So, what does freedom really mean? This book seems to examine this question from a few different angles.
First, the obvious, slaves bought and sold. Slaves in any capacity, past or present, are the least "free" beings on earth. However, is there some recompense if the slave is actually as much a friend and colleague as they are an indentured servant? Do they have any capcacity for freedom in this instance?
Second, the bounds of religion and the limited, sometimes twisted beliefs thrust upon blind followers of the faith in question. Whether they've grown up in the faith or adopt it along the way, these strict followers seem to be unable to change away from the "rules of the religious road" and think for themselves. Are they free? Truly free?
Last, the bounds of marriage and relationships, perhaps society in general. Are we free as participants in society?
I have never for a second understood how rational people could force others into slavery. I liked how Ms. Spalding handled the slavery aspect of the book and I was reminded of The Book of Negroes a bit in the strength of Bett. However, the religion aspect was a different matter. I was very intrigued by Daniel's character. He seemed to be very conflicted, yet dedicated to his beliefs, if only because he felt he had not other choice. That does not seem to be very free to me. Societal freedoms, well, that's one for the philosopher's, pundits and politicians among us to debate ad nauseum!
All in all, I really enjoyed the book and am glad that it has been short-listed for the GGs. Thank you Goodreads for the freebie (my first!). It was a really good book!!!