"...On the surface, the themes of In Freedom's Light were simple - hardships, family, religion, race, and traditions - but the story was so much more than that. The author made the story personal for readers. Women had a prominent and strong presence in the story and that made me love it even more. ...I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves to read historical fiction."
- Readers' Favorite Five-Star Review
"In Freedom's Light is a perfect title for this emotional and educational ride of a novel! We feel the mortal danger of this Jewish family having to hide their heritage and religion and customs. I had never heard of conversos, and I'm going to ask my Jewish friends if they did! When the family moves to her brother in Charleston, they feel they will be safe from persecution. Sadly they discover their pain for the evil plight of the slaves in her brother's plantation. Without spoilers, their love for humanity guides them in courageous ways. Lots of new discoveries here in this riveting and unique novel."
- Rebecca Rosenberg, Author, Champagne Widows
"Friedman skillfully breathes life into her characters making it easy to be drawn in by them. I shared their triumphs and their heartaches, their joys and their struggles, rooting for them all the way! That she does her homework is evident. Not afraid to tackle difficult subjects, she does so with brilliance and incredible grace, without shying away from painful truths. While no doubt some of the subject matter is hard, ultimately, this is a story about family, love, honor, being true to your values and doing the right thing.
If I were to offer a piece of advice to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, it would be to pick up a copy of Sharon Gloger Friedman's In Freedom's Light, find yourself a comfortable chair, shut out the world and give yourself the gift of time with this amazing book. You won't be disappointed."
-Nancy Carey Johnson, Author, Life is Good. and The Vermont Homesteader's Christmas Memories
“I loved Friedman’s book “Ashes” and was thrilled that she had written a second historical fiction novel. I certainly was not disappointed. “In Freedom’s Light” is suspenseful, heartbreaking, and memorable.
The story begins in Valencia, Spain in the 18th century amidst the Inquisition. When rumors circulate that the Amselems are secretly following the Jewish faith, Efren knows he and his wife Anica must flee. Fortunately, he owns a shipping company and is able to escape to South Carolina. They leave behind the atrocities Jews faced in Spain, but are then horrified when they observe the atrocities against the slaves in their new home.
The characters are well-developed and easily come to life through Friedman’s exquisite writing. The Amselem family, along with many of the other characters, will linger in my mind for some time. I rejoiced with them, and my heart broke as some of the characters we met in South Carolina died. Other characters were totally despicable; a reflection of how well Friedman portrayed them. I admire an author who can evoke such differing emotions through her written words.
I love family sagas and how the Amselem “family” is more than blood ties. As they settle in South Carolina, their “family” expands based upon loving relationships and shared values with others. I loved Anica’s devotion to her faith and her acceptance of others whose beliefs were different. The story revolves around the strong women and their resilience in standing strong and united and finding hope for the future.
Thank you to the author for the complimentary copy. I know my book club will love it. I highly recommend this book if you love historical fiction.”
- Betty Taylor, Reading is My Passion
I am a huge fan of Sharon Gloger Friedman’s books. I was first introduced to her fabulous books when I read Ashes and was excited when I received a copy of “In Freedom’s Light” from the author. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed. In fact, it went way beyond my expectations. Sharon is an amazing writer that does her research when it comes to writing Historical Fiction. Everything about the book, including the dialog was spot on for the time period which began in 1785.
I was immediately pulled into the story from the first page and had a hard time putting it down. I found myself emotionally attached to the main characters, Anica and Efren. Feeling their heartaches and triumphs. My heart went out to the slaves and what they had to endure to survive. It was heart-wrenching at times to read but those scenes needed to be told. Another thing I love about this author’s books is the valuable lessons I have learned that stay with me long after I have read one of her books. The history she tells, enlightens me about events I never knew about and I want to thank the author for that. This is a beautiful, well-written story that I highly recommend. I look forward to the author’s next book.
– Tina Hogan Grant, Author, Tammy Mellows Trilogyv
"This book pulled me in on the first page. It is historical fiction that is unputdownable. The read is my first by Sharon Gloger Friedman, but definitely won’t be my last. She did an awesome job bringing history and her characters to life in this family saga spanning generations. I wanted to know what happened but didn’t want it to end. The story is obviously very well researched. ...I absolutely recommend this page turner.
- Claudia Reed, Amazon Reader
"This amazing author has written another amazing book! From the beginning it is almost impossible to put the book down. The characters in the book are so well written I felt I was right there with them enduring all the hardships they went through. The author’s ability to express the thoughts and actions of characters who were probably very much reminiscent of the people who lived it is very obvious. Her talent in writing is very evident in this book and her first book, Ashes. I hope she is working on her third book and I can’t wait to read it!"
