Sleep Toward Heaven by Amanda Eyre Ward
Another super short review. My lovely librarian also recommended this book to me. This is Ward's debut novel, and she really started her career well.
The book follows three women who, while all connected, don't know each other at all. Karen is on death row for murder. Franny is a doctor, who after losing a child cancer patient whom she cared about deeply, ends up in Gatestown, Texas as the doctor at the prison where Karen is held. And finally, Celia, whose husband was murdered by Karen. The story tells each woman's struggles as she works her way through the difficulties in her own life. And though each of their lives are drastically different, they feel eerily familiar.
I really loved this book. My first novel was a work of literary fiction, and despite how much Young Adult fiction I've been reading lately, I do really love a good work of literary fiction. Ward captures each woman's voice and personality perfectly. The way their stories interweave was really lovely and I felt satisfied at the end. My own personal mantra is that if your story doesn't have a strong plot pushing it forward, it must have strong characters and they must change drastically so that the reader is compelled to keep reading. Ward did a great job of creating characters that I not only loved, but rooted for and wanted redemption for each of them.