the Holy Souls (especially those that are most forgotten)
While the souls in purgatory can still pray for us, they can no longer pray for themselves, so it is up to us to pray for them. I hope that my book Tortured Soul gains many prayers for the souls in purgatory.
“Theresa Linden brings devotion to the Holy Souls to a new audience with Tortured Soul. Not everyone will read the historical books or pray with devotional texts, but many will read novels. A wonderful reminder to pray for our beloved dead.”
The main character and this story are loosely based on a German woman named Eugenie von der Leyen (1867-1929) and the apparitions she received. I chose this little-known person, rather than a saint, to emphasize the universal call to assist these souls.
This story takes place in modern times, beginning close to All Souls Day and ending just after Christmas. To write this story, I not only read about apparitions and Church teaching–since Eugenie von der Leyen lived in Germany–I researched German food and Christmas traditions too. I hope these elements, along with the elements of suspense, entertain readers.
“As inspiring as it is chilling, Tortured Soul will not only keep you up all night, heart racing and palms sweating, but will make you pray for the Souls in Purgatory like you never have before!”
One of the most powerful prayers we can say on behalf of the Holy Souls is the prayer given to St. Gertrude by Our Lord. According to the saint, this prayer, piously recited, releases a vast number of souls from their suffering in purgatory.
“Eternal Father, I offer You the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, for those in my own home, and in my family. Amen.”
Prayer for the Holy Souls in Purgatory by St. Gertrude the Great
I am releasing this book on the anniversary of my father’s death. Please say a prayer for his soul. Thank you!
Updated with Bishop Perez’s response to the Open Letter.
1st May 2019
Re: Your letter to the
faithful dated March 15, 2019.
Peace be with you and may
Our Lord fill you with His wisdom, grace, and blessings.
We, the faithful,
encourage you to relax your position on the Communion Rite posture policy,
first promulgated in 2003, which enforces the policy of standing after
receiving Holy Communion. Since the Diocesan Bishop may adapt actions and
postures to the customs of the people, we further encourage you to reinstate
the policy from the General Instruction to the 3rd edition of the
Roman Missal (2002): “…The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei…” We are aware
that the right to kneel has been secured by the Holy See, but we would very
much like to have the encouragement and support of our bishop. Let the posture
of kneeling bring uniformity.
We believe this posture of
reverence best gives glory to God, deepens the faith of the believer, moves the
heart of the unbeliever toward the truth of the True Presence, and can foster
unity in posture during the Mass. Ironically, some parishes received your
letter on the same day we heard this for the Second Reading: “…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those
that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth…” (Philippians 2:10).
of us, kneeling resonates in our souls as the proper posture for these parts of
the Mass, and we don’t understand the logic behind standing. Joseph Cardinal
Ratzinger (now Pope emeritus Benedict XVI), in The Spirit of the Liturgy, laments that “There
are groups, of no small influence, who are trying to talk us out of kneeling”
(pg 184). He further explains how the Scriptures show the importance of
kneeling. In them, we read about the night Jesus gave us the Eucharist and how he
entered into His Passion by praying on his knees, giving us an example of the
right disposition and posture one should have both in preparing to receive Holy
Communion and after reception.
The book of Revelation gives us a peek at the heavenly
worship, which faith tells us we participate in through the Mass. In this
heavenly worship, the elders fall down before Our Lord whenever glory, honor,
and thanks are given. Using this heavenly worship as a model, we see how
appropriate the posture of kneeling would be when the priest, in persona
Christi, lifts up our Eucharistic Lord and says, “Behold, the Lamb of God.”
read how the leper in Mark 1:40 falls to his knees before the Lord, saying, “If
you will, you can make me clean.” His prayer is strikingly similar to ours.
“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the
word, and I shall be healed.” Like the leper, we long for Christ to answer our
prayer. Like the leper, we trust in His power. The leper, however, did not know
the Divine nature of Jesus, like we do. Therefore, we have even more reason to
be on our knees for this prayer.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger ends this section on kneeling with
this: “It may well be that kneeling is alien to modern culture — insofar as it
is a culture, for this culture has turned away from the faith and no longer
knows the one before whom kneeling is the right, indeed the intrinsically
necessary gesture. The man who learns to believe learns also to kneel, and a
faith or a liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick at the core.
Where it has been lost, kneeling must be rediscovered, so that, in our prayer,
we remain in fellowship with the apostles and martyrs, in fellowship with the
whole cosmos, indeed in union with Jesus Christ Himself.”
Dear Bishop, let us
kneel. First, the altar rails were removed and we were told to stand to receive
Communion. Next, we were told to receive Holy Communion in the hand. Then we
had to stand after the Lamb of God. Now we are told we shouldn’t kneel after we
Belief in the True
Presence dwindles. Let us kneel. Do not encourage us to stand at these parts of
the Mass where our hearts beg us to kneel, but rather let us worship Our Lord,
who we truly believe is present in the Eucharist. As it is, very little quiet
time is given for the faithful to offer prayers of thanksgiving, praise, and
love to the Lord their God who has humbled Himself to become their food. To
discourage kneeling after the reception of Holy Communion will reduce the
amount of time for such prayer even more.
We are in a spiritual
battle that grows more volatile every day. Notre Dame went up in flames.
Hundreds of other Catholic Churches have been recently vandalized too,
including St. James Catholic Church in Lakewood. The persecution of the Church
intensifies–Christians tortured and murdered in record numbers in Asia,
Africa, and the Middle East. The faithful in Sri Lanka can no longer attend
Mass. Here in the US, the faithful are labeled “haters” and laws are being
created to punish those who stand for Catholic moral teaching. The priest
sex-abuse scandals continue to rip apart the Church from within, increasing the
already large numbers of Catholics leaving the Church. And studies show that
the faith has been watered down so much that over half of the Catholics in the
pews no longer believe all the Church’s beautiful, transformational, and saving
teachings. Many no longer believe in the True Presence.
Orandi, Lex Credendi. As we worship, so we believe. In this
dark culture, we need signs, symbols and reverent postures. We need solid and
unwavering faith, intense devotion, and courageous witness. Let us kneel before
our Eucharistic Lord so that the lukewarm may have their hearts set on fire and
the believer may grow in deeper faith, and so that the unbeliever’s heart might
be touched, and all the world will know: Jesus Christ is Lord.
faithful from several parishes in the Cleveland Diocese
Note: this letter has gone out to all priests of the Cleveland Diocese