- Amazon Reader
"I just finished reading In Freedom’s Light by Sharon Gloger Friedman. What a fantastic book! A story of family made, not just from blood, but from shared values and a shared bond. The characters were so believable, brilliantly brought alive with imagination and compassion. I was invested in their story and kept avidly turning the pages to find out what would happen to them. The world building was exquisite; I could see the places and feel the weather. ...I highly recommend this book, and will be reading more by this author."
- Bonnie Jean Yepsen Weinman, Goodreads Reader
"From the first chapter of "In Freedom's Light", I fell in love with Efren and Anica, the patriarch and matriarch of this unique family. Their reality became my reality as I journeyed with them to the new world of early America. Sharon Gloger Friedman has woven a story of the complex situations and relationships that develop when one leaves one's home for a foreign country. This is a tale of making the Anselem's way through the creation of a new life, and the joys and trials of raising a family and finding work to support that family in a strange place with different customs. In the background is Anica's devotion to the G-d of her understanding and the acceptance of others whose beliefs might be different from hers. It's a tale of surrender, acceptance, and ultimate victory over their circumstances. For me, "In Freedom's Light" was a page-turner and I was always anxious to follow this family and those whose lives they touched. Ms. Friedman's research is spot on and the reader learns as she goes. It's a moving and gripping tale of an ancestral heritage that could be yours or mine."
-BHS, Amazon Reader
"Romance, adventure, social commentary--what more could one ask for in a work of historical fiction? This was a quick read, despite the many characters and their various stories. A converso (Spanish Jews who converted to Christianity and practiced their Judaism in secret during the Inquisition) couple, fearing discovery flee Valencia to Charleston in 1785 to begin a new life. Repulsed by the lifestyle of their plantation-owning uncle, the couple resolve to find a way to become financially independent and begin to build their own family, tied together not by blood, but by shared values, dedication and love. I truly enjoyed this book!"
- Bayla L, Goodreads Reader
"I received this book on Thursday 2/3/22 and finished it in less than 3 days! For anyone that enjoys reading historical fiction this book is a must read. I love books that draw you in and make you feel that you are part of the story. So many emotions reading this story which makes it a great book! Looking forward to reading more of Sharon Gloger Friedman's work."
- Julie, Goodreads Reader
"The Anselem family emigrating from 18th-century-Spain to America was comprised of a number of people with deep and wide ties beyond just blood relations. Their story covers 2 or more generations of experience in America as time progresses toward the seeds of Civil War. The characters were so well developed that I was able to walk in their shoes; the settings descriptive enough I felt like I was there. This story captured my attention and held it beginning to end. I gained more insight into the Spanish Inquisition, living as a jewish person facing prejudice and even more depth of awareness of the plight of slaves in America."
-DB Rose, Amazon Reader
"This book weaves great character development with the horrors of slavery in early America, and Jewish persecution. It's heartwarming story about a family that flourishes over time with the fruits of its efforts in pushing for social justice. Friedman has shown that she is a master in her research for writing historical fiction in a way that makes it real and still relevant to the challenges with inequality and discrimination that we still face today."
- Kindle Customer
“This is a spectacular story. I was privileged to read it before publication and found it to be a provocative, engaging tale of Jews escaping persecution in Spain and finding refuge in the New World. The author's writing style summons unforgettable images and emotions. Highly recommended.”
- Jerry Greenfield, Author, He Lost It in the Catskills, and Ask the Wine Whisperer
“I loved this book and the strong positive characters - especially the women! A very gentle reminder that in spite of some horrific situations, good people will show their resilience and find a way to help others. Engaging historical references to the persecution of individuals with values outside the norm. Several examples of how to be able to stand up for what is the “right thing to do”. The characters will stay with me for a long time. I highly recommend this book!”
- Elizabeth A. Sobol, Amazon Reader
“I saw a post on social media that led me to try this book. I started with the free sample on Kindle, but within an hour I ended up buying the book so I could smile and even cry through this epic generational story filled with history, strong women, triumph and tribulation. …I flew through this book faster than anything else I've read in months.”
- Loren Flores, Amazon Reader
"A true saga of a family formed from love, not necessarily genes.
Congratulations to the author on another terrific book! I look forward to book number three."
- Judith L. Garcia, Amazon Reader
"This is my second read by Sharon Gloger Friedman which I truly enjoyed as much as the previous one. The book has been researched really well. The author has done a wonderful job of telling the tale about the atrocities faced by Jews in Spain and their escape to find freedom in the New World. The strong female characters and the resilience they showed touched my heart in many ways. It’s an engaging story about love, friendships and the ties that unite human beings beyond race, traditions and culture. A thought provoking read which will stay with me for years to come. I highly recommend this book to everyone who likes historical fiction."
- Reena G., Amazon Reader
"Such a good novel! Historically covering the last bit of the 18th century and early 19th century- Charleston, plantation life with it’s extreme cruelty and the courageous Jewish woman and her family who come from Spain to live there. There is so much to this novel and I never give away anything so suffice to say please read it if you like early American history- well done!"