Title: Inside These Walls by Rebecca Coleman
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: A+ & A Recommended Read
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
There is only one day, and I live it over and over…
For Clara Mattingly, routine is the key to enduring the endless weeks, months and years of a life sentence in a women’s prison. The convicted murderer never looks back at who she once was—a shy young art student whose life took a sudden tragic turn. And she allows herself no hope for a better future. Survival is a day-to-day game. But when a surprise visitor shows up one day, Clara finds that in an instant everything has changed. Now she must account for the life she has led—its beauty as well as its brutality—and face the truth behind the terrible secret she has kept to herself all these years.
Critically acclaimed author Rebecca Coleman brings you the haunting story of a woman’s deepest passions, darkest regrets and her unforgettable and emotional journey toward redemption.
Rebecca Coleman’s latest release, Inside These Walls, is an incredibly compelling and fascinating character driven novel. Narrated in first person by protagonist Clara Mattingly, this insightful story is a candid portrayal of a life gone tragically wrong.
When Inside These Walls first opens, Clara has served 25 years of a life sentence for murder. Although a movie has been made about the crimes and despite numerous media requests, she has never granted a single interview. An unexpected visitor is the impetus behind her decision to cooperate with Karen Shepard, the journalist who is writing a memoir about Clara’s long ago boyfriend and partner in crime Ricky Rowan. Clara’s past is slowly exposed through her letters to Karen and her own unflinchingly honest reflections. She takes full responsibility for her past mistakes but some truths are revealed a little too late and a relationship Clara has grown to cherish is threatened.
Clara is a reliable narrator and genuinely likable character. Her time in prison has not been easy but she has carved out a comfortable routine for herself. Clara does not dwell on the past nor does she examine long ago memories that are best forgotten. But once she has no choice but to recall her painful past, she does so with surprising candor. Clara remembers Ricky with fondness and despite how badly her life with him ended, she has no regrets about their relationship.
Completely captivating from beginning to end, Inside These Walls is a beautifully written story of love, forgiveness and ultimately, redemption. Rebecca Coleman broaches difficult topics with sensitivity and the resulting story is realistic, gritty and occasionally, heartbreaking. The novel’s ending is low-key and rather anticlimactic yet intensely satisfying.