Book Review: Liberty and Means



liberty and means

I just finished reading Kristin Dow’s second novel, “Liberty and Means,” which is an interesting novel in that it’s difficult to classify. Amazon categorises it as women’s fiction or fiction, but there’s also an air of suspense and romance to the novel. This is the story of Shannon Clark, who’s a competitive business woman trying to snag a huge account coming available at work, and was recently dumped by her long-term boyfriend. Shannon leads a very normal life until she thinks she is being followed and the gets the surprise of her life. Shannon’s mother lives overseas working as a missionary, her father is wrapped up in his girlfriend (almost common-law wife), Evelyn, and Shannon’s drug addict brother has been missing for a year. Suspecting she is being followed, Shannon visits Chris (police officer and her brother’s best friend growing up), and they reconnect at first because he is concerned for her safety, but it’s not long until feelings develop. “Liberty and Means” addresses family, love, money, career, loss, and new beginnings as Shannon’s story unfolds and we learn about her past, as well as, see her through current achievements and disappointments.

First of all, I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t put it down once I started it. Shannon is a very relatable character, especially with her past and present family issues. There were several things about Shannon and her life that unfortunately, felt like home. Chris was also a great character with a perfect mix of professionalism and romance. Maybe it was because he was her brother’s best friend growing up, but I just didn’t sense any real passion between them. There were obvious feelings although lacking any real spark. I tried to rally and cheer for Shannon’s brother Travis, but my own experiences with serious addicts that have been in my life kept me from being able to do so.  There are several other characters of importance throughout the novel, but none of them really had any likable qualities or prompted any vested interest in them. I was uncomfortable with some of the Evangelistic issues in the novel, however, so was the main character. This was just one of several times that the author evoked various emotions while I was reading, so kudos for that.

Here is my personal conflict with this novel. On one hand, I love the ending because it is unexpected and is solely about Shannon, the changes in her life, and finding her inner peace. On the other hand, I was disappointed by the ending because there’s no big moment of happiness or sadness. The novel ends, leaving you thinking, “what the hell,  I need more information!”  After sleeping on it, and thinking about the novel some more, I’ve thought back to tons of English Lit classes in college, and even in middle and high school. I’ve read (and taught) countless stories, poems, novels, etc. that don’t have clearly defined conclusions or some happily ever after moment. The beauty of endings like this is the opportunity to imagine that this or that happens eventually. “Liberty and Means” is truly unique from other novels that I have read regarding subject matter, characters, and the ending. This novel is certainly worth reading and Kristin Dow’s writing is absolutely worth checking out. I hope to see more novels from this author in the near future!

Want to know more about Kristin Dow? Visit:

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.





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