Review: An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole

Posted March 1, 2019 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 10 Comments

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole
An Unconditional Freedom

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: The Loyal League #3
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Kensington
Released on February 26, 2019
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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The Delight

An Unconditional Freedom brought me full circle with book one in this series by telling the story of the man who was rejected by An Extraordinary Union’s heroine.  Each of these Loyal League stories bring history alive, send the reader into pulse-pounding intrigue and danger, and introduce characters and relationships that tug hard on the emotions.  This latest has reached down deeper than any others in the series.


An Unconditional Freedom is book three in the Loyal League series.  It could be read standalone because it is a separate story arc though there are obvious loose ties to the first two books, but it had a better impact on me by getting it in order.

In An Unconditional Freedom, we get the story of the man who once thought to earn his law degree and be a husband only to lose his free black status when kidnapped by slavers and sold making him see just how precarious all his assumptions about freedom really were.  Daniel’s life journey came at a high price.  His work as a Loyal League detective helping his people gain their freedom is good, but it is only a vehicle driven by his deep fury and pain until he encounters a woman set on her own dark path.

Janeta Sanchez is a Cuban black woman who has lived in luxury as the daughter of the Cuban plantation owner who brings his family to his Florida villa.  Janeta is naive and her dream to be desired leads her to loving and trusting the wrong man which she doesn’t realize until she is in an untenable situation.  Now, she must insinuate herself into the Loyal League, using her shared skin color to spy against them and eventually take them down to help her lover and her imprisoned father.  Only, she encounters the stone cold eyes of her new partner and knows that gaining secrets from Daniel Cumberland will not be easy and the attempt may well get her killed.

In truth, I would describe this as a historical fiction mashed with romance.  Yes, there is a slow burn love growing at the heart of this story and gets to a wonderful sensual and spicy scene, but for most of the tale it is about two people who were on very separate and distinct paths face personal hardship, demons, and a chance at growth and healing before they are ready for anything resembling love and romance.

I was riveted to the storyline as Daniel and Janeta are deeply involved in spy work and intrigue in a constantly volatile situation as they traverse the South during war time.  As the previous books showed, the war is fought on many levels and many ways other than soldiers clashing against soldiers.  There is a whole other secret war being fought behind the lines as well as some seek to gather intelligence or sabotage while others seek to incite riots and twist people to do their dirty work.

This story was told in a heightened state of danger and I read it in one sitting.  My emotions were engaged and I appreciate how the author demonstrated good research and wrote a layered action and character-driven story.  It was obvious that she threw her heart into this one and the readers will reap the reward of that.

Those who enjoy US Civil War era historicals, historical romance, and African American history should definitely pick up this book/series.

My thanks to Kensington via Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.


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About Alyssa Cole

Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, and sci-fi romance. Her Civil War-set espionage romance An Extraordinary Union was the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award’s Best Book of 2017 and the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018, and A Princess in Theory was one of the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2018. She’s contributed to publications including Bustle, Shondaland, The Toast, Vulture, RT Book Reviews, and Heroes and Heartbreakers, and her books have received critical acclaim from The New York Times, Library Journal, BuzzFeed, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, and various other outlets. When she’s not working, she can usually be found watching anime or wrangling her pets.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Anne - Books of My Heart

I don’t read many historical romances but I do love Civil War era and you really liked this one so maybe. Yeah I would have to start at the first book I think. Excellent review – thank you!

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

This is a good one for a rare HR reader to slip into the genre for a visit. They feel like a balance between HF and HR instead of straight HR.
And, yes, go for the first book. Daniel’s story actually begins then and makes this one mean more by getting them in order. 🙂

Rachel @Waves of Fiction

Sounds like an exciting story! I’ve toured a few historical places on the East Coast that had slaves, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello being one of them, and I’ve since wondered about the life of a slave person. Sounds like these characters were able to prevail over their circumstances and find love. I like that! Wonderful review, Sophia Rose. I’ll check the series out. 🙂

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

That is really cool, Rachel. I would like to see a plantation or historic home that had slave quarters so I could see it for myself.

Yes, these three books are great for giving a different angle to life back then and I really enjoyed that.

Lover Of Romance
2 years ago

I have been very curious about this one for sure, and I love books set in the civil war era, but I didn’t care for book two that much, I ended up DNF since I couldn’t get into it. But I might try this one, the set up is really fascinating to me.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

It is strongly connected with book one so if you can, start there so you can get a feel while Daniel is the way he is. Book two was my least favorite of the three, too.

Carole Rae
2 years ago

Cover is a wee cheesy, but the story sounds really good!

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

These are great. Hope you get the chance, Carole.

Melanie Simmons
2 years ago

I’ve heard really great things about Alyssa Cole. I haven’t tried her before. I’m not a huge fan of historical romances, but this sounds really good. One day, I might have to give her a try.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

These have a lot of suspense and spying in them so you might like them for that when you get the chance to try them. I still need to try her royals series that keeps catching my eye. 🙂